Monday, December 27, 2010

Starting A New Tradition

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I love Christmas traditions and this year I decided to start a new one for Aaron and me...a fantastically delicious Christmas morning breakfast! When I was growing up we always had Entenmann's raspberry cream cheese coffee cake for breakfast and I looked forward to it every year.

I decided to do something different to start a new tradition for us, so I made cinnamon rolls and a breakfast tart. They both could be made ahead of time so all I had to do was pop them in the oven Christmas morning and then we could enjoy a fabulous breakfast before tearing into our presents.

The cinnamon roll recipe is from Food Network Magazine - their interpretation of Cinnabon's recipe and it turned out flawlessly and was surprisingly easy to make, even though yeast was involved and that continues to make me nervous.

Almost-Famous Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients for the Dough
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup plus 1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Ingredients for the Filling

- 12 tbsp. softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp. cinnamon
- flour (for dusting)

Ingredients for the Glaze
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 tbsp melted unsalted butter


Make the dough: Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches about 100 degrees. Remove from heat and sprinkle in the yeast and 1/4 tsp. sugar (don't stir!). Set aside until foamy (about 5 minutes), then whisk in the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla.

2. Whisk the flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed with the dough hook until thick and slightly sticky. Knead the dough on medium speed until it gathers around the hook, adding up to 2 tbsp. of flour if necessary.

3. Remove the dough and shape it into a ball. Butter a clean bowl and return the dough to the bowl, turning well to coat the entire ball with butter. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled (about an hour and 15 minutes).

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12 x 14" rectangle, then spread it with the softened butter - leaving a 1/4-inch border on the far edge. Mix the sugar and cinnamon over the butter. Brush the unbuttered edge with water. Roll the dough away from you in a tight cylinder and press on the long edges to seal. Cut the cylinder with a sharp knife to make the buns (about 2 inches thick).

4. Butter a 9x13" pan, place the buns cut-side down in the pan, leaving space between each. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled (about 40 minutes). Preheat the oven to 325 or if you don't want to bake them until the next morning, wait til they do this second rise, then let them sit in the fridge overnight and bake them following the directions in step #5.

5. Bake the buns until golden brown on top (about 35 minutes). Cool them in the pan for 15 minutes while making the glaze. Sift the confectioner's sugar into a bowl, then whisk in the cream and melted butter. Spoon the glaze over the buns and serve warm!

I came up with this recipe for the Breakfast Tart after watching Giada on Food Network. She made a "fancy" version of this and I'm sure it is delicious, but I'm a big fan of my version and so is Aaron!

Breakfast Tart

- 9” piecrust (either homemade or store bought - I've done both and they're equally tasty!)
- 1 egg white (lightly beaten)

- 6 slices of bacon

- 7 eggs (lightly beaten)

- ½ cup mascarpone cheese

- 2 cups cheddar cheese

- 4 thinly sliced green onions

- Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees, grease the bottom and sides of a pie pan, then unroll the pie crust and arrange it in the pan. Press it into the bottom and sides, trimming off any excess crust. Brush the crust with the beaten egg white - this seals the crust and keeps the egg tart mixture from making it soggy. Then prick the crust with a fork before baking it for 10 minutes.

2. Let the crust cool for about 10 minutes while you make the filling. Cook the bacon on a sheet pan for about 15 minutes until crispy, then chop it into bite-sized pieces.

3. Combine eggs, mascarpone cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, green onions, salt and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer, whipping until creamy. Then pour the mixture into the cooled crush and bake for about 25-30 minutes until the filling is firm and golden brown on the top.

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