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Blueberry Bacon Brunch Bake

Winter is far from over and even though I'd rather be gardening, I can still appreciate the beauty of a fresh snowfall. Every season has something wonderful to offer - even winter. A Sunday snow is special, and it inspires me to put together something warm and cozy for brunch. This casserole blends the sweet-tart comfort of blueberry pancakes with the salty-savory crunch of bacon. It's not a light offering, so "later on" you might want to "conspire" to go for a walk through the "wintry fairyland!"

This dish was inspired by a Betty Crocker.com recipe, but, as usual, I tweaked it here and there. Although there isn’t a huge difference in the fat and sodium content in the heart healthy baking mix compared to the original, however, I do use the lighter version as it doesn’t contain saturated fats and is slightly lower in sodium. 

I often cook an entire pound of bacon at a time, use what I need for the recipe and freeze the rest in a labeled freezer container with a tight fitting lid. It comes in handy, especially on a weeknight, when just a little bacon is needed for, say, a salad or pan roasted Brussel sprouts . . .

Ingredients:

Topping:
½ cup cold butter, cut into chunks
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Batter:
2½ cups baking mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest.
2 large eggs
1½ cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup melted butter
½ pound bacon, cooked crisp, drained on paper towels and crumbled coarsely.
Powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13x9-inch glass baking dish.

In a medium mixing bowl, with a fork or pastry blender, combine streusel ingredients until it forms coarse crumbs (you want some big and some small). Cover and place in refrigerator.

In a large mixing bowl, combine baking mix, baking powder, brown sugar and cinnamon. In a small bowl toss blueberries and lemon zest with a tablespoon or two of the dry mixture. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs, then whisk in milk and vanilla. Fold milk mixture into dry mixture. Stir in melted butter. Gently fold in blueberries. Do not overmix. A few lumps are desirable.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Evenly arrange bacon crumbles overtop; follow with streusel.

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven; dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares and serve warm.

If desired, serve with maple syrup or blueberry jam. For a summery look, garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, fresh blueberries, mint leaves and slivers of lemon peel.

 Waiting on a light dusting of powdered sugar

Waiting on a light dusting of powdered sugar

 Be sure to make a pot of fresh coffee!

Be sure to make a pot of fresh coffee!

 Be sure to go exploring!

Be sure to go exploring!

 

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