Thanksgiving with a twist

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Savory Apple Cinnamon Bacon Breakfast Cheesecake

Cooking a turkey is a bit like raising children: Despite their lack of direct experience doing it, most folks think they’re experts right off the bat by virtue of it having been done for them when they were growing up.

Whether raising children or cooking turkeys, people tend to fall back on the methods and recipes used by their parents and grandparents. The results — in the case of turkeys, at least — are somewhat predictable, if sometimes not quite as good as those of the previous generation.

We’re not ones to try to come between people and their traditions, so as long those traditions don’t include harming those children or serving the turkey uncooked, so for the most part this year we’ll not step between you and your turkey.

Email newsletter signup

Still, it could be fun to give Thanksgiving a bit of a twist this year, so we’ve searched for some ways to add a little pizzazz to the buffet today.

Thinking of the traditional bird at the center of the day’s food festivities, consider the bookends of breakfast and dessert as excellent places to trim the traditional and step away from the stereotypes. Take a look at the Thanksgiving suggestions that follow, and prepare to cook up a couple of recipes that might just get folks in your household clamoring to add some new pages to the family cookbook by the end of the day.

Martha White isn’t a company known for breaking with tradition, but the company’s Holiday Muffin Mix Challenge this year wound up presenting winners in both breakfast and dessert categories that did just that.

A couple of our favorite entries take Thanksgiving breakfast and inject it with a hint of decadence.

Grand prize winner Teresa C. of Valley Mills, Texas, submitted a recipe for Baked Candied Sweet Potato Pancake that sounds like most of our favorite things about fall piled on top of one another. And for a twist on traditional hearty holiday breakfast, Erin W. of Lincoln, Neb., submitted a recipe for Savory Apple Cinnamon Bacon Breakfast Cheesecake.


Savory Apple Cinnamon Bacon Breakfast Cheesecake


1 (7 oz.) pkg. Martha White Apple Cinnamon Flavored Muffin Mix

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 pound bacon

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

8 ounces (1 cup) ricotta cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line bottom of nine-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Remove three tablespoons muffin mix. Set aside. Combine remaining mix and butter in medium bowl. Mix with fork or fingers until crumbly. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Place on rimmed baking pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool.

2. Cook bacon until crispy, reserving the fat. Cook onion in bacon fat five minutes or until soft. Remove onion with a slotted spoon to drain excess fat. Crumble bacon into small pieces.

3. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer at medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time until smooth. Beat in ricotta, cream, salt, pepper and reserved muffin mix at low speed until well blended. Stir in onion and bacon gently with spatula. Pour over cooled crust. Place on rimmed baking pan.

4. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Do not open oven door. Bake 1 hour longer or until center is set. Cool at least 30 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 10 servings


Baked Candied Sweet Potato Pancake


1/4 cup butter

Baked Candied Sweet Potato Pancakes

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise into rounds

1 (7 oz.) pkg. Martha White Cinnamon Sugar Flavored Muffin Mix

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil

Maple syrup and/or whipped cream, if desired


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter and brown sugar in nine-inch skillet with oven-safe handle over medium-low heat stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with pecans. Arrange sweet potato slices over pecans, overlapping slices slightly.

2. Stir together muffin mix, egg, milk and oil until well blended. Pour evenly over potato slices.

3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully invert pancake onto serving platter. Serve warm with maple syrup and/or whipped cream, if desired.

Note: Canned sweet potatoes may be used in this recipe. Apple Cinnamon flavored muffin mix may be substituted for cinnamon sugar flavored muffin mix.

Makes 6 servings