First, We Brunch by Rebecca Wellman

Anthony Bourdain said something to the effect that society will always have a need for brunch and if things took a wrong turn in his career, he could go back to a brunch gig. People love brunch. Why? Because there is something for everyone. We can have our choice of a sweet or savory entree (or both!). Brunch can be breakfast fare or more hearty choices such as fried chicken or steak. I also think that the fact that it is encouraged (and acceptable) to have an alcoholic beverage at 10:30 am on a Sunday morning may play a factor here as well.

First, we Brunch cookbook coverFirst, We Brunch: Recipes and Stories from Victoria's Best-Loved Breakfast Joints by Rebecca Wellman is a beautiful book devoted to brunch. Paging through the title you will find lovely photographs of food, people and the restaurants featured as well as profiles of same.

I knew I would love this book for many reasons: It's not only brunch recipes but restaurant brunch recipes with the bonus of those restaurants being in Canada. But what I loved from the first crack of the spine was the epigraph that reads, "I'm a simple woman. I like handsome, bearded men and breakfast food," So do I, Rebeccca, so do I.

First, We Brunch shares recipes that range from a mountain of Honey-orange waffles with candied pecans from Hide + Seek Coffee;  Zambri's Spaghetti e aglio olio peperoncino with fried egg; to Pulled pork pancakes from the Jam Cafe. And let us not forget, the libations such as Olo's Wake up in the dark or Vis á Vis Once upon a swizzle. Also included are tips and recipes from the author, such as how to make poached eggs and instructions on seasoning a pan. 

First, We Brunch is a perfect book for the breakfast or brunch lover, restaurant cookbook fan and/or just regular folks who love inspirational recipes. Special thanks to the publisher, Touchwood Editions, for sharing the recipe below as well as providing copies of this magnificent book in our giveaway below. 


Marina brioche cinnamon buns

Marina brioche cinnamon buns
Add this recipe to your Bookshelf (click the blue +Bookshelf button).

Makes 24

Ah, these cinnamon buns are to die for. They are the epitome of the gooey, sweet but not too sugary, beautifully raised buns that make you close your eyes when you eat one. Or two. This recipe makes a lot, but don't worry-they'll be gone before you know it.

This recipe can be made by hand or in a mixer with the hook attachment.


  • 3/4 cup unbleached bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, lukewarm


  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Sugar Base

  • 1 cup unsalted butter,
  • at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup golden corn syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups plain full-fat cream
  • cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • or 1/4 tsp more vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups icing sugar

To make the sponge

Place the flour and yeast in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer). The milk should be between 89°F-100°F. Stir in the milk until fully combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for 30-45 minutes, or until the sponge rises and falls when you tap the bowl.

To make the dough

Add the eggs to the sponge and whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Add this to the sponge and mix until all the ingredients are fully combined and there are no dry spots or chunks. Cover loosely with a clean dish towel and let the mixture rest in the bowl on the counter for 5-10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, with clean hands, gradually mix in the 3/4 cup of butter about 1 Tbsp at a time, fully incorporating each addition before adding more.

Continue kneading dough for about 10 minutes more, until the dough is very smooth and soft and not too sticky too handle. Add a small amount of flour if the dough is too sticky. Drape a clean tea towel over the dough and let it rest on the counter for 10-15 minutes.

To make the cinnamon sugar

While the dough is resting, mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

To make the sugar base

In a medium bowl and using a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, both sugars, corn syrup, vanilla and salt for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Divide the sugar base between two 8-inch square pans, spreading the base evenly and loosely across the bottom of both pans.

To bake

Melt the 2 Tbsp butter. Roll the dough out on a clean, lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush it with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly overtop.

Starting at a long side, roll up the dough, firmly but not tightly, into an even log. Cut the log into 24 pieces.

Place the cinnamon buns, slightly spaced out, on top of the sugar mixture in both pans.

Cover the pans lightly with clean dish towels and let the cinnamon buns rise on the counter for about 45 minutes, until they are about double in size.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the cinnamon buns for 20-30 minutes, until golden and fully baked. When a toothpick inserted into the doughy part of a bun comes out clean, remove the pans from the oven and set them on a wire rack to cool.

To make the cream cheese frosting

While the buns are cooling, make the frosting.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a bowl and a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the butter, one piece at a time and mixing well between additions, and continue to mix until well combined. Turn the speed of the mixer to low and add the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue beating until smooth and fluffy. The icing can be spread over warm or cooled cinnamon buns, or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring the icing to room temperature and beat until fluffy before spreading on the cinnamon buns.

