Host a Spectacular Christmas Brunch

Did you have one too many Christmas or Holiday parties to attend last year? Is this year's calendar already filling up, but you still want to have a few people over? Perhaps you just want to do something different this year for your family. How about hosting a Christmas Brunch instead of an evening party? You can plan it for any of the weekends after Thanksgiving or possibly even Christmas morning or New Year's Day.

Advantages:

  • You still get to use that beautiful Christmas tablecloth that you just purchased.
  • You will be able to get to bed at a reasonable hour.
  • The kids are generally in a better mood and more alert in the morning.
  • Don't have to worry about guests drinking and driving or staying until all hours of the evening.
  • You get to eat some great breakfast and brunch items that you may only make occasionally.
  • Easier to get together on a Saturday or Sunday morning with those busy people that you know.
  • Shouldn't interfere with most football games.

Ideal number of total guests for a brunch party: 4-8

Ideal time of day for a brunch party: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, but this can be flexible.

Brunch Ideas:

Belgian waffles and buttermilk pancakes are always a favorite in our house. Make it easy on yourself and keep it simple. It is perfectly okay to buy pre-made mixes, sauces, and toppings. In fact, this could be used as a great reason to have your guests over. Buy 3 different kinds of pancake mixes that you haven't tried before, make ½ batch of each, and have a tasting party.

To make it special for the holidays here are a few ideas: Make real whipped cream using 1 pint of heavy whipping cream sweetened with powdered sugar and than add ½ tsp. of ground cinnamon while whipping the cream. Just delicious and it adds an extra special touch on pancakes and waffles. For the pancakes, make them small, not more than 4-5" in diameter. Serve with real butter.

Where you can get really creative is in the toppings. Real maple syrup is a must, but also consider blueberry syrup with plump whole blueberries, apple-cinnamon syrup with chunks of fresh apple, a raspberry sauce or any flavor of jams and jellies as excellent toppings for pancakes and waffles. Try to have a variety of 2-3 flavors available. Once your guests try some of the different flavors, the maple syrup may end up taking a back seat.

Light Accompaniments:

You really need to have a lighter accompaniment to offset a big meal of pancakes or waffles. Fresh fruit is a great choice and it can be served in many different ways.

Prepare ahead a fresh fruit platter or place fruit into individual serving bowls. A selection of red and green seedless grapes, sliced strawberries, blueberries, kiwifruit or any other seasonal fruit may be used. Adding a splash of a white carbonated soda to each fruit dish is very refreshing. You can also top off the fresh fruit with the cinnamon whipped cream noted earlier.

Festive Beverage Ideas:

  • Egg nog (only in small amounts as this is very filling)
  • Champagne and orange juice
  • Rich dark coffee with a splash of a flavored syrup such as vanilla or hazelnut

Add some candles and sparkle to your brunch table and make it festive. No need to wait for evening to get out the good china and centerpiece decorations.

    Editor's Note: Laura Warnke is owner of an online gourmet retail store, The Topping Shoppe, LLC. Here you will find a great selection of dessert sauces and ice cream sundae toppings to purchase. If you want to know more about how to use different types of dessert sauces in your recipes please visit my dessert sauces website.

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