Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pancake mix with apple cider syrup and candied walnuts: A gift from the kitchen for #SundaySupper


A friend mentioned that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away (at least here in the United States). I was shocked. And perturbed. Really perturbed. Not panicked. No, not yet, but I won't deny that I am a little annoyed that the holidays crept up on me like that. Again. Every year, I think, "Next year will be different. I will be organized, on top of things, efficient, effective, and stress-free." Ha! Yeah right.

Oh well. Time to start thinking and planning and making it all happen. But I've grown sick and heartweary of stuff. I've hit the mall a few times recently and found myself overwhelmed (and a little depressed) by the choices, the glitter, the tack, the endless push for a more wonderful holiday than anyone else or ever before. Every year, I find myself in a spiral of anxiety in which I seek the perfect holidays, beautifully and completely decorated, with an abundance of perfect gifts. And every year, I wind myself up more and more and spend more, far more, than we should, ending up with a lot of stuff and a lot of regret. I am ready to get off that ride. It's making me a little sick.

One way to make the holidays more meaningful is to make gifts. Homemade gifts may not be as pristine and glittering and cool as storebought gifts, they may be a bit clunky and lumpy, but they feel good to make. Of all the gifts we can make and give, gifts from the kitchen are often most appreciated. The receiver can enjoy them immediately, and they leave little to no clutter. (Speaking of clutter, here's a lovely poem on that topic from Saideh Pakravan, a member of my freelance networking group.)

One of my favorite gifts to give is a special breakfast, in this case homemade pancake mix with apple cider syrup and candied walnuts. None of the components is hard to make (although the apple cider syrup does take a lot of time); the most difficult task will be figuring out a nice way to present them. Here are the ingredients you will need, the instructions, and the instructions you will write down so the recipient can make the pancakes.



Ingredients

FOR THE PANCAKE MIX*

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (you can substitute with all-purpose flour if you like)
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 2 Tbsps granulated sugar
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse salt

FOR THE APPLE CIDER SYRUP

  • 1 gallon fresh apple cider (preferably from the farmers market; I am a big fan of Beechwood Orchards' cider because they use a blend of apples, which means the cider isn't too sweet)

FOR THE CANDIED WALNUTS

  • 2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


Instructions

FOR THE PANCAKE MIX

Part 1: Combine the ingredients in a lidded box. Close the lid and shake the box vigorously. (By the way, you can double, triple, or quadruple this recipe and keep it stashed in your freezer for your own pancake breakfasts.)

Part 2: Write these preparation instructions down for the recipient of your gift:

  1. For 3-4 servings, combine 1 cup pancake mix with 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 egg. 
  2. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter on a hot, buttered griddle and cook each side until golden brown. 
  3. Serve with apple cider syrup and candied walnuts. 

FOR THE APPLE CIDER SYRUP**

  1. Pour 2 and 1/2 cups apple cider into a large stockpot. Measure the depth of the liquid with a spoon or something similar. 
  2. Add the rest of the apple cider to the pot. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the temperature to a slow simmer. Let it simmer and reduce for 5-7 hours. 
  3. In the last hour, start checking on it more frequently, because it's quicker to overreduce when it gets closer to the end. When you've reached the depth you measured, the syrup is done. Let it cool and pour it into jars. It will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. 

FOR THE CANDIED WALNUTS

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat (I could use some of those for Christmas, hint, hint).
  2. Lightly chop the walnuts, if they aren't chopped already. 
  3. Combine the maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon in a thick-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Stir frequently so that the syrup doesn't burn. Let it thicken a bit (about 5-10 minutes). 
  4. Add the chopped walnuts to the syrup mixture. Stir until the nuts are completely coated and heated through. 
  5. Spread the nuts out on the baking sheet and break them apart if needed. Let them cool. Don't worry if they don't harden completely, or are a little sticky; they will still make a terrific pancake topping. (These would be a great topping for almost any dessert, actually.)

This week's Sunday Supper is all about gifts from the kitchen. Almost 50 gift ideas are on offer from breads to sweets to soups, so please go ahead and check these out for more ideas for homemade holiday gifts. Also, don't forget to join in the Sunday Supper Twitter chat by following the hashtag #SundaySupper at 7 p.m. EST.


Breads and Breakfast



Condiments and Ingredients



Soup and Snacks



Sweets



Drinks


Don't forget to share your own recipes for Gifts from the Kitchen on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board.


