jingle balls brunch

The holidays are a great time for brunch, don’t you think? This year I put together a brunch where the menu items (except the eggs and beverages) were ball-shaped! It was fun to come up with flavor combos using that shape limitation, and I do believe the meal “made spirits bright.”

Kumquats with Chèvre rolled in Brandied Pecans / Aged White Cheddar & Brown Sugar Bacon Monkey Bread / Twice Baked Mini Mashers / Roasted Cappellini Onions and Grape Tomatoes / Macaroons with Tart Cherries & Key Limes.

Half of the food was prepared in advance. Day before: bake mini mashers once, bake bacon in oven, roll goat cheese balls, make macaroons, wash fruits & veggies. Day of: bake bacon cheddar monkey bread, hollow out mini mashers, roast mini mashers, onions & tomatoes, stuff mini mashers with filling, make eggs.

Black Diamond & Brown Sugar Bacon Monkey Bread (Amy’s Adaptation)

2 Tubes crescent roll dough, balled up (a revelation in semi-flaky monkey bread)
12 slices good bacon, baked with dark brown sugar, broken up (bake your bacon!)
One little block Black Diamond aged white cheddar, chunked up (I used to live on little shrink wrapped packets of this cheese)
Half stick unsalted sweet cream butter, melted

lightly grease loaf pan.
coat each dough ball in butter and fill bottom of pan with dough ball layer.
sprinkle bacon and cheese over the layer.
repeat a few times.
finish with a dough ball layer.

takes about 35 minutes in 350-degree oven. let cool in pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to plate.

day old donut hole bread pudding

Inspired by a menu item from an old restaurant on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis over 50 years ago called Doyle’s Eat Shop, I made bread pudding from day old donuts. I happened to have a few leftover glazed applesauce donut holes from Heyerly’s Bakery, so I used those as the bread and made up my recipe based on what I had at my apartment. I learned about the magic of cardamom in bread pudding from my friend Lindsay, who could make her recipe blindfolded. Since the donut holes were glazed I didn’t use too much sugar and decided that butter was unnecessary. I also sprinkled a few walnuts over half. These would be good with a white chocolate sauce. I heated up some peach and raspberry preserves to top the warm, spicy, sweet substance.

For the puddin:
half about 2 dozen donut holes and stack in loaf pan / whisk together 2 eggs, 1 c cream, 1/8 c dark brown sugar, 1/2 t cardamom & pinch of nutmeg / pour over top of halved donut pile and press down till soaked / bake about 30 min in 375-degree oven or till loaf is springy to the touch

applesauce donut clouds

I have wonderful memories of running around orchards in Indiana on days like today, when the clouds, white as apple blossoms, float in the sky like they are felt cutouts on a fictional flannelgraph board. The sun is warm on your face, though the air is cold enough that a sweater is wanted; the clouds sift through it, and the trees temper from stormy to golden and back in a matter of minutes.

My sister, who does Fall Cleaning instead of Spring Cleaning, and cannot get to sleep on “September Eve” like it is Christmas Eve, shares my giddiness for the upcoming season. Last weekend her family picked 20+ lbs of apples, and she went nuts making appley goodies, including an applesauce spice drop donut that I had to try for myself.  The recipe I started with is from All Recipes (I like this site, because they do math for you if you want to make less/more).  She used her homemade applesauce, but I just used a little cup of Motts. Instead of buttermilk, I used milk and apple cider vinegar. Instead of dropping them I rolled them out, because I thought it was the perfect excuse to use my handmade cloud cookie cutter from the enchanting Herriott Grace.  Applesauce donut clouds have the taste of an apple fritter without the chunky texture.  You bite into them and they scream, “Get Thee to a Fall Festival!” Good thing Johnny Appleseed is this weekend.

sunday night sweet biscuitscape

It just takes a few sweet potatoes (or one whopper sweet potato) and spoonful of cinnamon to transform a biscuit into a stand-alone sweet treat.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all kinds of biscuits, but these are my new favorite.  I use this recipe from Paula Deen, a food mill as my sweet potato sieve, add 1 t cream of tartar and 2 T cinnamon.  My mom gave me these square biscuit cutters at Easter, and the little ones make adorable bite-sized biscuits!  Kind of like monkey bread, only less sticky and somewhat healthier.  And lucky for me, I found some gingerbread ale in my cupboard that accompanied nicely.