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Christmas Brunch.....best recipes list.....bring 'em on!

Can't even believe it's a few weeks away! We always do a big brunch at our place (combo Christmas/Hannakuh), and I've got my staple yummy recipes....but how about we compile a list of great brunch ideas/recipes? Figured it would help not only me!!

I normally do a Baked Grand Marnier French Toast, bagel platter with lox, cream cheese, tomatoes, and onion, some sort of egg casserole, thick cut bacon, fruit, mimosas, coffee, etc.

Suggestions? Bring 'em on!

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  1. Mimosas made w/ cranberries cooked in simple syrup are really pretty and taste good--you get the cranberries floating in the champagne. For the egg casserole, if you're looking for ideas, I've made a sausage, cheese and oven-dried tomatoes strata that was really easy and good.


    oven dried tomatoes:


    Also, cinnamon buns are always a hit--just make them the day before, refrigerate overnight and bake the morning of. I've done them from scratch and also make the Clone of Cinnabon recipe from allrecipes, using my breadmaker to make the dough.

    1. WHy not do some roasted/hash brown potatoes and a baked ham. If it's brunch some may want more lunch type items.

      1. Do you have a recipe for the baked french toast please?

        1 Reply
        1. re: eriberri

          Yes please. I'd love the recipe for the Grand Marnier French toast. Have you tried other liquors as well (Frangelica, Irish Cream, Kirsch)?

        2. Could you post your recipe for Grand Marnier French toast. I've got tons of Grand Marnier to use.

          1 Reply
          1. You could do a frittata instead of the egg casserole - easy to make ahead of time and good at room temperature.

            1. I will post it later on today....the Grand Marnier isn't in the recipe that I use....I like to add it, because it makes it so good....

              1. We always do brunch Christmas morning at my grandma's... it's my favorite part of Christmas! (Can't wait!) We have more down home kind of stuff though... usually egg casserole, cheesy potatoes, bacon or sausage, "dirty rice", sausage balls, cinnamon rolls, red hot cinnamon jello, and fruit... grandma food! And my dad always makes egg nog... yum! Sometimes we've brought sour cream coffee cake which is very good and we've brought a frozen fruit salad that I like as well. I've also brought my apple dumplings that I've posted the recipe before here. This year, my husband is making biscuits and gravy!

                Your menu sounds pretty good as is to me, but here are some other ideas:
                These "pains au chocolat" are really simple and everyone loves them: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...
                I know everyone loves to hate Rachael Ray, but this citrus salad was very good and somewhat unique: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                1. My family has a Christmas brunch tradition too. We do it semi pot luck, with the host family providing the mains and other family members bringing the sides. In the end, the menu usually includes baked ham, my aunt's grits (super simple -- basically just grits, cheese and butter -- and super delicious), green salad or room temperature veggie, deviled eggs, rolls and/or pastries, a fruit salad, sometimes a side grain like cous cous ... and for dessert, always Christmas cookies!

                  1. Thanks for all the great suggestions! We started our Christmas brunch tradition when we had kids and didn't want to cart them to 20 houses! It really is so much fun and very relaxed....

                    Grand Marnier French Toast (my adaptation from a little Inn in Virginia!)

                    8 tbsps butter
                    1 cup packed brown sugar
                    2 tbsps corn syrup
                    1 large loaf of Hallah bread
                    5 large eggs
                    1 1/2 cups half and half
                    1 tbsp vanilla
                    1 tbsp Grand Marnier
                    1/4 tsp salt
                    1/2 tsp cinnamon

                    Melt butter with the brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Pour into a 13X9 pyrex. Cut bread into thick slices, and lay them in a single layer in brown sugar mixture (you need to squeeze them in!).

                    Whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, cinnamon, and salt. Pour over bread. Cover and refrig. overnight.

                    In the morning, bring the bread mixture back to room temp. Bake at 350, uncovered until it puffs a bit and is a golden brown, about 35 minutes.

