Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Christmas Breakfast

When I was growing up, we would often make a Christmas Eve run to Young's Dairy for pecan sticky rolls to have in the morning. My mom and I would also make eggs and a basil potato pancake to complement the sweetness of the rolls and stocking candy we inevitably got into along with our stocking oranges. One of my favorite Christmas breakfasts, at my almost-grandma's house in St. Petersburg, Florida, included orange juice squeezed that morning from fruit we picked in her back yard.

As a young woman, I continued to spend Christmas with my mom, stepdad, and almost-grandma. My almost-grandma and my mom made stollen every year, a tradition from my almost-grandma's side of the family. We also had eggs & the potato pancake.

Since I began spending Christmases at home with Jeannene, 13 Christmases now, we've had a breakfast casserole I can pop in the crockpot before bed on Christmas Eve. We awake with breakfast already prepared and all I have to do is make our sweet. I've done cinnamon coffee cake, cheater sweet rolls, and stollen. But ever since I came across Paula Deen's recipe for gorilla bread and tried it, that has been our go-to sweet treat Christmas morning. If you like monkey bread (another of my almost-grandma's favorites), this is the same thing, amped up with cream cheese. Decadent, for certain! The first time I made it, Jeannene said, "That is a food group of its own. And it is elevated above all food groups."

Christmas Crockpot Breakfast
32 oz. frozen hash browns
1 lb ham (diced) or sausage (browned)
1 onion, diced (I just threw in a handful of minced, dried onion this year and it was great)
1 green pepper, diced (optional)
2 c. shredded cheddar
12 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Layer first 5 ingredients in a crockpot. Beat eggs with milk & seasonings. Pour over layers in crockpot. Cook about 10 hours on low. 

Gorilla Bread
1/2 c. sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter
1 c. brown sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into 20 cubes
2 (10 count each) tubes whomp biscuits (as Jill Conner Browne describes them, on account of you whomp 'em against the counter to open 'em)
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray. Mix the cinnamon & white sugar. Melt the butter with the brown sugar over low heat. Sprinkle each biscuit with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon sugar and then seal a cube of cream cheese in each. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nuts into the Bundt pan. Add half the biscuits. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and pour half the butter-brown sugar mixture over the top. Repeat, starting & ending with nuts. Bake half an hour to 45 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before inverting into a plate. Serves 12-15.

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