I don't remember ever having a traditional Christmas breakfast/brunch growing up. When I was a kid, breakfast was usually whatever cookies Santa didn't eat, consumed while impatiently waiting for my mom to hurry up and get out of bed so we could open presents. As I got older, I seem to remember breakfasts being more like snacks, really, just to tide me over until the big Christmas dinner.
I've grown to really love the idea of having a nice brunch with the family on Christmas morning: a table filled with freshly made cinnamon rolls and tofu scrambles and hash browns; christmas carols playing on the stereo; the house filled with the smell of cinnamon and sugar and the coffee brewing in the background; all of us still in our pajamas with messy hair, morning breath, and big smiles.
This is still just a dream of mine. I have yet to muster up the courage to try and make cinnamon rolls, so having perfect ones made freshly on Christmas morning is likely to not happen anytime soon. Then there's the fact that I feel kind of lazy on Christmas morning, so I would need some little fairies or elves to make breakfast while I was sleeping. And we don't have any of those (that I know of). We also have family spread out all over California, so our Christmas mornings are spent at the twins' mom's house, watching the twins open gifts before we begin our journey to visit family. I always bring a platter full of homemade muffins and breads (baked the day before) for all of us to munch on during the present-opening extravaganza, and I love that little tradition, but it's not like rolling out of bed to a gorgeous spread full of breakfast goodies.
So, what I do is try to have wintery-types of brunches as much as possible before the holiday. Most recently, we did pancakes. Delicious pancakes made with a gluten-free flour blend (I used Cara's blend), cornmeal, and the puree of a hachiya persimmon. Hachiya persimmons are only good when they're extremely ripe (and by "ripe," I mean "super soft and squishy"). If you try to eat them before they reach this state,
you'll destroy your mouth it will cause your mouth to pucker in a way it never has before. Once it is perfectly ripe, you just trim the top off and use a spoon to scoop out all of the juicy flesh. It will give your pancakes a slightly sweet, subtly fruity flavor, a perfect pairing for the cornmeal.
I topped these pancakes with a cranberry sauce made with maple syrup rather than sugar. With some melty vegan butter, this warm cranberry sauce over these perfectly persimmony pancakes (heavens, I love alliterations!) is a perfect little gift for your holiday brunch.
- 1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (or all-purpose four)
- ¾ cup cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or other vegan sugar)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups vegan milk mixed with 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (and allowed to set for about 10 minutes)
- 1/2 cup hachiya persimmon flesh (the insides, not the skin)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted but at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup cranberries
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- Bring the water to a boil in a small pot. Add the cranberries and reduce to a simmer. Once the cranberries begin to pop, lower the heat and add the maple syrup. Let the sauce continue to simmer and thicken for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches the desired thickness, remove from heat.
- Mix your dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- In a food processor, puree your persimmon flesh with the coconut oil. Add the buttermilk (milk/apple cider mixture) and vanilla extract and pulse until combined.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add persimmon mixture from the food processor. Lightly mix all of the ingredients together until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. Lumps are good. Let the mix rest for about 10-15 minutes before using.
- Heat your pan over medium/low heat for a couple minutes. Very lightly spray the pan with vegan cooking spray and use a measuring cup (1/4 cup or 1/3 cup), also lightly sprayed with cooking spray, to pour the batter into the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pancakes, giving them enough room to spread as needed. Remember to respray the measuring cup and the pan in between pancakes. Once the pancake edges begin to lift up, after about 3-4 minutes, flip the pancake and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- If not serving immediately, let rest on a cooling rack, covered with a clean kitchen towel or aluminum foil. Top the pancakes with the maple cranberry sauce or maple syrup and serve. Enjoy!
Photography by Chris Miller
Speaking of gifts, our family recently got the greatest gift. We certainly weren't planning on adding a member to our family, but sometimes life happens when you least expect it, as they say. A couple weeks ago, while checking in on Facebook (something I've not been good at keeping up on recently), I stumbled upon a picture of a little dog, curled up in a ball on the concrete floor of a high-kill shelter in Lancaster, posted by ARME ( who runs Beagle Freedom Project, which I've spoken about before). My heart broke, just thinking of this adorable little girl, locked in a cage, at risk of being put-down because she was abandoned by her former family (she had a chip implanted, and though her former owner had been called, mailed, and emailed, no one responded). Luckily, Chris was working in Acton that day, a stone's throw from Lancaster, and he made time to stop by the shelter and visit her. He instantly fell for her and her calm demeanor, even when all the other dogs in the other cages were loudly barking and crying. We had to wait a week, while they continued to contact her former owner, but on Saturday, we drove up to Lancaster with the twins and Samantha (our current canine roommate) and rescued our new family member.
Maeby couldn't be any sweeter of a dog, and she and Sam seem to be getting along (as long as there is no food in the picture- that's something we're still working out). I thought no dog could sleep more than Samantha (she needs her 20 hours a day or she just isn't herself), but Maeby sleeps (and snores) about 90% of the time. I just can't get over how adorable she is and how well she's taken to all of us and how comfortable she is in her new home. I just feel so warm and fuzzy right now, I can barely stand it.
If you have room in your home and your heart, please consider rescuing an animal (and please, please, please never, ever buy from a breeder or a shop). It may be a small thing for you, but it will give that animal another chance at life.
oh my goodness, maeby is just the sweetest. i love her name 😉 i was just watching arrested development yesterday 😉 i can't wait to adopt another friend soon. there was the most beautiful pitty that needed a home recently, but dayv was concerned about the size difference with mina :/
your pancakes look so fruity and delicious. how is it that i've never had a persimmon before? i don't know where they sell them around here as i haven't stumbled on them at whole foods or trader joes. i guess i'll have to look harder!