Recipe and photo courtesy of TouchWood Editions. Recipe by The Marina Restaurant; excerpted from First, We Brunch by Rebecca Wellman © 2017

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and Canada.  One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on August 14th, 2018.


  • Kristjudy  on  6/25/2018 at 7:20 PM

    Oh my....the smoked salmon eggs benny.

  • Harrowjet  on  6/25/2018 at 7:33 PM

    Honey Orange Waffles

  • sparkfan1965  on  6/25/2018 at 7:42 PM

    I would love to make Herb Hudson chicken waffles!

  • rchesser  on  6/25/2018 at 8:16 PM

    Willie's Bakery carrot cake.

  • MiMi60  on  6/25/2018 at 8:17 PM

    Portobello mushroom Benny

  • maddiemcwa  on  6/25/2018 at 8:25 PM

    I would love to make Blue Crab Benny!

  • lauriesk  on  6/25/2018 at 8:54 PM

    Dark ale caramel toast with espresso whip

  • BookWorm53  on  6/25/2018 at 9:06 PM

    I'm happy to get a head start with the brioche cinnamon bun. And then, when the book arrives, I'll try all the other things. :)

  • bdmltm  on  6/25/2018 at 10:02 PM

    I think I would have to start with the cinnamon buns... but I also love carrot cake and would try that recipe early on.

  • Scotsman61  on  6/25/2018 at 10:07 PM

    Honey Orange Waffles with on the side, Dark ale caramel toast with espresso whip

  • jmay42066  on  6/25/2018 at 10:15 PM

    Willie's Bakery carrot cake

  • Liliana  on  6/25/2018 at 10:51 PM

    Marina brioche cinnamon buns

  • allthatsleftarethecrumbs  on  6/25/2018 at 11:21 PM

    I seriously cannot pick between the Dark ale caramel toast with espresso whip or the Be Love's autumn Benny. Who am I kidding - I know I would make both since I always want my family to have what they love.

  • LobsterloverLisa  on  6/26/2018 at 2:04 AM

    The Pulled pork pancakes [Jam Café] caught my eye, and my mouth started salivating at the thought. Yes please!

  • LaraM  on  6/26/2018 at 4:04 AM

    Willie’s Bakery carrot cake- or those cinnamon buns 😋

  • Lizzbethh  on  6/26/2018 at 5:55 AM

    Dark ale caramel toast with espresso whip - though I think this whole book was written with me in mind!

  • ravensfan  on  6/26/2018 at 7:17 AM

    Fantastico Bar-Deli's breakfast melt

  • dbielick  on  6/26/2018 at 8:03 AM

    Honey-orange waffles with candied pecans

  • Zosia  on  6/26/2018 at 12:18 PM

    Portobello mushroom Benny

  • ShepardsDaughter  on  6/26/2018 at 12:50 PM

    First is the Sausage & Smoked Cheddar Strata!

  • demomcook  on  6/26/2018 at 12:52 PM

    Caramelized pear, bacon and Brie bagel sandwiches

  • ktwalla  on  6/26/2018 at 1:02 PM

    Blue Crab Benny

  • tennyogirl  on  6/26/2018 at 1:10 PM

    Be Love's Autumn Benny

  • mlanthie  on  6/26/2018 at 2:00 PM

    Blue Crab Benny for sure!

  • matag  on  6/26/2018 at 3:47 PM

    Pulled pork pancakes

  • sarahawker  on  6/26/2018 at 4:14 PM

    Honey-orange waffles with candied pecans

  • janv  on  6/26/2018 at 4:20 PM

    love the sounds of Huevos rancheros con chorizo

  • Shelley.b  on  6/26/2018 at 6:49 PM

    Willie's bakery carrot cake

  • koolMoD  on  6/27/2018 at 12:15 PM

    Creamy polenta with roasted veg and chorizo sound fantastic!

  • Siegal  on  6/27/2018 at 1:49 PM

    I would love pulled pork pancakes

  • jc214a  on  6/27/2018 at 7:24 PM

    I would like to try Red Lentil Hummus.

  • eboos  on  6/27/2018 at 7:26 PM

    Veggie Benny on cheddar and chive waffles. yum!

  • NancyLynn  on  6/27/2018 at 8:18 PM

    I would make the farro, asparagus, mushroom salad

  • ladybrooke  on  6/27/2018 at 10:21 PM

    Caramelized pear, bacon and Brie bagel sandwiches [Mount Royal Bagel Factory]

  • Redlizzy1  on  6/27/2018 at 10:25 PM

    I would make the Be Love's autumn Benny.

