English Muffin Breakfast Bake

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This one’s for my Mom, who loves bacon and eggs with toast more than anyone I know. In fact she even claims it has healing powers. Nervous about getting on a plane? Have a breakfast sandwich. One too many drinks last night? The bread and grease from the bacon will settle your stomach. I am not fully on board with this theory, but she swears by it.

And while she has strict preferences– the toast should be golden brown, the bacon should be very crispy, the eggs should never be “wet” — I still think my Mom would approve of my spin on her favorite breakfast.

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A cross between a soufflé, a frittata, and a bread pudding, this English Muffin Breakfast Bake combines everyday breakfast ingredients to make a brunch masterpiece. (Think eggs, toasted bread, maple-roasted bacon and lots of cheddar cheese.) It’s a little more time consuming than your average egg sandwich, but SO worth it. And I also confirmed, as my Mom claims, that it does wonders after a long night out.

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Besides being delicious and totally over the top, this is also a very practical recipe. The ingredients are all things you can find at any grocery store- a dozen eggs, a pack of English muffins, a pound of bacon, a quart of milk, etc. – and the recipe doesn’t require any special equipment. It’s what I call a great “vacation” recipe- something you can make without your usual kitchen setup (and definitely something to make when you are happily eating lots of  “vacation food.”)

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If you want to double the recipe for a large group, I would recommend making two separate batches (in two baking dishes) rather than using one larger dish or pan. And if you plan on needing a bacon and eggs elixir the morning after, you can assemble this the night before and bake it off in the morning. OR, make it for your Mom this weekend! If she’s anything like mine, she will be very happy you did.

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English Muffin Breakfast Bake


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 slices good-quality, lean bacon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 English muffins, such as Thomas’s
  • 12 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups, lightly packed)

Directions

Arrange two racks evenly spaced in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously grease the bottom and sides a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish with the butter.

Place an ovenproof baking rack on a sheet pan and place the strips of bacon in a single layer on the rack. (If you don’t have a rack, just place the bacon directly on the sheet pan.) Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bacon has begun to brown. Remove the pan and carefully brush the strips of bacon with maple syrup. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the bacon and allow to drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop the bacon and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut the English muffins into 1” cubes. (Do not halve them horizontally as you would normally for the toaster.) Spread the cubes on a sheet pan and bake, with the bacon, for 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

While the bacon and English muffins are in the oven, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in large bowl.

To assemble, sprinkle half of the bacon, 1 tablespoon of the chives, and 1 cup of the cheese (in that order) onto the bottom of the baking dish. Add the English muffin cubes on top in one even layer. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the pan, pressing down lightly to make sure all the muffin cubes are moistened. Top with remaining bacon, cheese and chives. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.

Before baking, lower the oven (or set the oven) to 350 degrees. If the dish has been in the refrigerator overnight, let it come to room temperature for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until puffed and cooked through. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Harvest Pear & Ginger Muffins

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Fall is here! It’s time to break out the flannel shirts and SOCKS (always one of my favorite things about the return to colder weather) and more importantly, it’s finally cool enough to get back in the kitchen and turn on the oven.

The first thing I’ll be making are these Harvest Pear & Ginger Muffins. The quintessential fall muffin, they are moist and packed with spices- ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom- along with chunks of pear, golden raisins and crystallized ginger for a little extra zing.

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A great tip I learned from Ina is that adding a generous splash of the right liqueur, or in this case, liquor, can really enhance the flavor in a baked good or dessert. Warming up the pears and raisins in bourbon plumps up the raisins and makes the pears even juicier, and what’s a fall treat without a little bourbon?

Thanks to the Greek yogurt and molasses in the batter, these muffins are incredibly moist, BUT as with any muffin or cake recipe, it’s crucial not to overmix the batter (you’ll end up with tough muffins) or overbake (the muffins will be dry.)  So basically, do less, and you’ll do great!

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Finally, like avocados, pears tend to be rock hard at the grocery store, so find the ripest ones you can, and let them sit on the counter for a day or two if possible. I found that Bartlett pears (red Bartlett pears are beautiful if you can find them) work the best for this recipe, but ripeness is more important than variety here.

Happy Fall!

Harvest Pear & Ginger Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups diced Bartlett pear (2 small)
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 7 oz whole-milk Greek yogurt, such as Fage
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/3 cup minced dried crystallized ginger, plus extra for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place 12 paper liners in a standard muffin pan.
  2. Combine the pears, raisins and bourbon in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, remove from heat and set aside. (Alternatively, combine the pears, raisins and bourbon in a small bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds and set aside.)
  3. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, molasses, honey, egg and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Add the raisins and pears (with the extra liquid), and the crystallized ginger, and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and 1/3 cup crystallized ginger. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix!
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup almost to the top. Sprinkle each muffin with a little crystallized ginger and bake for about 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for five minutes, then remove muffins from the pan. Repeat with remaining muffin batter.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.