Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup

When we’re home and I’m not training for a marathon that requires me to spend the majority of my Saturday mornings out on a long run, our typical Saturday routine is to sleep in, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, and then waste the day away with football games [Ben] and a good book [me] until we drag ourselves out the door to go workout, unless it is summertime, in which case we workout first thing to avoid the heat. Whoa. Run-on sentence. Sorry. All that to say, our leisurely breakfasts are the best. Except figuring out what to make. I’m a weekend breakfast snob, pretty much always insisting on some form of pancakes or waffles or egg casserole or french toast or or or… anything but boring toast or cold cereal. Not on the weekend…LAME!

Most men would delight in that. 1950s ideals and all. You know what the kicker is? 99% of the time, Ben would be just fine with eating dry Cheerios out of the box. Seriously. He uses a bowl, because of me, but how lame is that? So every week, our conversation is: what do you want for breakfast? Oh, cereal is fine. Really? Well if you really want to make something, I’d eat it… blah blah blah. But THIS SATURDAY!! This Saturday was different! When I asked Ben what he wanted for breakfast and said I was in a pancake mood, he immediately asked if there was a recipe somewhere for cranberry pancakes.

Cranberry pancakes? Well, I wasn’t sure, but a little Googling later led me to this awesome fare.

Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup | The Pajama Chef

Yup, that’s definitely a big ‘ole stack of Cranberry Orange Pancakes with a bowl of Cranberry Maple Syrup! Can it get any better?

Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup | The Pajama Chef

These pancakes were fluffy and sweet, slightly scented with a faint flavor of orange, while also having the unmistakable tartness of cranberries in each bite. So so so good! And the syrup! It was the star of the show, almost like a mixture of jam and syrup together… thick and sticky, as any good syrup is. It goes without saying that the cranberries in the syrup are tart…but a good tart, like cranberry sauce tart. Mmmm! A little vanilla in the syrup sophisticates

Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup | The Pajama Chef

Wait! It does get better because it was the boring breakfast eater who inspired me to find this recipe. Except now that I look at the photos, I realize it couldn’t have been Saturday morning when these photos were taken because it was obviously dark out so I took them indoors. Sigh. That means my story is slightly invalid… but the principle still remains! And these pancakes are incredible. I think we must have made these Friday night. Exciting lives we lead…haha. They are sure to become a Christimastime favorite in your house too. Enjoy! :)

Cranberry Orange Pancakes [from Coastal Living]
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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter $
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, thawed if previously frozen

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, egg, butter, orange zest, and vanilla extract.

Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then add cranberries and mix gently until incorporated. Let batter rest while skillet heats up.

Meanwhile, heat canola oil on a large griddle or skillet set over medium-high heat. When hot, reduce heat to medium and add batter, 1/4 cup for each pancake, then cook for 2-4 minutes or until edges cook and top is bubbly. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: ~16 pancakes.

Cranberry Maple Syrup [from Coastal Living]

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, divided [thawed if frozen]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Bring maple syrup and 3/4 cup cranberries to a boil in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to low, then simmer for 3-4 minutes until cranberries begin to pop. Crush cranberries with a potato masher, then add remaining cranberries. Simmer for another 2 minutes, then stir in vanilla and butter.

Time: 10 minutes.

Yield: 1 cup.

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Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole

Christmas is coming, faster than we know. And I didn’t want to let the season go by without sharing this awesome roasted sweet potato dish. Even though it’s a sweet potato casserole, it bears little resemblance to the typical marshmallow-y sugar concoctions that are ever so traditional. Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole

I made this recipe for my family Thanksgiving dinner. I love roasted sweet potatoes as a side dish or light meal any time of year, so I thought that they would be the perfect basis for a new sort of sweet potato casserole! To make them a little more special than normal, I roasted the sweet potatoes in a lovely spiced maple syrup sauce. After they were nice and roasted, I added in some crisp apples and tart cranberries. A sweet oat streusel topped off the dish, and boy was it good! Even Ben, who usually passes on sweet potato casseroles, went back for seconds. That’s a success if I do say so myself!

Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole | The Pajama Chef

Plus, as with all good Thanksgiving or Christmas special side dishes, most of this can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until it is ready to be baked and served. It is absolutely delicious and would be a great addition to your Christmas table! I would love to make it again soon. Enjoy! :)

Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole [adapted from Cooking Light]
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Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks–about 6 cups, [peeled or unpeeled, your choice]
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
  • 1/2 of a large granny smith apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup half and half [I used fat free]
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place diced sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together olive oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, then pour over sweet potatoes. Using your hands, coat sweet potatoes with olive oil mixture. Roast for 25-35 minutes, turning occasionally, or until fork-tender.

After sweet potatoes are done, transfer to a 10 inch round casserole dish [a 9x9 square dish should work too]. Mix in apples and cranberries.

Next, whisk together half and half, the egg, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Pour over sweet potato mixture, then bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

***Casserole can be made ahead up until this point and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, prepare the streusel. Stir together oats, brown sugar, flour, and pumpkin pie spice. Add melted butter and toss to form coarse crumbs.

Before serving, sprinkle streusel topping over sweet potatoes. Return to oven and bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until topping is browned.

Time: 75 minutes [15 minutes active]

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I hope yours was nice… but I hope you aren’t sick of pumpkin yet, because these cookies are fabulous and I just had to share them, Christmas season or not!! I’m normally not an oatmeal cookie kinda girl–give me a chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie any day, but oatmeal? Meh. Aren’t they usually the weird leftover cookies abandoned at pitchins and other events? I think it’s usually cause they contain gross raisins and are slightly salty. Raisins are only good on their own, not in baked goods. But I digress. I shouldn’t use ‘gross’ anywhere near this post, because these Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies are anything but!!Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama ChefDespite my apathy towards classic oatmeal cookies, when I saw this recipe last month, I was intrigued. Pumpkin? Chocolate chips? Dried cranberries? All in one cookie, that wasn’t a soft cakey cookie?? Umm, how could I say no? Especially when they bore a slight resemblance to my favorite camp breakfast? Count me in! Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama ChefThese Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies are seriously a dream come true. Each cookie contains the perfect flavors of fall that I l-o-v-e [in case you were unaware]: pumpkin, spice, chocolate, and cranberries… all in a guilt free breakfast-resembling package. I mean, am I right??