                    Really yummy!!

                    9 Replies
                      1. re: stacylyn

                        This sounds heavenly. I've never made anything like this, so a couple of basic questions-- do you then cut it and serve it, or serve with a spoon? I assume you don't serve individual slices of bread, they have molded together?

                        And-- I hate to ask-- but can I substitute Egg Beaters and maybe whole milk, or maybe part cream/part milk? What role does the corn syrup play, is it essential that I buy a bottle just for this, or what would happen if I left it out?

                        (Sorry, I can never leave well-enough alone, I know these would not be improvements, but I don't think I can serve my DH this much egg, cream and butter, and I'd really like to make this...)

                        1. re: Anne H

                          The bread doesn't mold together, so I normally just use a spatula/spoon to get each piece out of the pan. You then FLIP each piece over, as that's where all the gooey stuff is!

                          I've never tried egg beaters in French Toast, but I would assume they would work just fine, as would your half and half substitutes (I like it nice and rich and fattening for the holidays!). As for the corn syrup, it makes it really caramel-y. Not sure if you could leave it out. Maybe someone can help on this?

                          (And, don't worry....I can NEVER follow a recipe exactly. I have to play with everything all the time!)

                          1. re: stacylyn

                            Stacylyn, your recipe is almost identical to the popular creme brulee French toast recipe from Epicurious, except with more flavoring (a good thing, to my mind!). That one is also from an inn, so I'm thinking some innkeepers are noting the popularity of the recipe...don't know whose came first, of course. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                            For Anne H, when I've made the recipe from Epicurious, I used maple syrup instead of corn syrup. You still get the caramel texture, with the added bonus of the maple flavor, and you probably have maple syrup on hand.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              Thanks, that's perfect, maple syrup I do indeed have.

                              Now another question-- I've never had Grand Marnier. What does it taste like? I'm sure I'd like it in this recipe, but I need a little more info to know whether my family would like it. (And will go with maple syrup?) Could I use dark rum? Maybe I need to buy a bottle of Grand Marnier and taste it to see...

                              I've been wanting to make one of these chill-overnight-and-bake concoctions for a long time, and I think I'll do this one for Christmas. We usually just have croissants, but this sounds much nicer. Thanks for all the advice.

                              1. re: Anne H

                                It's an orange-flavored liqueur... tasty and expensive!

                          2. re: Anne H

                            Eggs, cream, and butter are healthy, real foods!

                          3. re: stacylyn

                            Made this last year and I am planning to do the same this coming Christmas morning. I think this French Toast will become an annual tradition. It's a great recipe and really cuts down on the work of fixing brunch when you would rather be enjoying the holiday.

                          4. My in-laws always make a Dutch Baby, which I had never had before spending Christmas with them. I look forward to it all year. They're from Hawaii, so they serve it with coconut syrup and Portuguese sausage, and sliced tropical fruit like mango.

                            The Grand Marnier french toast sounds fantastic!

                            Last year I made buttermilk biscuits Christmas morning and made sandwiches with leftover ham and sauce (dijon and maple syrup). That was really good brunch too.

                            1. Oh, German Puff Pancakes would be good too!

                              What's a Dutch Baby?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                What's a German Puff Pancake? I'm thinking, based on the name, that they are similar. Dutch Baby is baked in the oven and it puffs up and the sides get brown and crunchy, but the middle sinks and is softer, more pancake-y. So good! I can post the recipe my MIL uses. It's ridiculously easy. Let me know if you'd like it. Maybe you could post the German Puff recipe you use?

                                1. re: ScarletB

                                  That sounds a lot like it... my dad always made them for us when we were little and often times put sauteed apples on them instead of syrup. I'll see if I can get the recipe from him!

                                  That reminds me of another thing my dad always made... Breakfast Bowknots... it's a yeasty bread in the shape of a bow with a cinnamon and brown sugar mixture in the middle. They are so good and they're awesome because you pre-bake them ahead of time, keep them refrigerated, and then bake right before you serve them!

