This year, February 14 falls not only in the middle of the week, but it falls on Ash Wednesday, so why not have the family over for brunch on the weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Before enjoying a romantic dinner with your husband or wife, plan a love-themed brunch for your true sweethearts – your children and grandchildren. There are plenty of Valentine brunch dishes to choose from, like Sweet Berry Bruschetta, Mini Cracked Egg Pizza, Baked Apple Raisin Panettone, Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Hearts, Valentine’s Day Egg in a Basket, Raspberry-Lemon Muffins, Baked Eggs with Pancetta and Parmigiano, Lemon Cheesecake Pancakes, Two-Minute French Toast in a Cup or Heart-Shaped Mini Muffins. We could not provide recipes for all, so below are a few of our favorites.
Just a tip – not Italian – but Pillsbury makes great heart-shaped cinnamon rolls for working mothers who don’t have time for a fancy brunch but still want to spread the love on Valentine’s Day.
Create a festive atmosphere with fun Valentine decorations, like red votive candles, heart themed runners, placemats and napkins or a glass canister filled with red candies or sweethearts for the kids. You can purchase any of these goods and store them away to use year after year. If you are feeling a bit whimsy, arrange your silverware to spell out the word LOVE on the dining room table. It is a nice and inexpensive way to surprise your family.
Baked Apple Raisin Panettone
1 Panettone, cubed
8 oz. Mascarpone, diced
1 cup diced peeled apples
2 ½ cups of Half-and-Half
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
Even though Panettone is most abundantly found during the Christmas season, the popularity of this delicious bread has increased to the point that you can find it in stores often through Easter. For those who haven’t enjoyed Panettone since ‘Little Christmas’ head to a specialty store and enjoy some for Valentine’s Day Brunch. Coat a 9” x 13” baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange half of the cubed panettone in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the Mascarpone evenly and top with the apples. If you like extra raisins, now is the time to add them. Top with the remaining panettone.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the Half and Half, butter and maple syrup. Pour over the panettone. Cover with plastic wrap and press down to ensure that all of the Panettone pieces are soaked. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325° F and bake for 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Mini Cracked Egg Pizza
1 lb dough (makes 4 mini pizzas)
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
2 cups diced ham
4 handfuls fresh spinach
2 cups shredded mozzarella
flour, for dusting
Before you begin, make sure your dough is at room temperature. Preheat oven to 450°F. Rub olive oil on baking sheet and dust with flour.
For the heart, take your time and shape it by hand, or you can buy use heart mold. Remember, they are mini pizzas, but make sure you have enough room for the egg white to travel once placed on top. After making the heart shape, pre-cook dough for 5 minutes to set the shape.
Crack eggs into a small bowl, one at a time, before it goes on the pizza. Be sure to use a small bowl so when you pour the egg on the pizza it stays intact. Then add the toppings on the dough (1/4 of each topping for each pizza). Bake until dough is crispy and eggs are cooked through.
unsalted butter for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 12 standard muffin cups or line with paper liners. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. With an electric mixer, combine the eggs and milk and beat on low speed just until blended. Add the oil, brown sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract and beat just until blended. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until moistened. Do not overmix. Fold in the raspberries with a rubber spatula.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes if using fresh raspberries or 25 to 30 minutes if using frozen. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto the rack. Serve warm.
Baked Eggs with Pancetta and Parmigiano
3 slices of pancetta, cut in small pieces and fried on a pan
2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
diced chives, for garnish
pinch of salt and pepper
Heat oven to 425°F. Separate whites from yolks. Place whites in a bowl and whip until fluffy. Place yolks in two separate cups on the side. Add cheese and pancetta to beaten egg whites, mix it and place two equal portions on a baking paper. Bake for 3 minutes and then place yolk on each of them and bake for another 3 minutes. When ready, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chives.
Lemon Cheesecake Pancakes
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, beaten
5 tsp all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp white sugar
2 tsp butter, melted and divided
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1 tsp lemon juice
½ lemon, cut into wedges
Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Blend in the eggs. Stir in the flour, sugar and 1 teaspoon of melted butter to make a batter. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon of butter in a heavy frying pan over a medium flame. Drop the batter onto the griddle in silver dollar-sized dollops; cook until lightly golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the pancakes over and cook an additional 2 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve with lemon wedges.
Chocolate Breakfast Bread
For the dough
1 cup whole milk
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for bowl
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surface
2 ¼ tsp (one 1/4-ounce envelope) active dry yeast
3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
For the filling
1/3 cup light-brown sugar
1 cup golden raisins
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Bring milk almost to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in butter, granulated sugar, vanilla and salt. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until lukewarm, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups flour and the yeast and beat with a mixer on low speed. Beat in eggs and egg yolk, one at a time. Beat in remaining 3 cups flour, ½ cup at a time. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour). Punch down the dough and knead a few times. Let rest for 10 minutes. Roll out into a 14” by 22” rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
Mix together the brown sugar, raisins and chocolate. Brush butter on dough and sprinkle filling on top, leaving a 1” border. Starting from a long side, roll up dough; cut crosswise into 12 slices. Place 6 slices flush against the side of a buttered 10” tube pan. Place remaining 6 slices, cut sides together around tube of pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Unmold and let cool completely on rack for an hour. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.