Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Breakfast

“Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”-Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation

Yep, it’s Christmas.  A wonderful time, spent with family and friends, enjoying every second with each other, right?  Ok, sometimes it’s not all that easy and smooth.  Christmas can be stressful.  But do you know what doesn’t have to be?  Christmas morning breakfast.  That can be the easiest part of this whole darn season.

I think what makes a spectacular breakfast easy is making it the night before.  Christmas morning?  Throw it in the oven and call it done.  My Christmas morning menu consists of a Baked Gingerbread French Toast that is assembled Christmas Eve and baked off Christmas morning.  Not only can you make it the night before, you really have to.  I will also show you how to make my Maple Apple Sausage Patties….also made the night before and cooked in the morning.

For my Gingerbread French Toast, I use a big loaf of French bread.  I buy one that hasn’t been sliced yet.  I usually get a fresh one from the bakery at the grocery store, but you can get any kind of French bread and keep it in your freezer until the day you are ready to make this.  Take it out of the freezer in the morning and let it defrost.

I start the recipe by melting a stick of butter with some brown sugar and my gingerbread spice mix.  My gingerbread spice mix is some cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, ground allspice and ground nutmeg all mixed together.  I keep it on my kitchen counter all season long and add it to all baked goods, pancakes, coffee, etc.  I can’t get enough.

I spread the butter/spice mix all over the bottom of a large baking dish.  Then I layer half of the French bread, all cubed up, over the butter.  On top of that I dollop some sweetened cream cheese, then the last layer of remaining cubed bread.

I pour a mixture of eggs, more gingerbread spice mix, and whole milk (that has been beaten together) over the whole thing, and then I mush the bread down into the egg mixture.  I just want to make sure all the bread cubes are coated.  The whole thing gets covered in foil and refrigerated overnight.

In the morning, the bad boy bakes for about  forty-five minutes or until the outside is crunchy but the inside is tender and moist.  I top the whole thing off with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

This French toast is not only easy, it tastes amazing too.  It is rich, warm and spicy all at the same time.  And the gingerbread flavors are so Christmassy!!

As for my sausage….oh kids, you’re in for a treat.  I blend together maple flavored bulk sausage with minced apple, minced onion and poultry seasoning.  The patties can be formed well in advance and then just tossed in a skillet and cooked when you are ready.  Easy peasy perfection.

Have a great holiday!  Enjoy the season and your family and friends!

Gingerbread Spice Mix

2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cloves

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Blend together and keep in a tightly sealed container.


Baked Gingerbread French Toast

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

½ cup brown sugar

3 Tablespoon Gingerbread Spice Mix, divided

1 loaf French bread, cubed

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

6 eggs

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together melted butter and 1 tablespoon gingerbread spice mix.  Spread butter mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Layer ½ of bread cubes over that.

In a small mixing bowl, blend together cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Dollop cream cheese mixture over bread cubes as evenly as possible.  Top with remaining bread cubes.

In another mixing bowl, beat together eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining spice mix.  Pour egg mixture over bread cubes.  With your hands, slightly press down on bread cubes to encourage absorption of egg mixture.

Cover with foil and chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, covered.  Uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until top is slightly browned.

Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. 

Serve with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

Serves 8


Maple Apple Sausage Patties

2 16 ounce packages ground pork sausage, maple flavored (Jimmy Dean)

2 green apples

1 white onion

1 tablespoon Poultry Seasoning

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Blend apples, onion and poultry seasoning in a food processor until minced.  Mix apple mixture, by hand, into sausage until thoroughly mixed.  Form patties of equal size (about 24) and chill in refrigerator overnight.

Add oil to a large skillet and preheat over medium heat.  Brown sausage patties on first side for about 4 minutes.  Flip and brown second side for another four minutes or until sausage is cooked through.

Serves 8

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