                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                    Please post if you can! Sounds great.

                              2. One of my all time favorites is this recipe from gourmet for sweet and spicy bacon. I find it is exceptional and people love it. Plus baking bacon is incredibly easy. Also, I line the pan with foil which makes clean up a breeze. Just make sure to watch it carefully as nothing burns as fast as bacon.


                                1. I did some overnight cinnamon rolls for a brunch over Thanksgiving weekend, and they turned out great: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec... that's the recipe, except I replaced a third of the water with whole milk, to great results, they were a big hit. I also made a strata, which everyone loved, and it's a great and easy brunch recipe, so that might be good for your egg dish.

                                  1. Last year for New Year's Eve, I made these baked egg cups for a brunch buffet.

                                    Basically, you cut tortillas into quarters, and use two quarters to line the greased cups of a muffin tin. Add a teaspoonful of filling (I sauteed mushrooms in butter with shallots and thyme). Crack an egg on top (use medium, not large eggs or they might overflow). Sprinkle over shredded cheese, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Brush the exposed parts of tortilla with melted butter.

                                    Here's what they look like before they go into the oven:

                                    Bake until the eggs are cooked to your liking. I believe I baked mine at 400 for about 12-15 minutes, which cooked the whites but left the yolks a little soft. They can be eaten out of hand, or served on plate with a bigger breakfast. They tasted fine even at room temperature.

                                    Here's what they should look like when done:

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: dandelion

                                      I love this idea for Baked Eggs is tortilla cups! (And, I love that you take pics of your food. I got hungry looking at them!)

                                      By the way....I looked back at the recipe I posted, and it says only 1 tbsp of Grand Marnier. I usually put wayyyyy more than that in. Probably about a 1/4 cup. Just a preference. And, no, I'm not an alcoholic!!

                                      1. re: stacylyn

                                        Thanks! I saw that recipe somewhere, but when it came time to make it, I couldn't remember where so I had to wing it. Luckily, they came out great! About 6 months later I found the recipe... it was from Olive magazine.

                                      2. re: dandelion

                                        I made these last night, except I put refried black beans with onions and garlic in the bottom, used corn tortillas (I suggest softening them in a dry pan on the stove first)and topped with the egg, cheese and later, some hot sauce. One of the best breakfast for dinners I have ever had! Thank you for the recipe!

                                        1. re: foodrocks

                                          Awesome, glad you liked it! Your Mexican version sounds delicious... I'll have to give that a try. The corn tortillas held up okay?

                                          1. re: dandelion

                                            The first time, they cracked a bit, but the next time I heated them up in the microwave in a wet paper towel to steam they a bit, and they became much more flexible and tasted great.

                                        2. re: dandelion

                                          Dandelion. I made these breakfast cups this morning and were they ever good. I followed your recipe with the mushrooms ect. I would suggest eating them out of hand. I did this and had no problem but my husband tried to use a fork and the egg went all over his plate and then he had to scoop it back into the cup. You know he never listens to me! :*)
                                          They are very atractive and yummy and surely a winner !

                                          1. re: BJE

                                            Glad you liked them! When I made them for the potluck brunch last year, I cooked them until the yolks were a little harder than I'd normally make so they'd be a little easier (and less messy) to pick up and eat.

                                          2. re: dandelion

                                            This looks wonderful... And though I bet the tortillas are amazing, i wonder if you could substitute flattened white bread. I saw Melissa D'Arabian make "tartlets" out of sliced white bread that she removed the crusts, rolled flat, and lined muffin tins. Might make a nice variation...

                                          3. Grand Marnier is delicious in french toast.

                                            We were recently introduced to a french toast that had almond extract and orange juice blended into the egg batter and toasted sliced almonds sprinkled over all before serving. It imparted a lighter, refreshening taste.

                                            Your menu sounds terrific. Enjoy the holiday!

