Lifestyle

Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Plan ahead for Christmas breakfast

In less than a week, Christmas will be upon us and it is at this time that I like to offer recipes we can prepare ahead of time for that special morning and/or during the holiday when family and friends are home.

Preparing foods ahead of time gives moms a break and a chance to sit and enjoy Christmas morning with the rest of the family.

The first recipe is an overnight sweet roll that is irresistible. It has apple sauce in it; surely that gives it a healthy quality? Well, OK, I’ll concede that might be the only thing healthy in it, but oh is it good!  Serve with fresh fruit or a fruit salad. And if you’re tired of sweet breakfast muffins or just looking for a savoury breakfast, try the second recipe. Everyone loves the smoky flavour from the Canadian bacon and the fresh-tasting combination of red bell pepper and scallions. These can be made up to a month in advance. There will be four entrée breakfast make-ahead recipes in Sunday’s paper, so watch for them.

Overnight

Caramel-Apple Rolls

3  to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1  teaspoon salt

1  pkg. active dry yeast

1/2  cup applesauce

1/2  cup milk

1/4  cup butter

1  egg

Caramel Topping

1/2  cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2  cup applesauce

3  tbsp. butter, melted

Filling

2  tbsp. butter, softened

1/3  cup sugar

1  tsp. cinnamon

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and yeast; mix well.  In small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup applesauce, milk and 1/4 cup butter; cook over medium heat until very warm (120 to 130 degrees F), stirring constantly. Add warm mixture and egg to flour mixture; blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups flour until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl. On floured surface, knead in an additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl; cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80 to 85 degrees F) until light and doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. Grease 13x9-inch pan.

Combine topping ingredients in pan; mix well. Spread evenly in pan. On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 15x12-inch rectangle. Spread dough with 2 tbsp. butter. In small bowl, combine 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon; mix well. Sprinkle over butter.

Starting with 15-inch side, roll up tightly, pinching edges to seal. Cut roll into 12 slices; place cut side down over topping in pan. Cover; refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, let rolls stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover rolls; bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan 1 minute; invert onto serving platter or tray. Scrape any remaining topping onto rolls. Serve warm.

Savory Breakfast Muffins

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1-1/3 cups buttermilk

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. butter, melted

1 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 1 bunch)

3/4 cup diced Canadian bacon (3 oz.)

1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, oil and butter in a medium bowl. Fold in scallions, bacon, cheese and bell pepper.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (the cups will be very full). Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Reheat & Run: Bake muffins on weekends and enjoy the leftovers for grab-and-go weekday breakfasts.

Wrap leftover muffins individually in plastic wrap, place in a plastic storage container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 1 month. To thaw, remove plastic wrap, wrap in paper towel and microwave on High for 30 to 60 seconds.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star's longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

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