Braking for Brunch

After what might be one of the most hectic and joyful days of the year, many of us have one simple wish for a couple of days after Christmas: keep it simple. Consider your with granted while also giving you a bit of the decadence associated with the holidays. I give you my favorite simple brunch dish that is still guaranteed to impress:

If you want to make brunch really simple, make the strawberry sauce for this dish in advance. Don't whip the cream until right before it's time to serve though — it doesn't keep particularly well and an electric mixer will make quick work of it anyway. As for the croissants, if you're as lucky as I am, there will be a fantastic French bakery nearby. If not, do pick your favorites from a local bakery, as this is one dish where the pastry really shines.

A perfect croissant - tender on the inside and crisp on the outside - gets a generous helping of a balsamic-kissed strawberry sauce and amaretto-spiked whipped cream. Add a cup of your favorite coffee and relax. Before you know it, New Year's Eve will be beaconing us to put on our dancing shoes and ring in the New Year. But today … you can put in a few minutes of work and enjoy a long, relaxing brunch with your friends and loved ones.

Decadent Strawberry Stacks

  • 1 lb. frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 T. cold water
  • 1-2 T. good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 c. cold whipping cream
  • 3 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. amaretto
  • 4 large croissants, sliced in half lengthwise

In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the berries are softened and the liquid is bubbling. Add the cornstarch-water mixture and stir to thicken. Remove the saucepan from the stove and add the balsamic vinegar to the mixture. Stir to combine and allow the mixture to cool.

While the strawberries are cooling, whip the cream, 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and the amaretto with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

To assemble, spoon a generous amount of berries onto the bottom half of each of the croissants. Add a dollop of whipped cream, set the top of each croissant over that, and add another dollop of whipped cream to the top of each croissant. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes