Happy new year—and new decade! Whether or not you make resolutions, now is the perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at old habits and consider making changes. Why not start in your own kitchen with the very first meal of the day? Fresh, nourishing baked goods; easy pancakes and French toast; and delicious hot beverages get your morning off to an energetic start—and you don't have to wait for the weekend to serve them!
Our secrets? Do some of the prep work in advance, so you don't feel rushed in the morning. Include plenty of nutritious ingredients like fresh fruits and nuts. And don't forget to add just the right amount of sugar!
Make-Ahead Short Cuts
Speed through breakfast prep by getting a head start the night before. Mix and refrigerate the batter for our Make-Ahead Oatmeal-Buttermilk Pancakes before you go to bed; if you like, you can stir together the dry ingredients then, too. Just add eggs, melted butter, raisins, and nuts in the morning. Excellent with a dollop of yogurt or Fruit Butter.
All of the components of our Cheese Blintzes with Apricot Sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated: just warm the apricot sauce in your microwave or on the stovetop before serving. You can even assemble, cook, and refrigerate or freeze the blintzes (another word for crêpes), then bake them in a hot oven when you're ready for breakfast or brunch.
Fresh from the Oven
Even weekday breakfasts feel like leisurely weekend brunches when you serve fruit-packed, delicious, and easy-to-bake muffins, quick breads, and coffee cakes. They make tasty afternoon snacks, too!
Case in point: Mini Cranberry-Orange Breads, a perfect way to use up the cranberries you bought and froze over the holidays. Orange juice and grated orange peel add even more bright flavor. The recipe makes three mini-loaves: simply wrap and freeze the ones you don't serve. And this delicious Buttermilk Banana Bread recipe—courtesy of cookbook author Mollie Katzen—transforms overripe bananas into a hearty, nourishing loaf (or three or four mini-loaves).
Lovely Lemon Muffins also freeze well; to reheat, wrap them in heavy foil and bake in a slow oven for 15 to 18 minutes. But they're so deliciously tangy, you may not have leftovers!
Created for us by pastry chef Emily Luchetti, Apple Streusel Muffins are a little bit chunky (from chopped-up fresh apple) and a little bit crunchy (from crumbled streusel topping). Some sour cream in the batter makes them extra irresistible. We also have Emily to thank for this Blueberry Ginger Upside Down Cake, moist and fruit-filled and just a little bit spicy. Substitute thawed frozen berries if you can't find fresh ones.
We know that sweet potatoes are tubers, not fruit, but we love Sweet Potato Breakfast Loaf too much not to include it here. It's an excellent way to use up leftover baked sweet potatoes (or you can quickly cook one in your microwave). Dried currants add even more nutrients and sweetness, and spices enhance the flavor.
Fill Your Cup
Why settle for ordinary coffee when you can brew up a batch of Double Café Diable? This wickedly scrumptious beverage combines strong coffee, orange peel, and spices, and is topped with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Or try our Real Mexican Coffee, a spicy treat you stir with cinnamon sticks. Not a coffee lover? You (and the kids) will enjoy Rich Hot Chocolate—almost as quick and easy to make as the "instant" stuff, but oh-so-much tastier.
Birthdays and unhurried weekend mornings call for out-of-the-ordinary breakfasts (served in bed, perhaps?). Bread pudding, for example, isn't just for dessert: think of it as a richer, more decadent variety of French toast. This Vanilla Bread Pudding with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote is definitely worth the hour or so it takes to prepare and bake. No strawberries or rhubarb to be found? Substitute this Winter Fruit Compote (pear, apple, cranberries, oranges, and pomegranate), or warm up some Apple and Maple Preserves and pour over each serving.
Equally spectacular, but very different (and easy): our Fresh Berries and Cream Parfait. Substitute thawed frozen berries when fresh ones aren't in season, but don't skimp on the sweetened cream! And look for decorative parfait glasses in thrift stores and flea markets—they really make a difference in the presentation.
Breakfast crêpes may seem challenging, but in fact they're a snap. (Just don't walk away from the stove—they cook more quickly than pancakes.) Serve these Lemon Crêpes alongside eggs or sliced fruit for a delightful alternative to toast. And yes, you can make them ahead and freeze them!
Finally, if your kids beg you for cookies at breakfast, here's how to indulge them without feeling guilty. Our Breakfast Cookies are filled with actual breakfast food: an egg, of course, but also cornflakes and even bacon! Kids will love their sweet-salty flavor, but you know what? So will grown-ups.