Kick the Corn Syrup! Six Fresh Ways to Top your PancakesBrooke McLay
Waking up to a warm breakfast has to be one of the finest ways to wake up. Despite the fact that I’m rarely caught up on laundry, and always wondering how it’s three o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve yet to lay a comb to my daughters’ sunswept manes, I find myself regularly feeling like a supermom because I can whip out a warm batch of homemade banana pancakes or a thick slice of griddle-browned french toast.
That said, I don’t like the feeling of pulling out a bottle of prepackaged maple syrup, replete with high fructose corn syrup, and a multitude of other nasty preservatives. Homemade syrups are so simple to make, and offer so many more tasty and healthful options. So simple, in fact, that I’ve declared out home store-bought syrup free. Here are a few of our fastest, favorite syrups. Guaranteed to top your warm breakfast treats with style, simplicity, and lots of natural, no corn-syrup flavor.
Blackberry Syrup: In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup of turbinado sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil. Toss 1 1/2 c. of fresh blackberries into the syrup. Turn the stove off, but allow the blueberries to sit in the hot syrup on the hot burner for 3-5 minutes. Serve over your favorite stack of whole wheat pancakes. Fresh raspberries and blueberries can also be substituted into this syrup.
Fresh Plum Syrup
This recipe is particularly good when used with very ripe black plums. Red plums have a slightly more tough, bitter tasting skin, and unripened plums are difficult to work with. So, if you find yourself with a bevy of nearly overripe black plums, you are just minutes away from a beautiful syrup, packed with Vitamin A & E.
In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 c. of plum or apple jelly and 1/2 c. of water. Bring to a boil. Add 8-10 black plums, which have been halved and pitted. Simmer plums in jelly for 2-3 minutes, just enough to color the syrup, but not long enough to oversoften the plums. Serve over pancakes or a stack of fluffy waffles.
Canned applesauce may be one of the quickest and healthiest breakfast topping, offering several servings of fruits and vegetable in a matter of spoonfuls, but if you’re not careful, you’ll be in the same corn-syrup predicament as store-bought pancake syrup. Many of the major brands can their applesauce with high amounts of added sugars, so be sure to read the labels before bringing home a bottle. Look for a product that indicates “no sugar added” to ensure the highest nutrition value.
If you’re feeling particularly clever, make your own roasted applesauce by peeling and coring 6-10 granny smith apples, drizzle them with 1 T. of butter and 1 T. of olive oil, roast in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, then puree the mixture in a blender.
In a large saucepan, combine 2-3 cups of applesauce, 1 T. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg, and a dash of allspice, cloves, and cardamon. Heat over medium-high heat. Serve over a stack of pancakes with a dollop of whipped cream.
Stores in the fridge for up to one week.
Kiwi Coconut Milk Syrup
My children always ask for kiwi fruit, but they can be such a pain to prepare and serve. The skins are itchy, the insides are sticky, the kids inevitably scoop out a mouthful of fruit only to complain about it being bitter. I love this recipe because I can make quick use of our kiwi stash, get the kids an ample dose of vitamin packed kiwi, and serve it coated in a delicious, sweet coconut milk mixture. It’s absolutely dreamy, delicious, and super simple.
Scoop 10-15 kiwi fruits from their skin. Discard skin and dice the fruit into small, bite-sized pieces. In a large saucepan, combine 1 can of coconut milk and 1/2 c. of sugar, honey, or agave nectar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. As soon as mixture begins to boil, remove it from the stove and allow it to cool just slighty.
Add kiwi fruit to the warm syrup just before serving.
Serve over your pancakes, waffles, or a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Top with toasted coconut, chopped macadamia nuts, or fresh pineapple, if desired.
Fresh Whipped Vanilla Honey Butter
Who says pancakes have to be slathered in puddles of ooey-gooey syrup? There is nothing like a plate of warm pancakes, served with a fresh smattering of honey butter and sliced strawberries.
Of course you can mix up a regular batch of honey-butter by beating together equal amounts of honey and butter. Or, you can make the most mouthwatering mixture of honey yellow fluff by following these simple steps:
In a bowl, combine 2 sticks of slightly softened butter, 1 cup of honey, 1/4 tsp. scraped vanilla beans, and 1 egg yolk. Beat with an electric mixer until the mixture rises high and fluffy. Smear on pancakes. Top with fresh strawberries.
Allright, be warned. This syrup is not the epitome of health, but it is ridiculously good, not to mention made without corn syrup. So, for just a moment, indulge me. Then, go indulge yourself and your family by serving up a big pot of this incredible syrup
In a large pot, stir together 2 cups buttermilk (no substitutions) and 2 cups of sugar together over medium heat.When sugar is dissolved and mixture is shiny has just barely reached it’s boiling point, add 1 tsp of vanilla, a pinch of baking soda, stir together quickly, and remove from heat.
Serve immediately over pancakes, waffles, and anything else you deem even remotely edible.