All the men in my life choose breakfast as their favorite meal of the day. Some like eggs, omelets and savory selections, but most prefer vehicles for syrup. Think pancakes, waffles, crepes, hot cereal, even bacon and sausage. So I’m always on the lookout for recipes and ideas suitable for a river of sweetness.
Sweet, syrupy and meltingly warm cinnamon buns inspire this year’s Father’s Day breakfast. We served them at our daughter’s wedding brunch last fall. Now, the treats are forever linked to that memorable occasion. Friends take it upon themselves to drop off a half-dozen buns, spotted with dark raisins, on sunny Saturday mornings.
On a recent weekend getaway, we embraced cinnamon bun pancakes at a breakfast diner. Smeared with soft cream cheese and drizzled with cinnamon syrup, they were the start of a new relationship.
We’ll start our homemade pancakes with fresh ground cinnamon — full-bodied and flavorful. Thanks to The Spice House for its thoughtful selection of interesting cinnamons; experimenting with Vietnamese, Indonesian and Ceylon cinnamons keeps us wanting more.
To boost the cinnamon punch in our whole grain pancakes, I sprinkle cinnamon chips over the cakes while they cook. Hershey’s makes a nicely flavored, not too sweet, cinnamon chip (available at Amazon.com) that gets meltingly soft when heated. Mix the chips with small bits of crispy bacon and sprinkle the combo on the cakes. Or, stir in dark raisins for a cinnamon raisin treat.
I’m also a fan of King Arthur Flour’s powdered mix called Baker’s Cinnamon Filling. Vietnamese cinnamon flavors the mix — I add the mix (dry) directly to the pancake batter in place of the sugar and ground cinnamon. Alternatively, follow the package directions, and stir 1 tablespoon water into 1/4 cup of the mix to make a delicious thick spread to top the pancakes as they come off the griddle. I like to sandwich two small (silver-dollar size) pancakes together with this spread.
Sticking with our cinnamon raisin theme, I plan to set my father up with jars of cinnamon raisin overnight oatmeal for a sweet breakfast treat. I mix oats, quinoa flakes and chia for a hearty cereal blend. Coconut and cinnamon add flavor; raisins or berries add sweetness. The dry mix can be portioned into small jars several days in advance. Add the milk of your choice to the jars the night before you want to eat the overnight oats. The next morning, dad can sweeten the deal with all the syrup his heart desires.
CINNAMON RAISIN PANCAKES
Prep: 20 minutes
Stand: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Makes: about sixteen 3-inch cakes
1/2 cup each: cinnamon chips, dark raisins
1/2 cup each: all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour
1/4 cup each: quinoa flakes, old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups skim milk, unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened rice and quinoa drink
1/3 cup melted butter (or safflower oil or expeller-pressed canola oil), plus more for cooking
Cinnamon cream cheese, see recipe
Cinnamon honey, see recipe (or dark maple or agave syrup)
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1. Mix cinnamon chips and raisins in a small bowl.
2. Mix flours, quinoa flakes, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Whisk in the milk and 1/3 cup melted butter. Whisk the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture just enough to combine. Do not overmix.
3. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Put a baking sheet into the oven to heat.
4. Heat a large nonstick griddle or 2 nonstick skillets over medium heat until a drop of water evaporates on contact. Add a small pat of butter and a little oil to the griddle. For each pancake, ladle a scant 1/4 cup batter onto the hot surface, spacing the pancakes 1 or 2 inches apart. Cook until a few bubbles pop on the surface of each pancake; about 1 minute. Sprinkle with some of the cinnamon chips and raisins. Adjust the heat to keep the pancakes from browning too much. Cook until first side is golden, about 1 more minute. Flip the cakes carefully, and cook the second side about 1 minute more. Remove from the griddle with a spatula and place on the heated pan in the oven. Repeat to cook more pancakes.
5. To serve, spread with the softened cinnamon cream cheese, sprinkled with powdered sugar and/or cinnamon honey.
Cinnamon cream cheese: Mix 4 ounces light cream cheese (softened) with 1 tablespoon honey and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl until smooth. Refrigerate up to several days. Use at room temperature.
Cinnamon honey: Mix 1/4 cup honey with 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a jar with a pour spout until smooth. Mixture will keep several weeks.
Nutrition information per pancake: 149 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 10 g sugar, 3 g protein, 109 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
CINNAMON RAISIN OVERNIGHT OATS
Prep: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
The coconut is optional and adds a nice, natural sweetness; you can omit it if you don’t like it.
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup each: raisins, black chia seeds, quinoa flakes, unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 2/3 cup milk (cow’s milk or unsweetened almond milk, rice and quinoa drink or coconut milk)
Honey, maple syrup or agave syrup to taste, optional
1. Mix oats, raisins, chia seeds, quinoa flakes, coconut and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir well.
2. Use a 1/2 cup measure to scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture into 4 pint jars or containers with lids. Cover and keep in a cool dark place for up to several weeks.
3. The night before you plan to eat the oatmeal, shake a jar. Then gently pour in 2/3 cup of the milk of your choice. Cover the jar and refrigerate overnight. Stir well before eating. Add honey or syrup as desired.
Mixed berry variation: Skip the raisins. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons frozen mixed berries to the jar before adding the milk. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stir well before enjoying.
Nutrition information per serving: 372 calories, 13 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 53 g carbohydrates, 16 g sugar, 14 g protein, 81 mg sodium, 9 g fiber