When exactly does a holiday tradition become just that: tradition? Is it simply a matter of repeating an activity more than once? If yes, I vote we make these Gingerbread Pancakes three times from now until Christmas, so that come Christmas morning, we have no choice but to make them again, because, well, it’s tradition.
Thick, fluffy pancakes spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, then smothered in a holiday-appropriate maple cream cheese drizzle, these homemade gingerbread pancakes are everything Christmas morning should be: cozy, sweet, and best enjoyed in pajamas. Dibs on the last Gingerbread Pancake if the pajamas have feet!
In all seriousness, I have been thinking a lot about family Christmas traditions over the past few weeks. Most of my recent recipes—Shrimp Corn Chowder, Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes, Cranberry Orange Cookies, and more—were inspired by dishes that have been a part of my holidays since childhood. I’m not sure how or when they began, but now I can’t imagine our Christmases without them.
Because we spend Christmas in Kansas with my family, Ben has been absorbed into our holiday routine. I think the first year of our marriage, when I presented him with a three-day eating agenda and the set menus that go along with it, he was a bit overwhelmed. He acclimated after two bites.
I love our family traditions, and it means a lot to me that Ben is more than willing to embrace them. I’m also hoping that he and I can start a few small traditions with our little family of two.
While Ben has yet to enthusiastically endorse my proposal to make our annual tradition an afternoon spent decorating cookies, sipping hot chocolate, trimming our Christmas tree, and cuddling on the couch (all in matching red plaid flannel pajamas while Love Actually plays in the background), we do have a handful of traditions that we plan to start or continue this year.
One tradition we’re continuing is not to exchange gifts, opting for a special dinner out instead (that’s tomorrow!). A new one we are beginning is to cook a big breakfast together the weekend before we head home.
When I think of a special holiday breakfast, it’s hard to imagine a better choice than these Gingerbread Pancakes. They’re made with buttermilk, so they are extra moist, have loads of holiday spice, and are easy to make, so that you can enjoy time relaxing with your family, instead of stressing over a fussy recipe.
I wanted to make the Gingerbread Pancakes without molasses, because I found that it made the pancakes too dense and heavy. To create the same rich gingerbread flavor, I added a bit of brewed coffee to the batter. You can’t actually taste the coffee, but it gives the pancakes just the depth I was seeking.
I also snuck in whole wheat flour to make this a recipe for healthy gingerbread pancakes. Translation: you can feel great about that third (or fourth) Gingerbread Pancake you’ll be craving!
My final favorite Gingerbread Pancake ingredient is Phil’s Fresh Eggs. They have the bright, happy yolks, because they come from bright, happy chickens. Phil’s is a family-owned company and raises its chickens in a cage-free environment on the original family farm. I love Phil’s eggs for their quality, flavor, and the company’s humane practices. I used the eggs in the Gingerbread Pancakes, and I plan to scramble a few to serve beside our stacks as well.
Do you have any special holiday traditions you’re looking forward to this week? If yes, I’d love to hear about them (and might even borrow a few too!).
For the Gingerbread Pancakes:
- 2 large Phil's Fresh Eggs
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar — or light brown
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk
- 1/4 cup brewed coffee — cooled to room temperature
- 1 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour — or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted and cooled
For the Maple Cream Cheese Topping:
- 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese — softened to room temperature
- 3 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt — or vanilla Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup — plus additional to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-4 tablespoons skim milk
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until well combined. Stir in the buttermilk and coffee.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently, just until combined. You will have some lumps remaining. Stir in the melted butter.
- If you'd like to keep different batches of pancakes warm, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Heat a griddle or sturdy skillet over medium-low. Coat the skillet with butter or cooking spray to prevent sticking, then ladle 1/2 cup batter (for large pancakes) or 1/4 cup batter (for smaller pancakes) into the pan and begin cooking. Because these pancakes are whole wheat, they cook more slowly. Flip when the edges of the pancake are no longer shiny and some bubbling forms on top, about 4-5 minutes for large pancakes or 2-3 for smaller ones. Continue cooking on the other side for 1 to 2 minutes more. Serve the cooked pancakes immediately or keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining pancakes.
- For the maple cream cheese topping: In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and Greek yogurt on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the Greek yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix again. Add 2 tablespoons milk to thin the batter. Taste and add additional maple syrup if you desire a sweeter topping. If you desire a thinner consistency, continue adding milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until the topping is as thick as you like. Serve with warm pancakes.
- Leftover pancakes can be wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (reheat gently in the toaster) or frozen for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Recipe can easily be doubled to feed a larger crowd.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 4): 2 small pancakes or 1 large pancake, without topping) — Calories: 342, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 261mg, Sodium: 261mg, Carbohydrates: 53g, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 14g, Protein: 12g
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I am sharing this post in partnership with Phil’s Fresh Eggs. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue creating quality content for you. To learn more about Phil’s, you can visit its company website and Facebook page.
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