Christmas breakfast is my favorite breakfast of the entire year. It is joyful, festive, laughter-filled, and of course-delicious. It is a tradition in my family that we all go to my parents’ house for Christmas brunch and to exchange gifts between the “secret” names that were drawn. We usually do pretty well at keeping our recipient in the dark as to who is buying for them each year. For the most part. We aren’t awesome secret-keepers, but we are most excellent breakfast-eaters. My Mom makes an impresssive spread without breaking a sweat. Decades of hosting Sunday lunch for a crowd every week lands you in the elite status of hostessing. Plus, she includes Christmas cookies on her pre-brunch appetizer platter. Yes, she’s that awesome. We have a huge variety of dishes, from breakfast casseroles to homemade waffles made to order, and the pièce de résistance –her own, improved version of an Orange Julius. Someday I will snatch her recipe and share it with you all. For now, it remains Mom’s untouchable signature Christmas morning specialty.
I want a Christmas-worthy breakfast tradition of my own, so Pecan Sticky Buns it is. Pecan Sticky Buns are the ultimate sort of marriage between cinnamon rolls and monkey bread. Truth be told, I was introduced to monkey bread by my darling husband while we were first dating. His family is pretty die-hard about their monkey bread. They looooove it. I like monkey bread, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not in my blood like it is for my husband. I can’t see past the refrigerator biscuits anymore. I’ve seen the light that is from-scratch dough and there’s no going back. I lean more toward cinnamon rolls if given the choice, but I like them best without the icing.That’s where Pecan Sticky Buns come in. Cinnamon and sugar layered between the coils of homemade dough, topped with a brown-sugary caramel-y glaze studded with pecans. If I could sing, I would write a song about them. (Maybe to the tune of Phoebe’s famous tune, Smelly Cat? “Sticky Buns, Sticky Buns, I sure love eating you…”)
Whether you like my song or not, I think you’ll like these sticky buns. Roll them, bake them, flip them, then eat them. The top of the buns are the side toward the bottom of the pan, soaking up all of the sweet, sticky, caramel-y goodness. You’re going to want to lick the pan. It’s Christmas, go for it. Just save room for dessert, and an Orange Julius.
You might wonder why the dough recipe calls for yeast AND baking powder AND baking soda. The purpose of this is to help the dough rise faster and turn out a bit lighter than it would with yeast alone, and it works really well in this instance because it’s also nice not to have several hours of rising time before breakfast. I much preferred this version to my practice batches with yeast only.
Do you have any favorite Christmas morning traditions?