Plan a holiday brunch

Cooking with Cathie

Cathie CampbellDecember 5, 2012 

Many years ago, I started a family tradition of serving homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I make them the day before (or they can be frozen, thawed and heated up). While presents are being opened, I put on a CD of Christmas music, and we all enjoy some coffee or hot cocoa and the warm, tender and fragrant cinnamon rolls. I have shared my recipe before, but will include it again this year.

Another popular tradition for many families is the Christmas brunch. The rolls fit right in with a brunch menu, but there are so many other dishes that can be served. Let's tie on our aprons (vintage ones are making a comeback) and head for the kitchen.


Cat's Christmas cinnamon rolls

I've been making these since 1981.

Basic recipe:

  • 1/2 cup very warm water (use temperature as directed by yeast packets)
  • 2 foil packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup soft shortening
  • Half of 7 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose, sifted flour
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir and dissolve yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients; mix until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to handle easily. Turn out onto floured board and knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Put into greased bowl and turn with greased side up. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place (about 85 degrees) until double in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Time will vary depending on if you are using regular or Rapid-Rise yeast.
  4. Punch down and let rise again until almost double, about 30 minutes. Shape into rolls. (See next part of recipe.)

To shape cinnamon rolls:

  1. Cut dough into halves. Roll each half into an oblong shape, about 15-by-9-inches. Brush with melted butter (leave 1 inch unbuttered edge closest to you). Sprinkle each half with a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
  2. Roll up tightly from wide side farthest from you, stretching some as you roll to help tighten it. Pinch edge of roll to seal in the sugar mixture. After rolling, stretch roll slightly to even it out, if necessary.
  3. Brush top of roll with butter or melted shortening and cut into slices about 1 inch. Place on well-greased pans, leaving a little bit of space between rolls. After pans are full, press down slightly on tops of all rolls to make each touch the other.
  4. Let rise until double and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and coat with icing.

Note: I admit to never having actually measured the ingredients of my icing, but here is a guideline as best as I can figure it. You may need to make more, to cover both batches of rolls. Mix 1 cube (8 tablespoons) softened butter, 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 cup (2 oz.) softened cream cheese and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth.


Breakfast enchiladas

Adapted from Southern Living.

  • 1 package (1 pound) hot or mild ground pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 to 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14 large eggs, well beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 flour tortillas (8-inch size)
  • Cheese sauce (recipe follows)
  • Monterey Jack cheese, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove from pan; drain well, pressing between paper towels.
  2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add green onions and cilantro, and saute 1 minute. Add eggs, salt and pepper, and cook, without stirring, until eggs begin to set. Draw a spatula across bottom of pan. Continue to cook until eggs are thickened but still moist; do not stir constantly. Remove from heat, and gently fold in 1 1/2 cups cheese sauce and sausage.
  3. Spoon about 1/3 cup egg mixture down the center of each flour tortilla; roll up. Place, seam side down, in a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Pour remaining cheese sauce evenly over tortillas; sprinkle evenly with Monterey Jack cheese.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly. Serve with desired toppings.

Cheese sauce

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (4.5-oz.) chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Remove from heat, and whisk in remaining ingredients. Makes 4 cups.

Crustless broccoli Cheddar quiches

  • Butter, for ramekins
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 package (10-oz.) frozen broccoli florets
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg, optional
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Crusty bread and mixed salad (optional), to accompany
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter four 8-ounce ramekins (or a 9-inch pie dish); set aside. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli; cook 1 minute. Drain well; transfer to a cutting board, and blot dry with paper towels. Chop coarsely.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg, if using. Stir in broccoli and cheese.
  3. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Ladle broccoli mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and a mixed-green salad, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Pumpkin ginger waffles

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not prepared pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and toss with crystallized ginger in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Combine with flour mixture. Stir in butter and fold in reserved crystallized-ginger mixture. Do not over mix.
  3. Heat a waffle iron and make waffles, using about 1/2 cup batter per each one. Keep warm in 200-degree oven until all are prepared. Makes 5 servings.

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