Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Brunch Bunch

Instead of throwing a lavish holiday buffet for the usual crowd this year, I talked with Phoenix and decided to host a simple Sunday brunch for her and Mr. Nice Guy. After all, they've enjoyed brunch with me before, and though I often share muffins and scones with them at work, they haven't yet had the chance to try many of my favorite breakfast foods.

In keeping the menu simple, I stuck to just two recipes: confetti pancakes, a nice substitute for latkes, and my favorite date-pecan coffee cake. I especially like the coffee cake -- and Phoenix was especially eager to try it -- because it's vegan, yet uses no soy ingredients and still turns out moist, light, and incredibly delicious.

It takes time to make, though, so I pulled it all together yesterday afternoon, step by step. First, I simmered some dates from my Wonderful Parents, then mashed them together with spiced pecans for the filling. Next, I whipped up an easy streusel with more pecans, flour, maple sugar, spices, and just a drizzling of oil. Finally, I mixed the cake, which uses baking powder, baking soda, and just a splash of vinegar to give it its leavening power.

Layered together -- cake, filling, cake, streusel -- this recipe rises into a glorious, spicy, nutty, satisfying addition to the breakfast table (or your dessert plate!).

Added to those two dishes were the freshly squeezed orange juice (nine oranges! which then turned into this year's candied orange peel) and a pot of hearty Scottish breakfast tea, so I think it's fair to say that we had a well-balanced and fairly healthy meal that tasted wonderfully decadent.

Certainly my guests were satisfied and thankful for the meal since they offered to do the dishes for me! (You see why they get invited so often.)

So much good food, so much less fuss, so much more relaxed conversation with friends.

Yes, I think the Brunch Bunch will meet again in the coming year!

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