Hosting A Casual Make Ahead Brunch

Compensation for this post was provided by Cobblestone Bread Co. via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Cobblestone Bread Co. or AOL.

Having friends and family over for brunch is a great way to host an impressive get-together without all the stress of preparing and serving a complete dinner.

Easy Ideas For Hosting A Casual Brunch

With our easy menu, you can get nearly everything ready the night before and let your guests put their own finishing touches on a variety of delicious toasted bagels and English muffins from Cobblestone Bread Co.

The Menu

Our brunch menu includes three key elements:

  • A Build-Your-Own Bagel Buffet
  • DIY Fruit Pizzas on Toasted English Muffins
  • A Make-Ahead English Muffin Breakfast Strata

Choosing CBC's bagels and English muffins makes planning a great-looking spread for your guests really easy. All five varieties are readily available in the fresh bread section of your local supermarket and for convenience, they come pre-sliced.

Cobblestone Bread Co.'s current breakfast lineup includes:

  • Original Bagels
  • 100% Whole Wheat Bagels
  • Cinnamon-Raisin Bagels
  • Original English Muffins
  • Wheat English Muffins
Hosting Brunch Bagel Buffet

Planning Your Brunch

You'll want to offer a variety of bagel and English muffin flavors, and if you plan for your brunch to last several hours, figure on a minimum of one bagel and one English muffin per person.

CBC's products toast up light and crispy, and most people will be able to eat more than one, which is great because then your guests get an opportunity to sample each and every one of your fabulous toppings and homemade spreads.

Host A Brunch Bagel Buffet Toppings

Build-Your-Own Bagel Buffet

With a wide assortment of bagels, flavored spreads and classic toppings, there's something for every taste in this simple yet incredibly satisfying brunch buffet.

The Toppings

  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Bacon (fully cooked strips)
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Baby Spinach
  • Capers
  • Sprouts
  • Apples
Host A Brunch Bagel Spreads

Homemade Bagel Spreads

To make each spread, start with 6 ounces of softened cream cheese. Use either regular or reduced fat (Neufchâtel), but we don't recommend fat-free because the flavors don't blend as nicely.

Combine with the added flavoring ingredients and mix until smooth. Transfer to jars or small serving bowls and refrigerate for at least 4 hours prior to serving to allow the flavors to develop.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Chive
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
Lemon Dill
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
Spiced Apple
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons apple butter (store bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Host A Brunch Make Your Own Bagel Buffet

Putting It All Together

  1. Prep all of your cold bagel toppings in advance and arrange them on a platter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until about 20 minutes before you're ready to serve.
  2. If you're using apple slices, toss them in a little bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.
  3. Whisk the eggs and cream for the scrambled eggs together in a large bowl and refrigerate the mixture until your guests have arrived.
  4. Take the cream cheese spreads out of the refrigerator an hour in advance so they'll be easy to spread.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°F about 30 minutes before serving. Wrap the bacon in foil and put it in to warm.
  6. Start toasting the bagels in batches about 15 minutes before serving. We recommend you toast them lightly – just enough to crisp the outside without browning.
  7. Scrambled eggs only take a few minutes, so plan to cook them at the last minute.

DIY Fruit “Pizzas” On Toasted English Muffins

These tasty, do-it-yourself fruit “pizzas” make a healthy alternative to store-bought pastries as well as a nice contrast to the savory elements of your brunch menu. They're made with CBC's Original English Muffins, lightly-toasted and topped with a sweet lemon spread and a variety of fresh seasonal fruit.

The Fruit

  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries

Sweet Lemon Spread

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 4 ounces Greek lemon yogurt

To make the spread, combine the cream cheese, lemon zest and yogurt and mix until smooth. Transfer to a jar or small serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours prior to serving to allow the flavors to develop.

Host A Brunch Fruit Topped Bagels

Putting It All Together

  1. Prep all of your fruits in advance and arrange them on a serving platter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it's time to serve.
  2. If you're using peaches, toss them in a little bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.
  3. Take your sweet lemon spread out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes in advance for easier spreading.
  4. Toast your CBC English muffins on a medium setting and watch them carefully. You want them crisp all the way through but not browned.
Host A Brunch Breakfast Strata

Make-Ahead Bacon & Leek Breakfast Strata

Perfect for a brunch or a light dinner, strata is a make-ahead, baked egg casserole very similar to a savory bread pudding. Flavored with crumbled bacon, sautéed leeks and Gruyère cheese, our version is made with wheat English muffins instead of bread. We find the airy texture of the muffins gives the finished dish a lighter quality.

Click here to get the recipe.

Hosting A Casual Make Ahead Brunch Drinks

What To Drink

Every good party needs a nice selection of beverages and brunch is no exception. You'll want to offer conventional breakfast-time options like freshly brewed coffee, tea, orange juice, tomato juice and milk, but we have some suggestions for something a little more spirited as well. After all, what's brunch without a mimosa? We even have some ideas for craft beers to enjoy alongside your brunch!

Here are some suggestions:

  • Blood Orange Mimosas
  • Classic Bloody Marys
  • Stone Smoked Porter
  • Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat

That's everything you need to host a fabulous brunch your friends will love without toiling all morning in the kitchen. Relax, grab a drink and enjoy your company – all that's left to do are the dishes!