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Jolly holiday brunch

Agriculture.com Staff 12/02/2006 @ 1:16pm

My mom has a 40-year tradition of hosting about four dozen relatives for the big Christmas meal at the farm. How does she do it without collapsing from overwork? She makes the big meal a brunch, and everyone pitches in. By early afternoon the guests are full, the kitchen clean, the presents opened, and everyone can relax for the rest of the day. If you are a morning person, this is the way to celebrate the holidays! Here are a few favorite brunch recipes.

Prep: 10 minutes, Cook: 3 hours on low or 1-1/2 hours on high

1 9.6-ounce package nonfat dry milk powder (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup plain powdered nondairy creamer
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
8 cups water
1/2 cup creme de cacao (optional)
Sweetened whipped cream
Peppermint sticks (optional)

Step 1: In a 3 1/2-, 4-, or 5-quart slow cooker combine dry milk powder, powdered sugar, nondairy creamer, and cocoa powder. Gradually add water; stir well to dissolve.

Step 2: Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours or on high-heat setting for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Serve at once or hold on low for up to 1 hour.

Step 3: Stir in the creme de cacao, if desired. Stir mixture before serving. Ladle into mugs; top with whipped cream and add a peppermint stick, if desired. Makes 12 (6-ounce) servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 210 calories, 6 g fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 132 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 9 g protein.

Prep: 25 minutes, Chill: 2 hours, Bake: 1 hour, Stand: 15 minutes

12 ounces Italian bread, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
8 beaten eggs
2 cups milk
2 cups half-and-half or light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark-colored corn syrup
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, walnuts, hickory, or hazelnuts

Step 1: Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Arrange bread slices in the bottom of the dish, overlapping as necessary.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, half-and-half, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Slowly pour egg mixture evenly over bread. Press down lightly with large spoon. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.

Step 3: For topping: In a bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Stir in nuts. Spoon the topping in small mounds over the bread in the baking dish.

Step 4: Place baking dish in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan (mixture may bubble over). Bake, uncovered, in a 325-degree F. oven 1 hour or until puffed and golden. Let stand 15 minutes. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving (12): 414 calories, 24 g fat, 181 mg cholesterol, 338 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein.

Prep: 25 minutes, Cook: 5 minutes, Chill: 4 to 24 hours

1-1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons snipped crystallized ginger
8 cups cut-up fruit (such as segmented oranges or grapefruit, peeled kiwi, apples, and/or seedless grapes)

Step 1: For syrup, in a small saucepan combine water, sugar, lemon juice, and ginger. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool completely.

Step 2: Place fruit in a large serving bowl. Pour syrup over fruit; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Makes 10 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 142 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein.

These recipes were tested by the same food authorities who approve all recipes for Better Homes and Gardens magazine, a sister publication of Successful Farming magazine.

For 10,000 kitchen-tested recipes, visit the Recipe Center at agriculture.com/go/5995.

For questions about this issue's recipes, write here:

SF Food Editor
1716 Locust Street/LS257
Des Moines, IA 50309
Fax: 515/284-3127
E-mail: betsy.freese@meredith.com

My mom has a 40-year tradition of hosting about four dozen relatives for the big Christmas meal at the farm. How does she do it without collapsing from overwork? She makes the big meal a brunch, and everyone pitches in. By early afternoon the guests are full, the kitchen clean, the presents opened, and everyone can relax for the rest of the day. If you are a morning person, this is the way to celebrate the holidays! Here are a few favorite brunch recipes.

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