Nutcracker Brunch


KSL Studio 5 

Nutcracker Themed Holiday Brunch
by Lori Nawyn





Inspiration: My daughter, Maggie, is a concert pianist who has been working to help save an historic northern Utah ballroom--the Christensen Academy of Music and Dancing--built by the family of Willam Christensen in 1903. The founder of Ballet West, Willam was instrumental in bringing the Nutcracker Ballet to America. To help my daughter draw attention to the dance academy, last year I drew a large scale proscenium with a scene and characters from the ballet.

In thinking toward the celebrating the holidays this year, I wanted a themed brunch that would be easy and fun. I decided on the Nutcracker theme because the story of Willam, his family, and their vital contributions to dance in America have become very dear to my heart. In addition, December 2013 marks the 110th anniversary of the opening of the dance academy. (Please see the video at the bottom of this page, which was filmed at the academy in June of this year. Many thanks to the incredible Alex Boye!)


Creating visuals for the brunch--cupcake toppers, decor, place cards, etc.--I used many of the characters and graphics I designed and illustrated for the scene (now on display) at the academy building in Brigham City. Since cooking is an activity best shared with those we love, I asked my daughter to help me come up with a menu for the brunch. Many of the items on the menu can be prepared with simple ingredients already on hand, and or with favorite family recipes. We used a cake pop baker for many of them items, however, if you don't have one on hand, mini baking cups work just as well. 

This brunch would be a lovely tradition to start in your family--a delightful meal before you attend a Nutcracker matinee, a special occasion for children and grandchildren, a birthday party for a young daughter with a December birthday with the guests all dressed as ballerinas.

However you choose to use the menu and printables I hope you have fun!

Much love,

~Lori
*Full details follow the menu; the Nutcracker printables mentioned on Studio 5 are available on the free printables tab on this site.


Nutcracker brunch menu

Flowered Fruit Skewers with Maraschino Orange Sauce

Princely Parfaits

Mini-Angel Quiches

Quick Christmas Breakfast Bake

Snowflake French Toast with Maple Syrup

Chocolate Waffles with Peppermint Ice Cream

Gingerbread Pancake Pops

Nut Muffins

Soldier's Cornpone Smokies

Ballerina Cake

Chocolate Mice

Crown Cookies

Tea Scones

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Strawberry Milk

Hot Cocoa

Cranberry Juice


Flowered Fruit Skewers with Maraschino Orange Sauce 
From Peachy: A Harvest of Fruity Goodness by Lori Nawyn, Familius, September 2013

Cut melons with small flower cookie cutters and place on skewers. Baste with sauce.

Princely Parfaits

Layer yogurt, granola, and berries in plastic parfait cups.

Mini-Angel Quiches

Prepare your favorite quiche recipe and divide into baking cups.
Garnish each finished quiche with two round crackers to represent angel wings.


Quick Christmas Breakfast Bake 
From the forthcoming book Simple Things by Lori Nawyn, Covenant Communications, January 2014

1 medium white onion, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 eggs
1 ½ cups half and half
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound bacon, cooked and drained

Preheat oven to 350.

Sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms until tender.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, half and half, and pepper. Stir sautéed onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir in hash browns and cheeses. Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate overnight.      

Spray muffin tins with a good coating of nonstick spray. Divide mixture into each  tin (approximately 18). Bake 18-20 minutes or until set. When partially cooled, remove mini quiches from tins and wrap each with a slice of bacon secured by a toothpick. 



Snowflake French Toast with Maple Syrup
Cut snowflake shapes from slices of white or Italian bread or Texas toast. Prepare as usual using your favorite French toast recipe. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet, turning once, until done. Serve with maple syrup.

Chocolate Waffles with Peppermint Ice Cream

Use your favorite chocolate waffle recipe, or locate one on the Internet. We used the Hershey recipe online. Top hot waffles with chocolate syrup, peppermint ice cream, whipped cream, and crushed candy cane.





Gingerbread Pancake Pops
(As shown between Clara and the Nutcracker in the photo near the top of the page)

Use your favorite gingerbread pancake recipe and bake in a cake pop maker. Serve on lollipop sticks or halved paper straws. Dip in honey, syrup, powdered sugar, sugar and cinnamon, jam or jelly, applesauce, or yogurt.

Nut Muffins

Use your favorite nut muffin recipe to make mini muffins. Serve with honey or jams and jellies.

Soldier's Cornpone Smokies

Prepare cornbread or corn muffin mix. Using a cake pop maker, fill each hole under 1/2 full. Insert 1/2 of a 'Lil Smokie. Bake until done. Serve with honey or barbeque sauce.


Ballerina Cake

Use a white cake; mix and bake per package directions. Top with white frosting and shredded coconut. We bought a small tutu at the dollar store to attach to the cake stand. If desired, bake matching cupcakes and or mini cupcakes.


Chocolate Mice

Bake a chocolate cake mix in a cake pop maker: insert one maraschino cherry in each cake pop cup, and fill half full with cake batter. Cool mice. Attach almond ears and white chocolate chip noses. We used melted dark chocolate for the "glue" to attach the noses. If you don't have maraschino cherries on hand, make mice and insert a short length of licorice as a tail.



Crown Cookies

Use a crown cookie cutter to make your favorite sugar cookies. Decorate.

Tea Scones

Buy small scones at your local grocery or specialty store.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Buy prepared cinnamon coffee cake from your local grocer or specialty store. If desired cut into shapes (heart, tree, angel, etc.) with cookie cutters

Strawberry Milk

Hot Cocoa

Cranberry Juice