  • gardenboss118  on  6/28/2018 at 4:55 AM

    Oh, my ... the dark ale caramel toast with espresso whip

  • debbiehb  on  6/28/2018 at 7:49 AM

    Shrimp and Brie omelette

  • mcrimmins  on  6/28/2018 at 8:09 AM

    Pulled Pork Pancakes!!! OMG

  • Julia  on  6/28/2018 at 10:30 AM

    Brunch fried rice.

  • sgump  on  6/29/2018 at 8:19 AM

    I'd also try Willie's Bakery carrot cake!

  • eatysmith  on  6/29/2018 at 9:03 PM

    "Which recipe in the index of this book would you like to try first?" 10 Acres smoked salmon eggs Benny!

  • TheCookbookCook  on  6/29/2018 at 9:44 PM

    Dutch baby with fruit compote

  • ltsuk  on  6/29/2018 at 11:08 PM

    Naramata spritz then the pulled pork pancakes

  • heyjude  on  6/30/2018 at 2:06 AM

    Brunch Fried Rice

  • Magicmelissa  on  6/30/2018 at 3:25 AM

    Pulled pork pancakes

  • LaurenE  on  6/30/2018 at 7:29 AM

    Honey-orange waffles with candied pecans

  • antpantsii  on  6/30/2018 at 4:15 PM

    Hudson’s on first Corpse Reviver! Love the name and the recipe looks deadly good.

  • mpdeb98  on  6/30/2018 at 7:18 PM

    Marina brioche cinnamon buns

  • NikNik23  on  6/30/2018 at 10:38 PM

    Honey Orange Waffles. Those sound delicious!

  • Dannausc  on  7/1/2018 at 9:31 AM

    Herb Hudson chicken waffles

  • bangss  on  7/1/2018 at 11:19 AM

    That Earl Grey and Mint Tea syrup sounds divine!

  • JulieQC  on  7/1/2018 at 12:05 PM

    Mount royal bagel with salmon spread !

  • Laura1  on  7/1/2018 at 1:33 PM

    brunch fried rice

  • ncollyer  on  7/1/2018 at 9:45 PM

    Cinnamon buns.

  • Sfgordon  on  7/1/2018 at 11:08 PM

    Brunch fried rice

  • EmilyR  on  7/1/2018 at 11:24 PM

    herb hudson chicken waffles or Mount Royal bagels with spicy smoked salmon spread ... makes me miss NYC.

  • kmn4  on  7/2/2018 at 12:31 PM

    Chai maple oatmeal [Silk Road Tea]

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  7/4/2018 at 7:15 AM

    Honey-orange waffles with candied pecans [Hide + Seek Coffee]

  • Radiantpurple  on  7/5/2018 at 9:49 AM

    Looks like I am not alone - Honey Orange Waffles with the Candied Pecans :)

  • NaomiH  on  7/5/2018 at 6:24 PM

    Eggs mollete [Fuego Old Town Eatery]

  • sam2222  on  7/6/2018 at 12:52 PM

    You had me at the cinnamon buns recipe you posted. My weakness...I am going to try this recipe for sure.

  • trudys_person  on  7/6/2018 at 8:55 PM

    Willie's Bakery Carrot Cake sounds promising!

  • Nkrieda78  on  7/6/2018 at 10:13 PM

    I would try the Earl Grey and mint tea syrup.

  • jezpurr  on  7/7/2018 at 1:08 AM

    The Tea Latte and what's on the cover!!!^_^

  • livingranchodelux  on  7/10/2018 at 2:44 PM

    Those cinnamon rolls are calling my name

  • verorenee  on  7/10/2018 at 4:19 PM

    Honey-orange waffles with candied pecans

  • lgroom  on  7/10/2018 at 7:11 PM

    Pulled pork pancakes.

  • Lmocooks  on  7/11/2018 at 8:28 AM

    Caramelized pear, bacon and Brie bagel sandwiche

  • linded  on  7/11/2018 at 11:19 AM

    Brioche cinnamon buns - they look amazing!

  • Terrill  on  7/12/2018 at 11:56 AM

    Bourbon Mint Ice Tea- I like ice tea and I like bourbon so the two together-sure!

  • skyejaden  on  7/13/2018 at 3:02 PM

    OOooh, definitely Spanish frittata!!

  • lisambb  on  7/14/2018 at 8:15 PM

    Cinnamon rolls are never a bad idea.

