Saturday, December 19, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Baked Cinnamon Bread Brunch and The Christmas Full Moon

Remember the Christmas morning in the 1983 movie A Christmas Story?
Yeah, the movie where Ralphie's Old Man wins a major award, the leg lamp.

Remember how tired the parents were on Christmas morning?
Can you imagine if the Mom also had to make breakfast that morning?
Yeah, not a happy thought.

Christmas morning is a perfect time to have a brunch dish ready to go into the oven.
There are a few brunch dishes that can be prepared a day in advance, giving you a chance to relax and open presents with the family.
Here are two I’ve posted over the years:

Frittata is an Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche.
And it’s nice for a dessert or a brunch, too.

Today I’m posting a recipe for a third brunch dish: Baked Cinnamon Bread Brunch.

And, never forget the safety mantra of Mom, teacher and Santa…
You'll shoot your eye out.


Use day old bread because the stale bread will soak up more egg mixture.

Want to use up a regular loaf of bread, or some leftover Christmas bread?
No problem.
If you’re using a regular bread and would the casserole to be a bit sweeter, add a teaspoon or two of vanilla.
Some raisins would be nice, too.

The casserole can be refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours.

Don’t have pecans?
Walnuts or chocolate chips or whatever your crowd likes would work, too.

If you don’t feel like making the topping you can sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over the bread pudding. 

Would you like a fruit topping to serve on the side?
This is easy and uses what you have:

Melt in a nonstick skillet over medium heat
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup dark brown sugar
1 Cup apple or pear slices
Stir the slices until they are softened and the sugar has melted.
Place the fruit in a bowl and serve with the warm casserole.

If you make the topping in the summer you can use berries or sliced peaches.
The fruit topping is also good on waffles, pancakes, or leftover turkey or ham.

                        Baked Cinnamon Bread Brunch

Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan

Have on hand
8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
   (3/4 Cup will be used in the casserole; the remainder will be used in the topping)

Cut each slice of a
1 pound sliced cinnamon raisin bread loaf
diagonally in half twice to make 4 small triangles.
Stand each triangle, with points up, in the prepared baking pan. 

Place in a large bowl
3/4 Cup cream cheese
1/4 Cup packed brown sugar 
Beat at low speed until blended. 
Stir in
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla 
Add, one at a time, mixing well after each addition
6 large eggs 
Stir in
2 1/2 Cups milk
Pour the mixture over the bread in the baking pan. 

When you’re ready to serve, heat oven to 350º F
Bake, uncovered, 40 to 50 minutes. 
The top should be golden brown and a knife inserted in the centre will come out clean. 

While the casserole is baking prepare the topping

Place in a small bowl
the remaining cream cheese
2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
Beat until well blended and smooth.

Sprinkle over the casserole
3 Tablespoons chopped pecans 
Drizzle the cream cheese topping over the casserole.

About the sky this week…
According to the Farmers Almanac:

December 20 - Natures’ annual holiday light show, the Ursid meteor showers peak, producing 5-10 meteors per hour. Visible from the north all night.

December 21 - The Winter Solstice, 11:48 p.m. 
The Sun reaches its farthest point south of the celestial equator so it’s the shortest day of the year from sunrise to sunset. 
The good news is that the days will start getting longer from here!

December 25 - A Christmas Full Moon! December’s Full Cold Moon will be astronomically full at 6:11 a.m. It appears full for three days.
Check out this short video on how this Moon got its name: December's Full Cold Moon

December 29 - Look to the east in the late evening to locate the bright waning Moon, and right above it, the bright star Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo, and one of the brightest stars in the night sky, with a bluish tint.  Part of the constellation Leo includes up a backwards question mark and Regulus provides the dot at the bottom. 
Try to locate Jupiter low in the horizon after midnight.

Oh, about that Christmas Full Moon
The full moon hasn’t fallen on Christmas Day since 1977.
It won’t be back for another 19 years.  Enjoy!!

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