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama Chef

They are hearty, chewy, and incredibly easy to make–they just take half an hour and you probably have all the ingredients available at home anyways. I know I do, practically all the time. You best believe that these will be popping up in my kitchen year-round from now on. They are that good!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama ChefThe fact that there’s no oil or butter in them is only a bonus… because I’m certain that eating 5 of them at once sort of negates the health benefits. But we can pretend, right?

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies [adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction and Love From the Oven]
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla. In a larger bowl, stir together flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Fold wet ingredients into the dry until just moistened–dough will be thick, but not un-stirrable. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries.

Drop by spoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets, slightly flattening because dough does not spread much while baking. Bake for 13-14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for about 3 minutes, then remove promptly to cooling rack to cool completely.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola

I’ve never been to New York City, but I know that when I do someday, Alice’s Tea Cup will be my first foodie stop. My mom owns about a zillion cookbooks, and one that I always love to browse when I’m home was created by the owners of the NYC area chain of tea shops. It’s aptly named Alice’s Tea Cup and it is full of recipes for fun teatime sweets, breakfast treats, and even good info about the proper way to brew tea. I’ve made a scone recipe from the cookbook that was just so-so [probably because I didn't make the buttery glaze to go on top], but I wanted to give the cookbook another chance. I am so glad I did, because Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola is simply magnificent.This phenomenal granola combines three types of nuts [almonds, pecans, walnuts] plus sesame seeds and coconut, as well as two types of dried fruit to make a nutty-sweet comination that is absolutely essentail in a good granola. It is a bit more museli-like than a traditional chunky granola, but that doesn’t detract from it’s crunch. But the real added bonus to this granola comes from its spices: the usual suspects of cinnamon and nutmeg… and vanilla tea! I’ve never used tea as a spice before, so I was a little unsure what it would be like, but it’s absolutely wonderful. The tea adds some delicate sophistication to the crunchy hippie treat [ha, ha].

Overall, this is a granola recipe that is perfect as is… but could definitely be improvised based on the contents of the cupboard. We enjoyed it served over yogurt or with milk, but as with any other granola recipe… the possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to make it to NYC to try the original version, but for now, I’m glad I can enjoy it at home when the mood strikes.

What’s your favorite granola fixings? Have you ever been to Alice’s Tea Cup in NYC? Wanna take me? :)

Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola [from Alice's Tea Cup]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 heaping teaspoons vanilla tea leaves [I used a vanilla-cinnamon tea, and just cut open one tea bag]
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except honey and butter. Mix together thoroughly, then stir in honey and butter.

Spread the mixture on prepared baking sheet, and pack down with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping at the halfway mark. Remove granola from oven when it is golden brown. It will harden as it cools.

Break granola into chunks and store in an airtight container. Serve with milk or yogurt.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: about 7 cups.

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Sunrise Muffins

So, I know I only mentioned this once in passing, but January was my cookbook month. That is, I made a vow to not cook or bake from online sources during the month of January. Of course I posted recipes from online sources, but that’s only because they were things I had made previously and was just getting around to sharing. As a result, I got to know some of my cookbooks a bit better and also got to meet some new faces, thanks to my local library.

That sounded really cheesy. Sorry. I’m in library school, but I don’t have to sound like a PBS kids show, now do I?

Anyway.

A cookbook that caught my eye at the library one day was Allison Fishman‘s You Can Trust a Skinny Cook. I’m on my second renewal of this fantastic cookbook, and have tried several recipes so far. Everything has been great! But what I really love is that Allison’s food philosophy is so apparent throughout her book. This isn’t a diet cookbook like you might think from the title; it’s a balance cookbook. Allison is all about serving tasty, healthy, natural foods that aren’t “weird” or hard to find, but that are tasty to the point of “mmmm.” Works for me! I won’t get into more about Allison’s philosophy cause you should really check her cookbook out for yourself, especially if you’re an Ellie Krieger fan, but I did want to share one of my new favorite muffin recipes.

Sunrise Muffins. I wanted to make this recipe first thing after flipping through her cookbook, thanks to the uniqueness of the method: you put an entire orange, peel, pith, and fleshy-orange-goodness-all into a food processor or blender and churn away. This process lends not only amazing flavor to your breakfast, snack, dessert, or anytime creations, but natural food coloring as well! All the better, I think, since bright, colorful things make me happy.

And you all want me to be happy, right?

So try these muffins. I know I tell you to try everything, but this time… I really mean it. Best new recipe of 2012 in my book, right here. Enjoy!

Sunrise Muffins [from You Can Trust a Skinny Cook by Allison Fishman]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 navel orange, scrubbed and dried, cut into eights
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar [original calls for 3/4 cup, but 1/2 cup is plenty]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners*. Add orange slices, orange juice, egg, and oil to a food processor [or blender], and pulse until smooth. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then pour in orange mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in cranberries, then spoon into muffin cups. Fill each about 3/4 of the way full, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Time: 35 minutes [10 minutes active].

Yield: *12 standard size muffins or 48 mini muffins [bake for 17-20 minutes].

Notes: I’ve also made these with 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips instead of the cranberries. Yes, that is a size difference but they were plenty chocolately for me.