Spring is blooming on your Easter table. From yellow chick cupcakes to blueberry French-toast casseroles, there are plenty of ways to wow your brunch guests with simple seasonal recipes.
"Between hiding eggs and preparing baskets, you may be tempted to fall back on brunch basics like pancakes and scrambled eggs, but that's no fun," McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter said. "With simple pantry staples - like food color - and a little planning the night before, you can enjoy a fun and tasty holiday brunch."
These simple tips from Vetter can help you transform a boring brunch into a colorful Easter feast.
* Waffle art is a fun way to get kids (and adults) involved during breakfast time. Try tinting the waffle batter orange by using McCormick Color from Nature Food Colors. Cut them into wedges hot out of the iron and pipe green frosting for the stems to create these Carrot-Shaped Waffles.
* Making French toast for a crowd can be a hassle. Instead, make a sweet breakfast casserole the night before to pop in the oven Easter morning. Add fresh, sweet-tart blueberries to celebrate spring.
* Rather than splurging on designer cupcakes, just pipe yellow marshmallow creme on mini cupcakes for a baby chick then decorate with sprinkles for the nose and cut up wafers to look like a hatching egg.
For more recipes and tips, check out McCormick.com and visit McCormick Spice on Facebook and Pinterest.
Baby Chick Cupcakes
Prep time: 30 minutes Servings: 24
1 package (12 ounces) white confectionary coating wafers 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract 1 box (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme 1 teaspoon Sunflower color from McCormick Color from Nature Food Colors 2 tablespoons milk, plus additional (optional) 48 unfrosted mini yellow cupcakes, baked in white paper liners Sprinkles (optional) Additional McCormick Color from Nature Food Colors (optional)
To make broken egg shell pieces: melt coating wafers as directed on package. Spread on large foil-lined baking sheet to 1/4-inch thickness. Refrigerate about 10 minutes, or until firm. Break into small, irregular pieces. Set aside.
In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, beating until well blended after each addition, frequently scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in marshmallow creme until well blended. In small bowl, stir food color into milk until dissolved. Add colored milk to frosting; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in additional milk, as needed, to reach desired consistency.
To decorate cupcakes: spoon frosting into large pastry bag fitted with large round tip. Pipe two dollops of frosting on top of each other to form baby chick. If desired, insert sprinkles into face for eyes and beak. Or tint any remaining frosting with food colors to pipe out eyes and beak.
Place coating wafer pieces around bottom of baby chick to resemble broken egg shell.
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Servings: 6
Nonstick cooking spray 2 cups all-purpose waffle and baking mix 1- 1/3 cups milk 1 egg 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract, divided 1 -1/4 teaspoons Sunflower color from McCormick Color from Nature Food Colors, divided 1 teaspoon Berry color from McCormick Color from Nature Food Colors 1/2 teaspoon Sky Blue color from McCormick Color from Nature Food Colors 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Heat round waffle iron. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix together waffle mix, milk, egg, oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 teaspoon each sunflower and berry colors until blended. Let batter stand 5 minutes to allow color to fully develop.
Pour about 1/3 cup batter onto center of waffle iron. Close lid. Cook about 3 minutes, or until no longer steaming. Carefully remove waffle. Repeat with remaining batter. Cut each waffle into 8 triangles. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, stir sky blue color and remaining sunflower color into cream. Add confectioners' sugar and remaining vanilla; beat with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spoon into re-sealable plastic bag. Cut piece off one bottom corner.
To decorate and serve waffles, place waffle triangles onto serving plates and pipe green colored cream on wide side of each triangle to resemble carrot tops.
Overnight Lemon Blueberry Muffin Casserole
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Servings: 12
Streusel Topping: 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup flour 2 teaspoons McCormick Cinnamon, Ground 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into chunks
Casserole: 6 eggs 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, milk, divided 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, granulated sugar, divided 1 teaspoon McCormick Cinnamon, Ground 1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Nonstick cooking spray 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened 1 tablespoon McCormick Pure Lemon Extract 2 cups blueberries, divided
To make Streusel Topping: In medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cover. Set aside until ready to assemble in the morning.
To make Casserole: In large bowl, mix together eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon with wire whisk until well blended. Add bread cubes; toss gently to coat. Pour evenly into 13-by-9-inch baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
In medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, remaining milk and sugar, and lemon extract until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup blueberries. Spread evenly on top of bread cubes. Top with remaining blueberries. Cover. Refrigerate overnight.
Heat oven to 350 F.
Remove casserole from refrigerator. Let stand 10-15 minutes.
Cut butter into Streusel Topping mixture with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.