* The pancake mix recipe is slightly adapted from The Harvest Eating Cookbook by Keith Snow. Do not forget to check out his Harvest Eating website for lots of seasonal eating ideas and recipes. 
** For more ideas for what to use apple cider syrup with and a recipe for boiled cider baked beans, check out the Washington Post recipe. 

34 comments:

  1. I echo your sentiments about how frustrating this drive for the perfect Christmas by spending a lot of money is. This is my favourite time of year and it always makes me sad to hear how much people hate the holidays because they feel the need to fill it will the glitter and glam that Christmas marketing says you need. There was one year growing up that my parents had to explain to us that we didn't have money for gifts. My parents gave us each our stocking with sweets and little gifts but that was all we had. Thinking back now that was one of the best Christmas'. We spend the whole day playing games, eating food and telling silly stories. I mean seriously that is really what it is about isn't it?

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  2. Awesome recipe that I know my family will love. So glad you shared.

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  3. This is such a great idea for gift giving and one I wouldn't think of. It would also be a great hostess gift if you are traveling for the holidays.

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  4. Such a great gift because there is nothing better than pancakes for Christmas morning breakfast!!!

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  5. I know what you mean! Time seems to be flying by. I haven't had a good apple cider since I was a kid. Love the recipe!

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  6. You're killing me Tora! Now I want to stay home from work and make breakfast! ;)

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  7. Brilliant idea! I love both pan cake mix and the walnuts! Thank you for sharing with us!

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  8. How can you wait for all of those hours for that syrup? Mmmm...heading out to the store to get some cider!

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  9. My favorite way to do gifts and these look amazing!! (And completely sound amazing!!)

    Perfect gift idea!

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  10. Tora, this is such a lovely idea for the holidays. I love that syrup!

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  11. Such a lovely holiday gift...the pancakes and syrup sound fantastic!

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  12. Too bad I am not on your Christmas list as this would be a perfect gift! We love pancakes (just had them this AM) and love receiving homemade gifts. I will put this on our list of fabulous gifts to give.

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  13. Wow, yummy, what a great gift!!

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  14. I agree so much with you about the need to make each celebration perfect; it makes me want to just give up sometimes. This homemade gift is so incredible, three in one, can´t beat that Tora! Just wonderful!

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  15. Beautiful - I love apple cider syrup. It is so delicious. I am sure that everyone who receives this as a gift is thrilled!

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  16. This looks amazing! I love apple cider and am sure I would love it as a syrup and candied walnuts! I will eat this for breakfast very soon! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. What a fun gift idea! AND Apple Cider Syrup!? YUM!

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  18. It would be such a treat to receive one of these :) I love apple cider and those candied walnuts sound amazing :) Thanks for a wonderful gift idea!

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  19. What a fun idea! Pack it all in a mixing bowl and wrap with cellophane, and you've got a fabulous gift!

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  20. Apple Cider Syrup?!?!?! Oh my goodness...I am absollutely trying this!

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  21. I always have a little jar of apple cider syrup in the frig this time of year!!! These are PERFECT for it. What a terrific gift idea - I love it!!

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  22. Mmmm...this is a gift that I would love. That syrup sounds stellar!

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  23. What a marvelous gift idea! So darned delicious! And perfect when staying overnight at a friend's house...great for a holiday or hostess gift!

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  24. Ooh those pancakes look yummy ! Better than Ihop :) Yumm ! Will try them sometime !

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  25. I've made all three of these things but never thought to put them together!

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  26. You are a genius. This is such a great idea.

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  27. This is a very thoughtful gift. Makes breakfast a breeze over the holidays with a full house :-)

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  28. Oh gosh...you say the same things as I do EVERY year when it come to the holiday. I mean, seriously, how did they get so close, so soon? Anyway, I'd love this gift if someone gave it to me. Sounds so delicious.

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  29. It just dawned on me that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. Thankfully we are going to my mother in laws for thanksgiving but I want to make my own treats. I want those pancakes so badly right now. Apple cider sryup sounds so good. Making me hungry.

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  30. These look amazing. Absolutely mouthwateringly amazing. I like that it's all very simple, even if the syrup is time consuming, but knowing how amazing apple cider is, I imagine it's well worth it!

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  31. Oh, the food looks great, I'll go through these recipes one by one!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  32. What a fabulous idea! Nothing like a good breakfast for a gift! :)

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  33. What a great idea for a gift! It's perfect for a holiday breakfast or even just a fun weekend morning!

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