Holiday “Brinner”

Every year I throw a holiday party for some of my closest friends.  Brian had brought me to a cooking class in New York and I wanted to share all the recipes I learned. I threw a Christmas party serving lamb and homemade pasta! Now it’s become an annual tradition complete with an ornament exchange!

This year I decided to throw in a twist and have “Brinner.” No it’s not a typo, breakfast for dinner, along with a Christmas movie. You are not allowed in without your PJ’s on! This year I collaborated with my sister Danielle, being breakfast is her favorite meal! The menu for brinner was as follows:

Candied Bacon

French Toast Casserole

Mushroom, Gruyere and Thyme Quiche

Waffle Bar

Mexican Egg Casserole (Danielle)

Gingerbread Scones  (Danielle)

Truffle Popcorn

Hot Chocolate Bar

To end the night we also gave out pancake mixes to everyone who attended. I have to thank Danielle for that special touch! Below you will find the recipe for the French Toast Casserole and the Candied Bacon!


French Toast Casserole


1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter, melted

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 loaf challah (a French bread loaf can a used) sliced into 1 1/2 inches thick slices

8 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup whole milk

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

(optional) maple syrup and powdered sugar topping


1. In a small bowl combine brown sugar and melted butter and pour on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.

 2. Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish overlapping if necessary. But try not to overlap to much b/c the tops of the bread that are not soaked in the egg mixture may burn.

3. Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices.

4. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.

5. In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes while you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

6. Bake casserole for 30-35 minutes. If top starts browning too quickly place a foil loosely over the top of the casserole for the last 10 minutes or so. You want it to cook long enough to make sure the bottom part is cooked but don’t dry it out completely.

7. Remove casserole from oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.



Candied Bacon

12 slices bacon, about 1/4-inch thick
Finely ground black pepper
1/3 cup light brown sugar
Equipment: 2 baking sheets, preferably the same size

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

1. Put bacon slices in a bowl, season them with pepper and toss with the brown sugar.

2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment or foil and arrange the bacon in a single layer on top. Sprinkle any sugar left in the bowl over the bacon. Top with another layer of parchment or foil and top it, squarely, with another baking sheet. The baking sheet will flatten the bacon as it cooks.

3.Place the tray in the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Check the bacon by lifting the top tray and parchment. If it is not golden brown and fairly crispy, resist the temptation to turn up the oven temperature, and cook it for 10 to 15 minutes longer.


4. Check it again. Keep in mind that when you remove the tray and transfer the bacon to a serving platter or individual plates, the bacon will “crisp” up a little more. Be patient!

 Adapted from : Alex Guarnaschelli from Food Network


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