sweet potato pancakes
Photo: Cristina Ferrare
We celebrate Christmas Day all day, starting with opening gifts then sitting down together to enjoy a great breakfast! These pancakes are always a huge hit. My husband will slather some room-temperature butter on them and watch it slowly melt and drip down the sides of the pancakes. (It's Christmas, so he gets a pass.) I love to watch his face as he dips his fork into the Berry Good Syrup and takes his first bite—his expression looks like a little kid's! It makes me smile.

Note: You can bake the sweet potato, make the syrup and toast the walnuts up to three days before making the pancakes. Store the sweet potato and the syrup separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store the walnuts in an airtight container in your pantry.
Makes 16 to 20 4½-inch pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature, whisked
  • 2 cups whole milk, chill taken off
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 baked sweet potato (recipe follows)
  • 5 Tbsp. canola oil
  • ½ cup room-temperature unsalted butter
  • 2 cups agave syrup
  • 1 can whipped cream
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped coarsely
  • 1 bottle of your favorite pure maple syrup (mine is BLiS, available at Williams-Sonoma)
  • Toasted walnuts (recipe follows)
  • Berry Good Syrup (recipe follows)
Baked Sweet Potato

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake 1 10- to 12-ounce sweet potato on a wire rack for 40 to 50 minutes. You can test for doneness by using a small paring knife and inserting it through the middle of the potato. If it slides in and out easily and feels soft in the middle, it is ready. Remove the potato from the oven and let cool. Before storing in the refrigerator peel off the skin and discard.

Berry Good Syrup

Ingredients

  • 4 cups blueberries, blackberries or raspberries
  • ½ cup agave syrup
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Directions



In a medium saucepan add berries, agave syrup, orange juice and bring to a boil on medium high heat for 5 minutes. Strain through a tight mesh into a clean pot.

In a small glass bowl add 1 tablespoon of water to cornstarch and mix until smooth. Set aside.

Bring the strained berries to a boil again and pour in the cornstarch mixture. Stir until the syrup has thickened. If you want the syrup to be thicker repeat the process with the cornstarch. Cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.

Toasted Walnuts

The walnuts pick up an earthy rich flavor if you toast them first. Place 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts in a cold, dry pan and turn the heat to medium. Shake the pan back and forth until they start to release their oil and turn slightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful not to burn them because they will taste bitter.

Directions


Have all of your ingredients ready before you start. In medium large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a blender add the eggs, milk, vanilla, orange extract and the melted butter. ' 'Cut the sweet potato into small chunks and place them into the blender with the egg mixture.

Blend just until the potatoes are no longer lumpy, about 45 seconds. The mixture should be smooth.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold all the ingredients together. Use about 20 to 25 strokes to bring everything together. The batter will look lumpy. Do not overmix. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes while you heat a 12-inch cast iron or stainless steel grill pan with 1 tablespoon of canola oil and spread with a paper towel. Turn the heat to medium, for 1 minute.

Use a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup to pour your pancakes. Pour 1/4 cup batter into the frying pan; use the bottom of the cup to round them off. They will look thick but don't worry.

Lower the heat to medium low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bubbles on the surface start to pop. Flip over gently using a metal spatula and cook on the other side for 2 minutes. When they are ready, place them on the wire rack in the warm oven. Continue repeating the same process including adding 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan until all of the batter has been used.' '

Top with a sprinkling of walnuts, a pat of butter and serve with Berry Good Syrup on the side and maple syrup. Garnish with whipped cream (from a can, just a squirt), and sprinkle chopped mint leaves on top, about to 3 to 4 per pancake.

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