Caramelized bacon garnish:
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 pound bacon
In medium skillet, cook 1/2 pound of bacon, cooked through and just under crisp. Drain on paper towels.
Spread thin layer of cream cheese on one side of each slice of French bread. Place slices in a greased 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer with cooked bacon slices. Top with another layer of the cream cheese and French bread slices. Blend eggs, milk, heavy cream, cinnamon, zest, orange juice, butter and maple syrup until well combined. Pour mixture evenly over bread. Use a spatula to slightly press layers down to moisten. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Put in cold oven straight from refrigerator and bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden brown. Casserole may need to be covered with foil midway through baking process. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with caramelized bacon slices (see below) and oranges. Serve with warm maple syrup.
Caramelized bacon: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking tray with aluminum foil. Place sugar in plastic bag. Add remaining 1/2 pound of bacon to bag and toss to coat with sugar. Transfer bacon to a baking rack set on the aluminum-lined baking tray. Bake bacon until dark golden brown, turning once, about 8 minutes per side. Allow to cool.
Makes 8 servings
-- Smithfield Ham
1 loaf Wonder bread, crusts removed
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (regular or reduced fat), room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 11-by-7-inch baking dish.
Flatten each slice of bread with a rolling pin or with a drinking glass turned on its side. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese. Add the egg yolk and 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat just until combined. Spread the cream-cheese mixture on the side of each slice of bread and roll jellyroll fashion to make blintzes.
Combine the remaining 1 cup sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle on a tray or sheet of waxed paper. Brush the melted butter on the blintzes and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place in the baking dish. Bake for 13 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Blintzes may be served with sour cream, applesauce or fresh berries. They are also good plain. They may be prepared ahead and frozen before baking. When ready to serve, thaw for 30 minutes, then bake as directed.
Yield: 2 to 4 dozen
--Caryn K. Cherpak, Northbrook, Ill., "The Wonder Bread Cookbook"
Breakfast panini with pecans, cheddar and sausage
1 teaspoon butter, plus more for bread
3 green onions, chopped
4 fully cooked breakfast sausages (thawed if frozen), chopped
1/2 cup chopped Georgia pecans
4 large eggs, well beaten
8 thick slices Italian bread
4 ounces yellow cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
In nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, sausages and pecans; saute until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and cook, stirring constantly, until eggs are firm but not dry. Transfer sausage mixture to plate. Heat panini maker or grill pan over medium-high heat. To make four panini, divide sausage mixture into 4 portions. Mound each portion on one slice of bread. Top each with one ounce of cheddar, then a slice of the remaining bread.
Very lightly butter the outside of each panini. Cook in batches in panini maker until both sides of each panini are golden; serve promptly. Or, if using a grill pan or skillet, cook two panini at a time, placing a heavy skillet or heatproof dish on top to weight down panini as they cook. When golden on bottom, turn panini over and grill other side until golden; serve warm. (The dish can also be prepared in standard skillet.)
Yield: 4 servings.
-- Georgia Pecan Commission
Baked plums with yogurt and almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut plums in half and remove pits. Place plums in ovenproof baking pan and sprinkle with sugar. Bake plums for about 7 minutes. Serve warm plums with some of the syrup from pan, yogurt and slivered almonds.
-- "Slurp" (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $16.99)
The Blue Acorn Inn's homemade granola
8 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups sunflower seeds
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups walnuts
2 cups honey
2 cups slivered almonds
8 tablespoons cinnamon
2 cups coconut
1 tablespoon cloves
4 tablespoons nutmeg
2 tablespoons almond extract
Mix dry ingredients. Add oil, honey and extract. Mix everything well. Spread on cookie sheets and bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Yield: 16 to 20 servings.
-- Blue Acorn Inn, Sunapee, N.H.