                                            1. We always have pandoro for Xmas brunch, though we don't make it ourselves. We serve a bunch of other stuff though, like spiced couscous with dried fruit; vegetarian crustless quiche; roast stone fruit or fruit compote; Greek yogurt; and tons of good, strong coffee.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: piccola

                                                Second the pandoro - it's so yummy - must sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake briefly to toast the outside - per the directions. It's lovely with whipped cream or fraiche and you could certainly add some fresh berries.

                                              2. One thing that is a lot of fun and has worked well for us is Fondue French Toast. You just set it up at a safe place, provide cut up assorted breads, beaten eggs and the fondue pot and forks. People do their own and you have a separate area for toppings.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: kim shook

                                                  Could you be a little more specific? This sounds good, but I'm not quite sure how you are doing it... what's in the fondue pot? What kind of toppings? Thanks!

                                                2. for a savory dish, how about some homemade hash? Either corned beef or a savory sausage or turkey. Good and crusty outside and gooey inside. m-m-m-m.

                                                  1. Cheese or fruit filled blintzes would be a nice addition or substitute for the eggy dish in your menu. Some people make the blintzes into a casserole that can be baked (it may come prepared frozen, I don't know...) They are good with the other things, especially with bacon.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: LindaJ

                                                      Wolfgang Puck has a beautiful recipe for Crepes with Lemonony Cheese filling done casserole stlye. i don't use his crepe recipe but the concept, the filling is wonderul. The trick(i'm sure that you know) make the crepe batter the night before. Yummy.

                                                    2. I've been thinking of milk punch . . . haven't had it since I left New Orleans, but here's a link to Emeril's recipe. There are a lot of variations out there, and it can be made with bourbon or brandy.


                                                      Sarah C

                                                      1. I love Batali Eggs in Purgatory. Good at any temp.

                                                        1. To make the French toast especially Christmas-y, I like to use Pannetone (the Italian dessert bread) and eggnog.

                                                          But pannetone with the Grand Marnier would compliment the dried orange that is usually in it.Mmmmm.

                                                          1. I have a simple recipe for a blueberry sour cream coffee cake that you can serve with what-ever meats you may want to cook. I also do cheese potatoes which WOW the brunch group every time. Simple and delicious !


                                                            Boil potatoes in the skins. When done, peel and grate.

                                                            Add: 1 pint sour cream
                                                            1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese ( I like the sharp)
                                                            1 can cream of chicken soup

                                                            Place in 13 x 9 pan and top with crushed corn flakes. Bake 350 for 30 min.

                                                            Coffee Cake

                                                            1 Package Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin Mix
                                                            1/2 c sour cream
                                                            1 egg
                                                            1/4 c milk

                                                            Mix together, and place in greased 9x9 pan.

                                                            Strusel topping for coffee cake:

                                                            1/2 c. brown sugar
                                                            1/3 c. flour
                                                            1 tsp. cinnamon
                                                            1/4 c butter

                                                            Mix together and place on top of batter.

                                                            Bake 400 for 20 to 25 minutes.

                                                            1. Hmm, those menus are sounding very tempting, but I don't know if I want to stress out and go overboard.
                                                              We always have oyster stew (my b-i-l makes it), blueberry pancakes, and eggs and bacon. Nothing difficult, done it a million times. Think I'll stick to my menu and try the french toast another time.
                                                              Unless I get ambitious.

                                                              1. Invite meeeeee!!!! (Anyone who's making the Gran Marnier french toast.)

                                                                An alternative for someone who's still devising their own brunch menu would be pumpkin waffles the way Sarabeth's Cafe in Manhattan does them: 'our famous pumpkin waffle sat & sun only served with sour cream, raisins, pumpkin seeds, and canadian maple syrup' ... it's not too sweet - lovely.

                                                                That said, if you have any dieters or people who don't do well with carbs who'll be at the brunch, couldn't hurt to have some lighter things - or at least protein/fat based instead of carb-based.