Thank you! Maeby really is the sweetest, but what is so amazing is how patient Samantha is being with the whole situation. SHe has her grumbly moments, but it has been a true testament to what a great little friend she is. And trust me- everytime I see a pit bull, I want to hold the baby in my arms. They have the most loving, peaceful demeanors, but I can understand Dayv's concern.
Good luck with your persimmon search- they are totally worth it! 🙂
Rachel @ Bakerita
Those pancakes look phenomenal! I love persimmon, and your addition of cornmeal is genius! That maple cranberry sauce looks so delicious as well - such a fun twist on a traditional syrup.
Thank you, Rachel! I love cornmeal pancakes, and the persimmon paired so beautifully with it. 🙂
First those pancakes look amazing - I love Christmas Morning Breakfast, my Mom always made Cinnamon Rolls (Shhh from the pillsbury can) and Hot cocoa while we waited for my Dad to finish his morning routine (Cup of Coffee & his outdoor smoke (such bad habit!) )
And your new little Christmas Gift is ADORABLE - Beagles are such good pups, you guys are so lucky! I am absolutely pro shelter pups, they have the best personalities and truly know that they have been given a second chance, I have never understood the whole "breeding" mentality, there are so many amazing dogs just waiting for their forever homes! If Anna wasn't such a spoiled pup and set in her ways we would get another shelter friend...but she is 11 and deserves us all to herself 🙂
Cinnamon rolls AND Hot Cocoa?!?! That sounds phenomenal!
We are so blessed to have found a little soul who blends in so well with our family. She is just a big bundle of love. We were nervous about how Sam would react, because Sam is on the older side too, but this whole experience has been such a great testament to how wonderfully patient and mellow Samantha is. The two of their wiggly butts, greeting me at the door, is my favorite thing to come home to. 🙂
jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur
These pancakes look like an amazing break from the usual flavor options. I've been loving persimmons lately, and I just can't say no to cranberry sauce! I love that you combined cranberries with maple syrup - it sounds like just the right combination of sweet and tart. This would make a great Xmas morning breakfast!
I've been craving these pancakes every morning since I made them- I can't wait for the persimmons on my counter to ripen more so I can use them for these!
Persimmons are so good! I love the idea of using them in pancakes. And that Maple Cranberry sauce is the perfect topper!
Thank you! Seriously, I can't get this breakfast out of my head. And I have leftover cranberry sauce in my fridge that I want to drink straight... 😉
Congratulations!! Maeby looks sooo soo adorable.. i and sending you all super tight hugs and kisses!
you know half of my facebook newsfeed is filled with dogs in danger of euth the next day. the other third of the feed is food and some scary pictures by vegan pages:) and maybe a 5% of random posts by friends. Every other day i wish i could adopt the whole lot.. especially the really sad ones. a good lot of them seem not that sad yet, so i can somehow live with it, also because the happier ones have a higher chance at adoption, but there are always these really sad or depressed ones who pull at my heart. lancaster is known for a ridiculously high kill rate. i am sooo soo happy you could rescue her.
and those pancakes look awesome! 🙂
My FB feed is the same way. And it is so hard not being able to save them all. I think what really got me about Maeby is that, while all the other dogs were barking and crying and begging for someone to rescue them, she was just curled up in a ball, and wouldn't even look at us when we came to her stall. She was so cold and scared. We had to drag her out of her stall, and once she realized that she was free, she began jumping up on each of us, sniffing our faces. She was so excited. It was such a beautiful thing to witness. 🙂
that is so sweet and great that she came out of the shell.
Now, you get to learn to be the alpha mommie and keep the pack balanced and happy.:) all the best! and congratulations once again. If I could be there, I would be hugging maeby and you right now till you yelled at to me to let go:)
Gabby @ the veggie nook
Oh my goodness Maeby is just the cutest thing ever!! That's so amazing you rescued her. I bet she is a great snuggler 🙂
These pancakes sound so lovely! Completely worthy of a Christmas breakfast! While we were never a big breakfast on Christmas family either- the last couple years I've made pancakes- nothing compared to these though!
Thank you! Chris and I have decided to stay home next Christmas, just so we can have a big Christmas brunch at our house. 🙂
Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack!
Maeby is SO CUTE!! I can barely stand it! Also, I've been wanting to try cornmeal in sweet pancakes and this is definitely the inspiration for it. The blend of flavors that you used sound amazing. 🙂
OMG! Congrats to adopting this adorable dog! Kindness indeed 😉 Btw, I can't wait to hear about your cinnamon rolls. I've tried it before and it was alot easier than I thought. I'm sure your Christmas morning will be splendid. Happy Holidays Kristy, to you and your family!
PS I've pinned and tweeted this recipe. Yum.
Thank you, Richgail! I haven't tried cinnamon rolls yet. I'm hoping to get some practice in this year, in time for next Christmas. 🙂
Have a wonderful holiday and a fantastic new year, Richgail! xo
What a tasty combo! I love it all! Excellent flavours & textures here too! 🙂 MMMMMMMM!
Thank you, Sophie!
I have a bunch of ripe persimmons that I need to use up, and this sounds perfect! I always love pancakes... 😀
Thank you, Allison! And I totally agree- pancakes are always a good call! 🙂