Chow Town

Simple breakfast is sweet tradition for Christmas morning

The holiday season is in full swing. Schedules are packed and busyness prevails, so the days are filled with activities from dawn to dusk. One thing that I count on this time of year is tried and true traditions. Our family relishes the traditions we have established over the years.

You know the feeling of coming in out of the blistering cold and slipping into warm pj’s, a robe and worn slippers? That is what I need as Christmas approaches and that is what traditions are to me. One tradition that we have embraced for decades is Christmas morning breakfast. Keep it simple and keep the tradition.

Our family breakfast tradition is jeweled fruit marinated in amaretto syrup, make ahead breakfast casserole laden with sausage and cheese and make ahead cinnamon pecan monkey bread doused with heavy cream. Key words as you can see are make ahead. Breakfast is prepared the day ahead so that Christmas morn can be enjoyed by lingering over a cup of coffee.

The monkey bread is a family favorite each year probably due to the fact that we only splurge on this decadent brown sugar cinnamon concoction on Christmas morning. We cherish, savor and enjoy every bite. I was pondering monkey bread and realized there are probably as many versions of monkey bread recipes floating about as there are monkeys swinging through the jungle.

Monkey bread is defined as a sweet yeast bread formed by arranging small clumps of butter-covered dough into a pan. Typically, monkey bread is sweet and flavored with raisins, nuts, cinnamon and sugar. There is no definitive answer as to why the name monkey bread. Recipes with this name appeared in print in 1945. While the actual origin of the name is anyone’s guess, one thing we can all agree upon is that the bubbles of dough melt in your mouth and form a flavor that equates to comfort.

From our home to yours, here is the recipe for our Christmas breakfast tradition.

Monkey Bread

The original recipe was titled Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake but I think you will agree with me that this is monkey bread. Adapted from Southern Living Home for the Holidays (2001)

1 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon cinnamon
25 frozen bread dough rolls 1/2 cup butter, melted 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Brown Sugar Glaze

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Spray a large Bundt pan with nonstick spray.

In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon. Dip frozen rolls in butter; immediately roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Arrange rolls in prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare brown sugar glaze. Beat whipping cream with an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour glaze over dough. (Hint: Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place baking pan on baking sheet. This will avoid an oven mess if there are gooey drippings).

Place Bundt pan on prepared rimmed baking sheet and bake, uncovered, for 55 minutes or until done. Let stand for 10 minutes. Invert onto a rimmed serving platter and drizzle with any remaining glaze left in the pan.

Makes 1 coffee cake.

Tip: Toasting the pecans intensifies their flavor. To toast them, spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Roxanne Wyss is one of two cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. Her most recent cookbook is Triple Slow Cooker Entertaining. She develops the recipes for the “Eating for Life” column for The Kansas City Star and is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier. She blogs at
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