breakfastentertainingfoodFood & Drink

Entertaining: Cozy Winter Brunch

by Maxwell Tielman

Two of my favorite things on the planet — even above zombie movies and trashy celebrity gossip — are brunch and staying home. For years, I would divide these activities, alternating between two polar modes: cozy-homebody Max and out-n-about-Sunday-brunch Max. When the temperatures drop in December, though, the scales weigh much more heavily on the stay-home side of my activity spectrum. This is why, on a chilly day last weekend, I decided to combine my two favorite pastimes into an epic made-at-home brunch for me and my friends.

Unlike dinner parties or holiday soirees, brunches are significantly less stressful to host. The early hour sets a calm, sleepy tone, free from the social and sartorial restrictions of a typical event. The kitchen can become the hub for a morning brunch, a place where friends can converse and get in on the cooking action. For this particular brunch, I decided that a bright, airy look would suit the season and the mood wonderfully. I matched charming yet utilitarian elements with some simple decorative garlands and pale-hued flowers for a light, de-cluttered feeling. For all of the recipes, how-tos and photos from our fabulous brunch, continue reading after the jump!

Image above: A buffet set-up on the kitchen table. I laid out a printed linen table runner that I acquired at a craft market in Estonia and a few vintage bottles filled with sprigs of baby’s breath. The white triangle garland was made by folding diamond-shaped pieces of white paper in half and gluing them to a length of twine.

Image above: Our cranberry scones were the surprise hit of the morning! Nobody could get enough of these tasty little treats. Check out the full recipe here!

Image above: I cooked a few links of organic chorizo and chicken sausages on a cast-iron skillet. To serve, I simply moved the skillet over to the buffet table, placing a trivet underneath it. I think it nicely complemented the pared-down look of the brunch!

Image above: I put blackberries in a white enamel bowl from CB2. Rolls were placed in a shallow serving bowl covered in a striped tea towel from West Elm Market.

Image above: Grace made this lovely garland out of baby’s breath for the coffee table. Full instructions at the bottom of the post! It added a nice touch of greenery to our spread of mimosas and Bloody Marys. To make Bloody Marys, we used McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix.

Image above: Our pumpkin pancakes were the main event of the morning! Check out the full recipe here!

Baby’s Breath Garland Instructions


  • baby’s breath (I used three medium-sized bouquets for this length)
  • floral wire
  • scissors



1. Cut baby’s breath into 4-inch length segments (just from the flower head down; you can toss the excess stems).

2. Wire a small section together (2–3 sprigs) with floral wire to start and attach a second bunch to it, layering over the previous bunch’s stems as you go.

3. When you get to the end of your strand, go back and fill in any holes that need extra flowers.

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  • Those Cranberry scones are SO GOOD. There was a long time that I made extra batches and froze them so I could have them on hand whenever we wanted them!!!

  • Wow, I love the idea of holding a brunch get-together with friends. It all looks so delicious, especially those cranberry scones and to continue the gushing, LOVE that garland!

  • How do you time it all? That always gets me. By the time it’s ready to eat I am a frazzled mess.

    • Valerie— I think the key to hosting and enjoying an event like this at the same time is to take the pressure off of yourself. If things aren’t running exactly on time, it’s okay! Have some coffee prepared to serve to guests while you finish cooking. It also helps to have a few extra hands in the kitchen, so ask your friends for help! For this particular brunch, I had Grace and a few friends helping out in the kitchen.

  • Those sausages look amazing! Where on Earth do you find something as amazing as organic chorizo and chicken suasges? I’ll bet they’re expensive, mind. I’m kind of an a limited budget. For me it would be spam and bovril sausages, probably.

  • I have an idea for your next brunch you might like. Breakfast + Lunch + Zombie movies = Zombrunch!

    Not to be mistaken for zoombrunch, that’s an entirely different story.

  • This looks lovely, and so much more appealing (to me!) than the pink sweety fest you had for your Christmas party!

  • Berries seem a strange addition to a *winter* brunch, even here in California. Perhaps dried fruits like apricots (which can be soaked in liqueur for added sweetness or juiciness) would be appropriate.

    Pumpkin pancakes are spot on, however.

  • this is perfectly timed! my birthday is next weekend and i’m hosting a, you guessed it: cozy winter brunch! it’s going to have a vanilla twist though…with recipes from a vanilla cookbook i recently bought. but this post has me inspired for some of the presentation + decor aspects. can’t wait to start putting it all together!

  • This looks amazing

    I really love brunch with friends. Breakfast food is absolutely my favourite of the day – and it’s so nice to have that relaxed, cosy feel to a morning.

    A dinner party, but with tea rather than red wine!

  • As a college student, finding entertainment on a small budget is always a challenge – sometimes part of the fun. Brunch is such a warm, welcoming, wholesome way to engage in each others company. Taking a break from all of the busy activities is always something that is hard to get around.
    I love how seasonal this is. The garland added such a nice touch. It made the brunch seem more thoughtful (by the way you all took the time to decorate) yet casual and not overwhelming. The foods you chose appealed to almost every picky eater, and definitely to the “brunch snobs.” :)