Holiday brunch is one of the best ways to celebrate the season. But the time involved in prep and cooking could mean the host spends the holidays alone in the kitchen. Instead of the regular brunch or breakfast set up, why not try a fun DIY pancake bar?
Breakfast bars have been gaining popularity thanks to insta-worthy setups like the one Stonewall Kitchen set up for a holiday house they hosted. The lifestyle brand was founded as a homemade products stall at a local farmers market in 1991 and today sells in 42 countries, with their pancake mix being one of their best sellers- so they know a thing or two about breakfast.
The reason people like breakfast bars so much is that they can pick and choose what the want to eat. The downside can be that a hot breakfast isn't always an offer. That's where a package bar comes in. Pancakes are a quick cooking breakfast and can be easily customized by adding in fresh fruit or sweets like chips and sprinkles. The best part, everyone, no matter their toppings choice, winds up eating their hot, customized breakfast together. Pair your pancake bar with a fun holiday-themed beverage bar - think cranberry mimosas and orange cranberry screwdrivers - and you've got a party that can't be beaten.
Stonewall Kitchen served up some helpful tips and tricks to help make your pancake bar a hit this holiday season.
Prep Ahead of Time
Whether you decide to use fruit or other sweet/savory toppings (chocolate chips, nuts, sprinkles, etc). You can save a lot of time by prepping the day before by making fruit salads ahead of time, or cutting up individual fruit, and placing your sweet/savory toppings in separate bowls. One fun tip is that you can prep the pancakes (or waffles) head of time, and keep them warm and moist in a sheet pan kept in a 200 degree. Just wet some napkins and wad them into a ball. Place the wet napkins at the corners of your sheet pan, then cover the pan with tinfoil.
If you want to cook the pancakes to order, then have a large griddle pan ready to go on the stovetop over medium heat. Be sure it's one that can hold 6-8 pancakes at a time. Grease it well with butter and cooking spray. Have guests mix their pancake batter with toppings in a bowl and designate one person the griddle master. The fun part about this is that everyone gathers around the stove watching the pancakes cook and chatting it up. Think of it as a breakfast version of a cookout!
Get Creative with your Toppings
Think of pancake toppings like ice cream toppings -the possibilities are endless. Since this is a holiday brunch, make it special by choosing flavors that enhance the holiday season's bounty. Try to put out a minimum of four flavor options so guests customize and create their perfect breakfast. Here are some ideas.
- Add a spoonful of Gingerbread Butter on top of the pancakes and then drizzled with syrup
- Replace traditional syrup with a seasonal jam, like Sugar Plum Jam, by heating up the jam so it thins out and then pour on top of the pancakes.
- Sliced fresh bananas make a great topping, too, especially when drizzled with Coffee Caramel Sauce and cinnamon
- Sautee a half cup of chopped apples, a quarter cup of cranberries and Holiday Jam for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the mix to a bowl and let guests use it to top their pancakes.
Think About "Theme" or Color Coordination
We love our display of toppings and products to be the color pop of the table, so we love to go for all white dishware! Placing colorful food products in the white dishes really make the whole display and visualization pop with simplicity and color! By using white dishware, you can add a touch of additional color in your napkins, flowers and mugs!
Sometimes it's nice to display the products that you are using for the pancake bar! We like to use small white wooden displays to place some products on to add some dimension to the overall look! We also mixed in actual products for our guests to use with the display products to add a more "experiential feel" to the look.
Choose Some Music and Enjoy
Having some great music in the background can be fun to sing along too while making your own pancakes. Sit down and enjoy the company!
Ocean Spray Beverage Bar Recipes
In collaboration with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), Ocean Spray released a pink cranberry juice made from pink cranberries from the first harvest of the season, Five percent of Ocean Spray's sales of Pink Cranberry Juice Drink in the United States and Canada will be donated to the NBCF, up to $250,000 annually, so juicing up your breakfast beverage bar with Ocean Spray's Pink Cranberry Juice Drink and Pink Lite Cranberry will give back in more ways than one.
Very Berry Smoothie
3/4 cup Ocean Spray Pink Lite Cranberry
3/4 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
1 6-ounce container low fat berry-flavored yogurt
1/2 banana, cut into slices
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend for a few seconds on high speed or until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour into a large glass.
Makes approximately 2 servings.
Pink Cranberry Mimosa
1 (750 ml) bottle champagne
1 cup Ocean Spray Pink Cranberry Juice Cocktail
1 cup Ocean Spray Sparkling Cranberry Sparkling Water
Mix all ingredients into a bowl and decorate with fresh cranberries. Ladle into champagne flutes and serve.
1 Bottle champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
Bag of Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries, any flavor (we love watermelon and raspberry lemon)
Pour champagne into a champagne flute. Add dried cranberries. After a moment, cranberries will begin to slowly float up and down in glass, like a lava lamp.
Diet Cranberry Mimosa
2 ounces Ocean Spray® Diet Cranberry Diet Juice Drink, any flavor, chilled
4 ounces sparkling wine or sparkling water, chilled