                                                                I like fresh fennel bulb sliced as if it was celery, served with a light dip, as a tasty table snack. And there's always the option of eggs florentine. Maybe a light side salad with some arugula, toasted nuts and raisins in a light dressing.

                                                                1. We're planning on making a Christmas brunch with a similar menu, but also brewing some homemade chai, and doing a mixed citrus salad for fruit (since citrus is so good this time of year). The baked french toast recipe I use came from Cooking Light a few years back, but we might have to try this Grand Marnier one.

                                                                  1. I do a similar brunch menu as the OP, but last year the new highlight on the menu was SK's Spinach and Gruyere Cheese Strata. It was fantastic. Oh, and I buy Trader Joe's frozen Chocolate Croissants (they are amazing). You thaw overnight and pop them in the oven to bake for your brunch. Everyone raved.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mcel215

                                                                      I do Atun with white bean every year. Traditionally, it is seared tuna steak with white bean cassoulet, but I change it up with white beans with vinaigrette sauce.
                                                                      White beans are simply combined with onion, pepper, oil and vinegar, I think that gives Tuna better taste, and it is my simple and quick Spanish “tapa”.

                                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                                        I'm linking the recipe for that spinach gruyere strata which we love too. http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/12/spi... We find it has a tendency to overflow unless it's in a fairly deep dish.

                                                                      2. I use the pillsbury website a lot when doing brunch items. They always have great ideas for sweet and savory offerings and using their variety of doughs can be helpful when creating a lot of dishes.


                                                                        1. we used to have the sara lee pecan coffee cake for xmas breks when i was little, but tasting it again as a grown up - it was a nasty let down. here's my version.

                                                                          christmas morning pecan coffee cake

                                                                          1/2 cup warm water
                                                                          3/4 tsp white sugar
                                                                          1/4 oz yeast (one package)
                                                                          2 1/4 cups flour
                                                                          1/4 cup white sugar
                                                                          1 egg
                                                                          1/4 cup milk
                                                                          1/4 cup butter, melted

                                                                          2 tbs soft butter
                                                                          1/4 cup dark brown sugar
                                                                          1 cup pecan halves
                                                                          2 tbs flour
                                                                          milk for brushing


                                                                          2 tbs soft butter
                                                                          1/2 cup icing sugar
                                                                          1/2 tsp vanilla
                                                                          2 TBS milk

                                                                          dissolve sugar in warm water in a bowl. sprinkle yeast over and allow to sponge (about 10 minutes).

                                                                          combine flour and sugar in a large bowl. make a well in the centre. pour in yeast mixture.

                                                                          beat egg together with milk and pour it into the flour as well. stir together, add melted butter, and stir until well combined. cover with greased waxed paper (or a butter wrapper) and set in a warm place to double in bulk (about two hours).

                                                                          meanwhile, make topping by creaming together the butter and sugar. put 3/4 cup of pecans (save the rest for decoration) in a food processor with the flour and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

                                                                          punch down the dough, dump out on a floured board, and knead for five minutes, until dough feels silky. add more flour if necessary, but it should be quite soft.

                                                                          roll out into a circle about 1/4 inch thick and 16 or so inches in diameter. make 12 cuts from the outside edge about 1/2 of the way to the middle.

                                                                          lift the dough gently into a greased and floured pie plate or quiche dish. sprinkle topping in the middle. take one of the twelve strips of dough, twist it once, fold it in towards the centre of the plate, and sprinkle with topping. repeat with remaining strips so they all overlap towards the centre. sprinkle with remaining topping and pecan halves. set in a warm place to rise until double (another two hours).

                                                                          brush with milk and bake for 35 minutes at 350 F.

                                                                          make frosting by creaming together the butter and sugar; stir in vanilla and milk. drizzle over coffee cake and serve hot or cold.

                                                                          on new year's day i like to do a savoury bread-and-butter putting with leeks, prosciutto, and asiago.