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Patty Pinner is the author of Sweety Pies: A Collection of Soul Food Desserts and Memories, which was selected as one of the best cookbooks of the year by the New York Times and called “a sliver of fancy cake with a soulful memory” by the Washington Post. She is also the author of Sweety Pies: An Uncommon Collection of Womanish Observations, with Pie. Patty lives in Saginaw, Michigan.

SWEET MORNINGS collects more than 100 sweet and savory options for breakfast and brunch. From donuts to crumb cakes to sweet rolls, these are the kind of treats that evoke feelings of warmth and comfort like only good, old-fashioned breakfast food can.

Author Patty Pinner has been collecting breakfast recipes for as long as she can remember. She comes from a long line of breakfast bakers, and many of the recipes in this book have been passed down from the “Greats”—great-grannies and -aunties—as well as cousins and other influential women in Pinner’s life. To pore through these recipes, and then to bake them at home, evokes in Pinner memories of the many women who created them. Pinner includes charming, often humorous stories about her life and family throughout the cookbook.

With generations-old recipes that range from the familiar (Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes) to the fun (Pineapple Upside Down Biscuits), SWEET MORNINGS is a reliable, well-tested, and delicious addition to any kitchen. These recipes are ideal for slow weekend mornings and afternoons when you want to lure family and friends to the table with the intoxicating aroma of a homemade sweet treat baking in the oven.

As the author’s mother used to say, the only thing that differentiates breakfast from dinner is the time of day. Where does it say you can’t have a little sugar in the morning?

Applesauce Spice Loaf

Makes 1 9-inch x 5-inch x 3-inch loaf
About 12 servings

Applesauce Spice Loaf 4

My father’s father, Jack Pinner, was an entertaining, talkative man. He was the kind of man who had so many life stories that he could transition from one story to another without pausing.

Grandpa Jack also used the freedom of speech that’s afforded to old people as justification for speaking his mind. Grandpa Jack, who was divorced from Daddy’s mother, Mary Lee, came to live with my parents for the last stretch of his life. By that time, he’d spent most of his savings on the things old men spend their money on—thick slabs of delicatessen cheese and bologna, fishing tackle and hunting gear, and younger women. Once, we were sitting down to a late breakfast, and Mama had baked one of her tasty applesauce loaves. Grandpa Jack turned to Daddy and said, in front of everybody, “Son, your wife might be a little on the uppity side, but she sure can make a tasty loaf.” Everybody got a chuckle out of it—even Mama, who chose to focus on the compliment rather than the snide remark.

The way I remember it, Grandpa loved Mama’s Applesauce Spice Loaf better than any of her other sweet loaves. It has a comforting, old-fashioned, downhome flavor that no doubt reminded him of the treats that he’d grown up with.

This loaf calls for simple pantry ingredients that you probably already have on hand. I love it when simple things come together to produce something delicious.


  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 whole large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider (not sparkling)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts


To make the topping: In a small mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon and stir well. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch x 5-inch x 3-inch loaf pan with the cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment and dust the sides and bottom of the pan with some flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside.

To make the batter: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and allspice. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the applesauce, butter, granulated and brown sugars, egg, egg yolk, apple cider, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth. Gently stir the flour mixture into the applesauce mixture ⅓ at a time until just combined. Fold the nuts into the batter until well distributed.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Evenly sprinkle the batter with the topping and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Turn out the loaf onto the wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Transfer to a serving platter, slice, and serve at room temperature.


Aunt Bulah’s Brown Sugar–Hazelnut Biscuits

Makes 10 biscuits

Aunt Bulahs Hazelnut Biscuits 2

Aunt Bulah, my grandmother’s enterprising younger sister, owned and operated a popular community grocery store in New Orleans. She always made me feel as though I was the most special person in the world. Once, when Mama and I went to visit her, Aunt Bulah took me to the home of a local dressmaker, Miss Beatrice, as she had commissioned her to design and sew four Sunday dresses for me. I was seven years old, and the thought of wearing pretty dresses designed especially for me made me feel like a movie star. In my mind, Miss Beatrice was the famous Hollywood dressmaker Edith Head and I was the beautiful actress Dorothy Dandridge. Aunt Bulah told me, “Girls need lots of lovely dresses.”

Today, when I go into a dress shop, I often get carried away and walk out feeling guilty because I’ve exceeded my budget. But Aunt Bulah’s words always come rushing back to me—“Girls need lots of lovely dresses”—and then I don’t feel so bad.

  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup dark corn syrup
  • 1½ cups coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 (10-count) tube refrigerated biscuit dough, separated

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with the cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup and cook until the butter has melted. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a soft boil. Cook, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the hazelnuts.

Pour the hazelnut mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly in the dish. Arrange each round of biscuit dough on top of the hazelnut mixture.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and puffy and the hazelnut syrup is bubbling. Remove from the oven.

Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from SWEET MORNINGS: 125 Sweet and Savory Breakfast and Brunch Recipes by Patty Pinner. (Agate Midway; March 2016; $27.50/hardcover; ISBN: 978-1572841864).  www.agatepublishing.com

Contact: Jacqueline Jarik