When I was a child our Sunday family breakfast ritual centered on eating a large meal, preferably carbohydrates, after church. If we didn't stop for donuts around the corner from our neighborhood church, we went home and made waffles or pancakes.
For some reason, although I know it wasn't the case, I associate waffles with Mom and pancakes with Dad. We went to visit my aunt in North Carolina as little kids and I remember eating a lot of waffles with my mom and our relatives while we were there. My brother and I were so enamored with their waffle machine, Mom bought one when we got home. I'm sure that's how the differentiation in my mind came about.
Also, my dad, having the same spirit as us kids, was always adding new things to the pancake batter: chocolate chips, berries, and his signature flavor: Cinnamon.
As well as making them his own, Dad also tended to make a game out of the pancakes, not just turning them but throwing them in the air as high as he could go, behind his back, and once...a cherished memory...thrown across the kitchen to my uncle's awaiting plate.
Due to not having a waffle machine of my own, I have been making a lot of pancakes lately. I decided that if it sounds like something I'd order at a pricey brunch, it's going to be good!
I raided my fridge and this is the deliciousness I came up with; who knows, maybe you'll make it one of your breakfast traditions.
ALMOND PANCAKES WITH BERRIES AND SWEETENED CREAM CHEESE
Serves: 3-4 (10-12 Pancakes)
2 cups Pancake Mix (You can use a store-bought mix or make your own healthier version from Bon Appetit!)
2 Large Eggs
1 cup milk (I always use skim)
1 teaspoon of Almond Extract* (*optional if you do not want almond pancakes)
Slivered Almonds* (*optional if you do not want almond pancakes
1. Blend pancake mix, eggs, vanilla extract, and milk until combined. Pour into center of a griddle or frying pan using butter or cooking spray and cook until the edges puff up and bubbles form on the surface, see above picture.
2. Before you flip throw on a few almonds if you want a crunchy element inside your pancakes, you can also add these on top later if you like.
3. Flip and cook until done. Repeat. Let cool until warm so you can add the cream cheese and berries without melting.
1 carton of Strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 carton of Raspberries, rinsed
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Bean Paste (see Drool Tip, below)
1. Blend berries with vanilla paste. You can do this ahead to get the most juice out of them; the berries will be perfect sitting overnight in the fridge.
CREAM CHEESE SPREAD
4 oz. of Cream Cheese, softened (or more, depending on how much you want to eat with a spoon)
Powdered Sugar (to taste)
1. Mix soft cream cheese and powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time until thin and sweet; depending on your desired level of sweetness; I like to make it sweet but still keep the tartness of the cream cheese.
2. Spread over already made and slightly cooled pancakes and pour berries on top.
No butter or syrup needed!
"Drool Tip: You do not need Vanilla Bean Paste; you can just use a few tablespoons of white sugar to bring out the natural juices in the berries. That said, you can use any berries or fruit you have handy: blackberries, peaches, even pineapple, see this post."