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New Spins On Breakfast Classics

Any nutritionist, and lots of moms, will gladly tell you breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And winter is a great time to enjoy warm, hardy, cozy breakfasts.

In The Early Show's "Five-Minute Cooking School" Thursday, cookbook author and cooking teacher Tori Ritchie served up her versions of some wonderful classics.

Ritchie offered the lesson at the flagship store in Manhattan of specialty home furnishings retailer and Early Show partner Williams-Sonoma.

Waffled French Toast with Flavored Butters
Bacon and Cheddar Omelette
Apple Pancakes

Waffled French Toast with Flavored Butters

This recipe puts a creative spin on French toast by cooking the slices of brioche in a waffle maker. Children can help with several steps of the preparation. They can whisk the eggs and other ingredients together, then dip the bread into the egg mixture. Under adult supervision, they can help cook the French toast in the waffle maker.

Nonstick cooking spray or melted unsalted butter for cooking
6 eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
8 slices brioche, each 1 1/4 inches thick
Flavored butters for serving

Preheat a waffle maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Spray the surface with nonstick cooking spray or brush with melted butter.

In a bowl, using a handheld whisk, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar and whisk until blended.

Dip 1 bread slice into the egg mixture and soak, turning once, 30 seconds per side. Place the bread on the preheated waffle maker, close the lid and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Keep warm while cooking the remaining bread.

Serve the French toast warm with flavored butters.

Serves 4.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Flavored Butters

Easy to prepare, these fruit-flavored butters are delicious with our Waffled French Toast. Or serve them atop pancakes, toasted bagels or English muffins.

For the orange butter:
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. confectioners' sugar
2 Tbs. orange marmalade
Zest of 1 orange

For the strawberry butter:
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. confectioners' sugar
2 Tbs. strawberry jam

For the mixed berry butter:
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. confectioners' sugar
2 Tbs. mixed berry preserves

To prepare each type of flavored butter: In a bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until combined, about 1 minute.

Transfer the flavored butter to a butter dish or small bowl and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes about 1/2 cup.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

For Ritchie's recipes for Apple Pancakes and for a Bacon and Cheddar Omelette, go to Page 2.

Apple Pancakes

Flavored with warm spices, these apple pancakes are ideal for an autumn or winter brunch. Grated apple is blended into the batter, then a thin apple slice is cooked inside each pancake. Serve with warm maple syrup, if desired.

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups plus 2 Tbs. buttermilk
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 peeled Granny Smith apples, 1 cored and finely grated, 1 thinly sliced on a mandoline

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until frothy. Add the flour, the 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, buttermilk, butter and vanilla. Stir just until smooth and no lumps of flour remain; do not overmix. Add the grated apple and stir just until combined.

Heat a griddle over medium-high heat until a few drops of water flicked onto the surface skitter across it. Lightly spray the griddle with nonstick cooking spray.

For each pancake, sprinkle 1/2 tsp. sugar on 1 apple slice and place on the griddle. Using a batter dispenser, dispense about 1/3 cup of the batter on top of the apple slice. Cook until bubbles form on top and the batter is set, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Keep warm until all the pancakes are cooked. Makes about 12 pancakes.

Serves 4.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Bacon and Cheddar Omelette for Six

This generously-sized omelette is designed to feed a crowd. Keep in mind that a large omelette will take longer to cook than a standard-size one. To prevent the eggs from over-browning, stir them continuously with a silicone spatula until they resemble a soft, loose scramble. Shake the pan so the eggs cover the bottom evenly, then place the filling on half of the eggs. Remove the pan from the heat and slide the filled side of the omelette onto a platter, using the pan to help fold the unfilled side onto the filled side.

12 eggs
1/3 cup water
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 or 2 pinches of salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
8 oz. bacon, cooked until crispy and roughly chopped

In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and water until blended. Set aside.

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter. Add the green onions and sauté until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

In the same pan, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter and swirl in the pan until it foams. When the foam subsides, add the eggs and season with salt. Using a spatula, quickly and lightly stir the eggs in a small circular motion until most of the liquid has cooked off but the eggs are not completely solidified, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese, bacon and green onions across half of the omelette.

Holding the handle of the pan in one hand and a serving platter in the other hand, tip the pan forward, toward the platter. Slide the filled half of the omelette onto the platter, then invert the pan to fold the omelette in half. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

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