Who doesn't love a breakfast sandwich—especially when you can customize your own? We're celebrating the bacon, egg, and cheese and highlighting the easiest way to host a stress-free brunch with our partner Panera Bread.
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve got a track record of being pretty over-ambitious when it comes to hosting. Over the years this has led to some culinary wins—butterflied, stuffed pork loin wrapped in prosciutto that I somehow cut and tied right on the first try; a Milk Bar-style confetti cake, complete with cake truffles, for a 40th birthday party. Some spectacular failures come to mind, too: There was the Christmas Eve I lit the oven on fire (don't ask!), and countless other dinner parties where I spent the majority of the evening sweating and fretting in the kitchen instead of just hanging out, eating, and having fun.
Over the years, I’ve made a conscious effort to become a more chill host—to spend less time cooking and more time enjoying my own parties. For this reason, I've come to love hosting crowd-pleasing, make-ahead brunches over any other meal.
My favorite brunch trick of late is setting out a huge spread of eggs, breakfast meats, breads, toppings, and sauces so my guests can make their own breakfast sandwiches. Why? Most elements of the spread are make-ahead except for a few simple things you can throw in the oven before guests arrive, there's ample opportunity to satisfy my over-ambitious itch, and if I want to take the easy way out, I can always just buy everything at the grocery store, put it all in cute bowls, and call it a day.
Best of all, my guests get to be as creative as I do when they make up their plate. By setting out an array of things that all go together well, whatever combo they come up with will be delicious. And if someone wants to keep it simple, they can. (I don’t want to hold anyone hostage to my idea of an impressive meal; maybe you just want a classic BEC!).
Should you want to host your own breakfast sandwich party, here are some tips for execution:
The sky is truly the limit. I usually think about the offerings in terms of egg + cheese + meat + vegetables + flavor + sauce + bread. Choose 1-3 options for each of those categories, and there are countless combos guests can make. If you want to go the extra mile, add sides like fruit salad or hash browns. Some suggestions:
You can cook pretty much everything on sheet pans in the oven for less mess and more even cooking. Specific tips below!
You're hopefully already batch-cooking your eggs, but you can do the same thing with all sorts of stuff, from your sauces to your drinks.
Want to keep those brunch vibes running through the work week? Our partner Panera Bread loves customizing breakfast sandwiches just as much as we do—in fact, they've got several options you can pick and choose from on their menu. The latest is an elevated take on the classic bacon, egg, and cheese made with freshly baked brioche, thick-cut bacon, Vermont white cheddar, and an over easy egg.
Do you have any brunch tricks of your own? Share them in the comments!