Oh, Christmas brunch, oh Christmas brunch....how I love you.
Christmas morning brunch has been a sacred tradition in my family since the days my younger brother and I outgrew the wake-parents-up-early-and-tear-open-presents age. These days, if anyone in the family is up before the sunrise, it's more likely to do with breakfast prep: brewing a large French press full of strong coffee, slicing English muffins, preparing a poaching bath for eggs, trying to remember how to make hollandaise sauce (and inevitably, a conversation between Dad and I trying to remember how to repair a broken hollandaise sauce, since we only make it once a year). Our annual holiday must-have has been the festive, overly indulgent pairing of eggs Benedict and mimosas for as long as I can remember, along with impossibly goofy family in-jokes, the golden twinkling of lights on the tree in the morning, and holiday tunes playing over the flickering glow of the televised Yule log (my dad's favorite thing about Christmas, and the only other absolute must-have).
All those leisurely-paced holiday mornings are surely all about to go out the window this year with the arrival of our first child (and first grandchild in the family!), bringing with him a return to the days of LET'S OPEN PRESENTS NOOOOOOOOW OKAY ? I say bring on the chaos, we're ready for it. Circle of life and all that. But this year, in the stillness before the storm, my family is celebrating with one more peaceful holiday brunch, and I'm celebrating with another kind of special project...a cookbook!
This particular holiday brunch menu is one I've been playing with for quite a while now; based on my own family traditions, it naturally includes a version of eggs Benedict (you haven't truly experienced happiness if you haven't yet made these on a savory waffle base, in my opinion) and a sophisticated twist on mimosas. I've included the easiest possible version of that notorious hollandaise sauce (it comes together in seconds, in a blender), by the way, so there won't be any broken sauces or need for intense repair attempts. Crispy puff pastry shells cradling hearty bites of garlicky greens threaded with rich cheese are a comfort food like no other, and dead simple to put together. Others, like the Swedish-influenced cinnamon rolls and winter salad of red pears, grapefruit and pomegranate, are there to provide some much needed sweetness and jewel-like color on a midwinter morning.
MERRY + BRIGHT: A Holiday Brunch Menu by Sweet Laurel
Swedish-style Cinnamon Almond Rolls
Greens + Gruyère Pastry Cups
Eggs Benedict Waffles
Winter Fruit Salad
Grapefruit Sage Mimosas
Looking for a little brunch inspiration for your own table this year? You can actually order a printed & bound copy of my mini-cookbook from the good folks at Blurb, and have it on your shelf to treasure and refer to for years and years to come. Or, you can click the link below and receive a PDF copy of the cookbook absolutely free...my little holiday gift to all of you for being Sweet Laurel readers. Either way, may your days be merry & bright!
My huge thanks go out to Blurb for sponsoring this post and allowing me to create such a lovely little book. I seriously can't stop running my hands over the beautiful, full-bleed color pages and lovingly caressing the spine, where my name sits in bold print. This holiday cookbook thing could become a yearly tradition! If you've got a print dream that you'd like to make a reality, head over to Blurb and take advantage of 40% off on photo books between now and December 19th. Trust me, there's no feeling quite like taking all those glowing pixels and turning them into a book that can be given, held and cherished for years--it's an amazing gift to give to someone else, or to yourself! Then settle back, light up the Yule log on television, and start thinking deeply about holiday brunch, because those eggs Benedict waffles aren't going to make themselves, but they are a lot of fun to make with family & friends around you. Happy holidays, everyone!