  • Mandamcvey  on  7/14/2018 at 10:56 PM

    Veggie Benny definitely

  • Julia  on  7/14/2018 at 11:05 PM

    Honey orange waffles with candied pecans

  • crownoflilies  on  7/15/2018 at 7:03 AM

    Veggie Benny for sure!

  • RSW  on  7/15/2018 at 11:07 AM

    Marina brioche cinnamon buns [The Marina Restaurant]

  • intrepid9923  on  7/15/2018 at 12:56 PM

    Honey Orange Waffles sound yummy!

  • HomespunHouse  on  7/15/2018 at 9:11 PM

    Marina brioche cinnamon buns

  • Steben  on  7/15/2018 at 9:37 PM

    Earl Grey and mint tea syrup

  • Dmartin997  on  7/16/2018 at 11:29 PM

    Dried fruit focaccia

  • tararr  on  7/17/2018 at 1:59 PM

    Blue Crab Benny

  • Katiefayhutson  on  7/17/2018 at 10:28 PM

    Marina brioche cinnamon buns

  • klrclark  on  7/18/2018 at 10:34 AM

    Be Love's autumn Benny

  • sequoia55  on  7/19/2018 at 2:56 AM

    Honey Orange Waffles

  • mfl  on  7/19/2018 at 11:05 AM

    Marina brioche cinnamon buns

  • mduncan  on  7/19/2018 at 7:14 PM

    Brunch fried rice

  • RNJessicaK  on  7/20/2018 at 5:26 AM


  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  7/22/2018 at 7:09 AM

    Salt Spring Island mussels with house-made sausage.

  • LSanders  on  7/22/2018 at 4:42 PM

    Dark ale caramel toast

  • orchidlady01  on  7/24/2018 at 3:11 AM

    Spanish frittata [Demitasse]

  • VeryVigario  on  7/25/2018 at 9:30 PM

    Green pie

  • ebs  on  7/25/2018 at 9:35 PM

    Willie's Bakery carrot cake

  • KarenGlad  on  7/25/2018 at 10:10 PM

    Marina Brioche Cinnamon Buns!

  • lpatterson412  on  7/26/2018 at 10:02 AM

    Marina Brioche cinnamon buns!

  • starzine  on  7/31/2018 at 3:07 AM

    Marina brioche cinnamon buns.

  • Sheli  on  8/1/2018 at 2:13 PM

    Eggs mollete!

  • jemans  on  8/1/2018 at 2:48 PM

    the pear, bacon, and brie bagel sandwiches sound insanely amazing

  • hibeez  on  8/1/2018 at 4:40 PM

    Blue Crab Benny (love crab!!)

  • beetangsurat  on  8/1/2018 at 5:35 PM

    The prosciutto and asparagus brunch salad sounds great!

  • monasli  on  8/1/2018 at 10:44 PM

    Red lentil hummus

  • stjones  on  8/2/2018 at 2:12 PM

    Roasted veggie brunch bowl [The Hot and Cold Café]

  • amandabeck  on  8/2/2018 at 4:50 PM

    Those cinnamon buns look perfect. I'd like to try the dried fruit focaccia, since I've never seen a recipe like that before!

  • Coffeebean  on  8/3/2018 at 8:57 PM

    Brioche cinnamon buns even if they'd go straight to my buns lol

  • t.t  on  8/4/2018 at 12:59 AM

    Pulled pork pancakes

  • banba1  on  8/4/2018 at 6:33 PM

    Oh, my, this one sounds good! Dark ale caramel toast with espresso whip [Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub]

  • love2chow  on  8/6/2018 at 3:43 PM

    Duck confit hash [Vis à Vis Bouchon Bar]

  • mph993  on  8/10/2018 at 10:30 AM

    Pulled pork pancakes

  • auntietina  on  8/14/2018 at 2:17 AM

    Blue Crab Benny.

  • lebarron2001  on  8/14/2018 at 3:50 PM

    Blue Crab Benny

  • BookWorm53  on  8/14/2018 at 4:32 PM

    This would be the perfect celebration of my return to Canada. Perfect book with perfect food for a cold, yet hospitable country. Orange waffles, first in line. Followed very closely by everything else! In the meantime, we'll give these sweet buns a try.

  • MirandaAK  on  8/14/2018 at 4:33 PM

    I’d want to try the Red Pepper Zpokenta with fruit salsa.

  • Elbyem  on  8/14/2018 at 4:51 PM

    Spanish frittata.

  • KittyPride  on  8/14/2018 at 6:31 PM

    The Spanish frittata sounds very tasty.

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