Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Breakfast Blues

I have a child whose day is highly affected by breakfast. 

Each morning as children awake and come skipping, hopping, dragging, and dropping into the kitchen a debriefing of what Molly calls "The Breakfast Options" takes place. If the options are the same for more than say, three consecutive mornings, my special breakfast child is a teensy bit offended. 

Sigh..."Uh Mom, is there ANYTHING ELSE? We've had [cereal, yogurt, oatmeal] for the last forever."

Because I've been at this mom thing for a year or two, I know better than to attempt a first-thing-in-the-morning speech about how this child should be thankful that there is any breakfast at ALL and that hundreds of thousands of kids around the world and even in our own country, state, and city do not even eat breakfast DAILY. Such a speech at such an hour of the day will go unheard and only serve to deepen the grumpy within.

Knowing that I have a child with highly sensitive breakfast standards sends me frequently to my library's well-stocked cookbook shelves searching for new and exciting breakfast choices. Muffins are always a favorite, unless the recipe makes too many muffins thus causing the dreaded breakfast boredom. 

The classic eggy breakfast casserole is also a favorite, but rarely do I think ahead far enough to make that work on a regular basis. The ultimate way to begin the day is with The Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls but they do take a bit of doing so they only appear in limited batches.   

That leaves quick breads and baked oatmeals and breakfast cookies, all very acceptable for breakfasting and always a super way to add variety into the lives of the humdrum breakfasters who reside in my home and share my last name.

Our very favorite breakfast bread is an odd loaf whose recipe I discovered in a set of recipe cards that I received in the mail. It's cake-y and has a crumbly top and a rich yellow crumb, and with hot cup of coffee or some orange juice, our Vineyard Breakfast Bread is a winner.

Vineyard Breakfast Bread
{Printable Recipe HERE}

Here's what you'll need:

1 stick of butter or margarine softened
2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon (or more if you like) almond extract (vanilla will do if you are not an almond fan)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of cornmeal 
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl add butter and confectioners sugar. 

Mix well. Add eggs one at a time, scraping mixer bowl after each addition. 

Add almond extract if you can get your kitchen staff to part with it...

In a separate bowl. Whisk together corn meal and flour and baking powder.

 Add the dry ingredients about 3/4 cup at a time to the batter and mix well scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl often.

Place batter (it will be thick) in the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. 

At the end of 50 minutes, turn off the oven and let the loaf remain inside for at least an hour. I usually turn off the oven and go to bed and pull the loaf from the cool oven the next morning. 

When ready to eat, remove from the loaf pan and cut with a serrated knife (a knife with teeth). The top of the bread will be super crispy and a little glossy and as such will crumble as you cut it. 

Don't fight the crumble, simply eat it yourself before your family gets into the kitchen! Bakers prerogative! AND if you happen to notice a slightly darker color in the center of the slices as you reach mid loaf, consider yourself a master...that is treasure, just a hint of moistness that really is the very best part of the bread.

Be sure to serve with a steamy cup of tea or coffee and then sit back and bask in the glow of your breakfast loving kid who is as generous with breakfast praise as with breakfast blues!

The last time I made Vineyard Breakfast bread, two of the kids commented before going to bed that it had been such a long time since I'd made breakfast bread and that they could not wait until morning to eat it. Early the next morning I was awakened by the sound of the oven door opening and closing. One of the kids, up early was making the first run at breakfast, later that day another Wright kid posted this picture on Instagram...

Sooooo if you know someone who loves food, consider starting their day with this part breakfast-part dessert every now and then. They'll thank you for it and they might even take a picture before hiding it from you! 

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