Brunch: the Holiday Way
When it comes to the holiday season, your thoughts (if you’re anything like me) probably go straight to the food. The best memories are made around the table, after all. For my family, holiday menu planning begins weeks in advance, and every year my husband experiments with a new way to make our Thanksgiving turkey. Big holiday dinners are a tradition in all of our families, and with good reason!
And while I would never for a moment diminish the joy of piling your plate full of deviled eggs, creative applications of sweet potatoes, and 10 types of casseroles, I also want to call attention to the fact that you and your guest might want to eat on other days besides just Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
So, let’s talk about the beloved institution of brunch. I love the thought of a big, delicious brunch on a cozy Saturday morning waiting for the football games to begin, or as a sweet farewell meal as your family returns home after a holiday visit.
Here are just a few of my family’s favorites. Whether your guests have a sweet tooth or crave something savory (or you’re just looking to pop open some champagne—no judgement here), these can all be prepped the day before so you don’t spend your pre-dawn hours in the kitchen or otherwise away from your company.
Apple Cider Mimosas
What you’ll need:
- 1 50.7 oz glass container of Martinelli’s Unfiltered Apple Juice
- 1 tablespoon of whole cloves (more or less to taste)
- 3-4 whole cinnamon sticks (more or less to taste)
- 1 bottle champagne of your choice
- Fresh rosemary and thinly-sliced apple slices for garnish
- Ground cinnamon, sugar, and brown sugar to rim the glass
The day before serving, drop whole cloves and cinnamon sticks in the jar of apple juice. Place it in the refrigerator to steep overnight. To serve, dip the rim of the glass into a shallow dish of the apple juice, then in the mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Pour apple juice into the glass 3/4 full, then fill to the top with champagne. Serve with apple slices and rosemary.
Challah Bread Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
For the bread:
- 1 packet of dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 vegetable oil, plus a little more to coat the inside of a large bowl
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 3-4 cups all purpose flour
For the filling:
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted sweet cream butter
For the icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 teaspoons milk
To make the bread, empty the contents of one packet of dry yeast into a large mixing bowl, and gently pour warm water over it. The water must be between 105 and 110 degrees to properly activate the yeast. Gently stir to combine, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, stir to combine brown sugar, honey, egg, salt, vegetable oil, and pumpkin puree. When yeast is ready, pour this mixture over the yeast and stir again to combine.
Add 3 cups of flour to the mixture, and using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer, combine together. Add up to one more cup of flour (a little at a time) if it is too sticky. (If you do not have a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, then you can do the initial mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula, then knead it for a bit on a floured surface with floured hands.) Once the flour is combined, you’re good to go.
Transfer the dough to a large clean bowl that has been coated lightly in vegetable oil. Cover it tight with plastic wrap, and set it a warm place to proof for 3-5 hours.
To make the filling, simply combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and softened butter. It will come together as a paste.
After the dough has proofed, gently remove it from the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it into a rectangle that is approximately 13” x 16” and 1/2” thick. Spread the filling mixture evenly across the dough.
Beginning with the longest edge of the dough, gently roll into a spiral. Rolling from the long edge will give you more rolls!
Now for the best part of this whole process: using a piece of unflavored dental floss, slide it under the log of dough, and criss-cross it over the top. This gives perfect cuts without smooshing out all of the filling and is highly satisfying as well. You should be able to get approximately 15 rolls.
Place the rolls into a greased baking dish, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm spot to proof again for 4-6 hours or overnight.
There is nothing more exciting than checking on your cinnamon rolls the next morning and seeing them busting out of the baking dish! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake for 20 minutes.
Make the icing by combining powdered sugar, softened butter, and milk. When the cinnamon rolls are done baking, immediately pour the icing over the top and serve warm.
Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Frittata
What you’ll need:
- 4 cups of kale with the hard stems removed, then roughly chopped
- 1 onion peeled and sliced (I like white onion, but use what you’ve got! Shallots are good too.)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- Olive oil
- Rosemary-infused salt (or just salt and some fresh rosemary), and pepper to taste
- 5 slices of bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped
- 9 eggs
- Goat cheese
Begin with wilting kale by throwing it in a skillet with 3/4 cups of water over medium heat. Cover with lid, stirring occasionally. It will take about 10 minutes to soften. Remove from heat and strain it in the colander. Set it aside to drain.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet or other shallow oven-proof baking dish. Add sweet potatoes, onions, salt and pepper and cook till the sweet potatoes are tender and the onions are translucent, about 10-15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl. I like to use a hand-held mixer to make them extra smooth.
When the potatoes are ready, add the pre-cooked bacon and drained kale, then pour the eggs over the mixture. Crumble goat cheese over the top, as much or as little as you fancy. Bake for 15 minutes, or until totally set in the middle. Sprinkle more rosemary salt over the top before slicing and serving.
My #1 Holiday Tip
I hope you find these recipes helpful! Be sure to pile on your favorite Noonday Collection arm party and decorate your home with pieces from our Winter 2019 Collection, too. The food and drinks are certainly something to celebrate about, but the atmosphere you create is just as important. The Peruvian Pom Wreath is my absolute favorite piece hanging in my home, especially after I was able to travel to Peru and meet the women who make them (one of the many perks of being a Noonday Ambassador). Happy Holidays!
Meet Malinda Nichols
Malinda first became an Ambassador when she and her husband were fundraising for the adoption of their daughter from India. She has a degree in Fashion Design and even used to work as a prop stylist! Nowadays, she spends her days teaching U.S. history and government, baking yummy goodies, and embracing the world-changing Ambassador life.