Christmas Brunch Cocktails

One of the reasons I love brunch so much is that it doesn’t require getting up early and I get to have light and refreshing cocktails. Cocktails are designed to set the mood and entertain. Unlike a mixed drink cocktails are hand crafted with much care to delight all the senses. What could be more perfect for Christmas brunch then hand crafted drinks that celebrate the season.

I am sharing a few of my favorite Christmas brunch cocktails. What makes them even more special is the festival colors and seasonal charm that goes into each one. Mimosas will always hold a special place in my heart and still reign supreme as the preferred brunch cocktail, but here are a few more that will give you cred and offer a cocktail that no one expects.

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Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Light and fluffy cinnamon spiced pumpkin pancakes topped with cinnamon praline butter and chopped pecans are full of autumn flavors.

This is by far is one of the best pumpkin pancake recipes I have every made (thus far). Oh, I know, everyone says that. But legit it really is. It’s filled with all those glorious fall flavors like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. I use fresh pumpkin puree which allows me to add the spices at the end of the cooking, right before pureeing, to really allow the pumpkin to absorb all those spice flavors. It cooks up fluffy and light and gets topped with a cinnamon praline butter and chopped pecans to wrap it in yum. Come on, you know I had you at pumpkin.

Pumpkin Puree:

When it comes to pumpkin puree you can either roast or boil the pumpkin. When I am using the puree for baking, I prefer to boil the pumpkin. Roasting is awesome for savory dishes, but I do not want to get any burnt or roasted flavors in my baking puree so the stovetop method it is. Simply cut the pumpkin in half and clean out the pulp and seeds. Peel the skin and discard. Chop the pumpkin into small cubes and place in large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue simmering on a low boil until tender. Drain the water and place the pumpkin back in the pot. Add the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Using a potato smasher roughly mash the pumpkin and mix the spices as you work. Do not worry about the consistency at this point just give the spices a small amount of time to release their flavors. Transfer the pumpkin to a blender and puree until smooth.

Let’s talk pumpkin:

Although you can use any pumpkin to make a puree for the best flavor you want to use sweet, flavorful, and smooth-textured flesh varieties. Dickinson, Fairytale, Jarrahdale, or Cinderella are all good choices. Cinderella and small sugar are the varieties I plant for purees and pie baking respectively. The pumpkin itself is full of sweet flesh, with no strings and very little water content. Cinderella can grow up 10-25 pounds while small sugar is a much smaller fruit weighing 5-8 pounds. Both do well in my planting zone. Be sure to check your zone before planting any fruit or vegetable. It really does make a difference.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Pancake

Cedar Oak Farms
Light and fluffy cinnamon spiced pumpkin pancakes topped with cinnamon praline butter and chopped pecans are full of autumn flavors.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12 pancakes

Ingredients
  

Batter:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Cinnamon Praline Butter:

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla paste

Instructions
 

To make the batter:

  • Melt butter. Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Beat together butter, egg, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into dry until just combined. It’s alright if the batter is still lumpy. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat until hot. Brush pan with some oil. Pour batter by scant 1/4 cup into pan, making a few pancakes at a time. Cook until bubbles burst. Turn and cook until underside is golden. Remove from pan and repeat with the remaining batter, brushing pan with oil as needed.

To make the butter:

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble:

  • Divide pancakes among plates and top each with a small scoop of cinnamon praline butter and scatter pecans on top. Drizzle on some maple syrup if desired.
Keyword Bread

Pancake Mix and Muffins

Here is a busy morning breakfast cheat that works so well it has become a constant instead of a cheat. I make a few tweaks to pre-brought pancake mix for quick and easy muffins. Because pancakes are prepared to be light and fluffy you achieve a light and fluffy muffin that bakes up super high and uniformed. In addition, since pancakes are not meant to be overly sweet you get an almost bread like muffin. You can add ingredients to appease that sweet tooth if you choose.

Pumpkin Spice:

Because it is early September and there is nip in the morning air I have a craving for fall flavors. Today I am opting for a pumpkin spice pancake mix. For the most part, you can follow the package directions when changing pancakes to muffins. The one crucial thing you want to remember is to decrease the liquid.

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Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes

A light and fluffy vanilla pancake batter with bits of fresh strawberries folded in.

What is your favorite fruit? I’ve never been much of a fruit person preferring veggies to fruit until the day I was introduced to strawberries. Our babysitter brought some over picked fresh from her family farm. Once she sliced into those plump red delights and I caught a whiff of that fruity, rose-like aroma I was hooked.

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Peach German Pancake

Types of Pancakes:

Did you know there are about 15 types of pancakes from across the globe? Today I am going to concentrate on three of my favorites ranging from thinnest to thickest. All three start with the basics: flour, milk and eggs. It is the ratio of these three that determine the thickness and defines the type.

  • French Crepes:
  • The crepe is considered one of the quintessential foods of France. Tender, delicate, delicious it is easy to see why. The fillings are endless and often filled with savory traditional fillings of ham, egg, and cheese filling. Today you will find a a variety of other vegetables, meats, and cheeses filling crepes. Then there are the sweet versions which traditionally was a simple lemon and sugar version. I do not have to tell you all the amazing array of fillings used today. I’ll just say if you haven’t tried them with strawberries and a pecan praline sauce you haven’t lived yet.
  • American Pancakes:
  • Then there are the beautiful, thicker, fluffier pancakes popular in America. The main difference, the American pancake recipe uses a rising agent like baking powder to give it that puff. Like the French Crepe the variations are endless with savory and sweet version aplenty. However, and in my opinion, the American pancake is tasty enough on it’s own and does not need a lot of drama. Just a little maple syrup and bacon on the side, hello! But hey the Southern pecan pancake or blueberries added to the batter, Okay!
  • German Pancakes
  • Then there are the puffiest of all, the German pancake, or pannekoeken. These are the pinnacle of giant pancakes. Pannekoeken gets it height by decreasing the flour and increasing the eggs given it a pudding consistency. Unlike the French Crepe and American pancake, pannekoeken are mainly served sweet and loaded with fruit. The unique rounded shape comes from baking them in a cast iron skillet or casserole dish. The recipe below places the fruit in the bottom of the skillet and bakes up with the pancake, but if you want to achieve the highest, most dramatic pannekoeken add the fruit after baking.

    Peach German Pancake

    Cedar Oak Farms
    This pannekoeken is designed for an 11 to 12-inch cast iron skillet with rounded sides. This is a simple step recipe that really goes together quickly.
    Prep Time 10 mins
    Cook Time 30 mins
    Course Breakfast
    Cuisine International
    Servings 6

    Ingredients
      

    • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
    • 4 fresh peaches
    • 2 tablespoons salted butter
    • 3 eggs, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • Powdered sugar, for dusting

    Instructions
     

    • Position oven rack one position up from the bottom and preheat oven to 400°F.
    • Peel and slice the peaches add to a medium bowl.
    • In a small cup or bowl, blend 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over the peaches and gently toss to coat.
    • Place the butter into a large cast iron skillet and place in the oven to melt the butter. Remove from oven and swirl the butter to coat the pan.
    • Evenly spread the peaches over the bottom of the skillet and return to oven. Bake 10 minutes.
    • Meanwhile, add the eggs, milk, flour, vanilla, and remaining sugar and cinnamon in a blender. Blend on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute.
    • Once the peaches are done baking, remove from oven and pour the batter over the peaches. Place back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the pancake is golden brown and puffy.
    • Allow to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack before dusting with powdered sugar. Yes, it will deflate and that is okay.
    Keyword Bread