SoHo-Ho-Ho!

Cinnamon Caramel Waffle Stack

Cinnamon Caramel Waffle Stack

Pecans…how do you say it?  “Pea-cans” or “pea-cahns”?  This was a funny topic of discussion this past Saturday during a cooking demonstration I did at Southern Home & Kitchen, affectionately referred to as “SOHO”.

It was a fun, waffle filled morning at, Southern Home & Kitchen , which opened in August at Thruway shopping center.  This cute store is filled with goodies for the kitchen and home, and they installed a small kitchen in the back of the store where they hold demo’s and cooking classes.  (Be sure to check their website and Face Book page for detailed information on this.  I will be doing cooking classes, along with many other great area chefs, beginning January 2014, you are sure to find a class that intrigues you.)

On Saturday, I used Stonewall Kitchen waffle and pancake mixes to create some fun, “foodied” up Holiday entertaining ideas.  True, I start most things from scratch, but when there is a great product that helps you out- go for it, especially at busy times like Holidays!  SoHo sells a lot of Stonewall products, and by far the popular ones that day were the Pumpkin Waffle Mix, Gingerbread Waffle mix, and the Coffee Caramel Sauce.  The waffles alone will fill your house until it smells like a pumpkin or gingerbread cookie for everyone this Thanksgiving or Christmas!  When paired with the infused syrups and butters, the combination can’t be beat.  Not to mention, you will feel like you have whipped up a gourmet breakfast or brunch with ease, yet you won’t be covered in flour, up since 5:00 am cooking, or feel exhausted before the turkey is in the oven.  So, as promised to the many of you who came by, here are some menu’s, recipes and ideas to make breakfast quick, easy, and most importantly yummy, this year!  Enjoy, the best of food and life, one Holiday at a time, or one waffle at a time!

(All of the items below I paired with either Pumpkin or Gingerbread Waffle mixes.  Pancakes are fine too, but the style and ease of the waffle maker is just great.  You could even make a French Toast Casserole and serve with the following, too.)

Infused Syrups:

Begin with the maple syrup of your preference.  I used the Trader Joe’s, 25 ounce bottle for only $16.99.  Measure out about one cup of syrup into a small sauce pan.  Add to it a combination of any of the following: fresh mint, ground cinnamon, fresh raspberries, fresh strawberries, fresh cranberries, Meyer Lemons, fresh whole apples, nutmeg, and orange peel.  Trust me when I say it is hard to stop listing ingredients there, but I am going with what I did this past weekend- let your mind explode with ideas and what you have on hand!

Holiday Cinnamon & Cranberry Syrup– to the syrup and a handful of cranberries, a dash or two of cinnamon.  Bring to a low simmer until the cranberries pop and the aroma is wafting into the house.  Serve over your waffles or pancakes, with the berries, for a yummy sweet syrup that has a tart surprise of cranberry.

Raspberry Mint Infused Syrup– add about 8-10 raspberries into a cup of syrup.  Place a 2 inch sprig of mint (more or less based on how strong you want the mint flavor to be) in the pot, being sure to bruise the mint leaves well with the back of a fork or spoon to release the oils and flavor.  Simmer on low for a bout 5 minutes.  Place a strainer over your serving dish and pour syrup with berries and mint into strainer.  Press on fruit and mint to extract all the flavor, and that pretty pink color, into your syrup.  Discard ingredients in strainer, and serve warm syrup over waffles topped with sliced strawberries and fruits.

Julia’s Better Butters:

Meyer Lemon Zest Butter with Thyme & Honey: Place one stick of softened butter in a small mixing bowl.  (The butter should be easy to mash with a spoon.)  Add to butter 2-3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only; zest of one Meyer lemon, and 2 teaspoons, more or less, to butter.  Using spoon incorporate ingredients well, then place in serving dish and keep room temperature.

Grapefruit, Cinnamon and Thyme Holiday Butter:  Place one stick of softened butter in a small mixing bowl.  (The butter should be easy to mash with a spoon.) Zest one grapefruit into butter.  Add 2-3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only; and one teaspoon of ground cinnamon.  Using spoon incorporate ingredients well, then place in serving dish and keep room temperature.

Waffle Toppers:

Apple Caramel with Cinnamon Waffle Topper:  Melt half stick of butter in small shallow saucepan.  Thinly slice half an apple, leaving skin on.  Add to the melted butter, swirl with a dash or two of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add half a jar of Stonewall Kitchen Coffee Caramel Sauce, and stir in until apples are just soft but intact.  Serve over top of Pumpkin Waffles with a dollop of whipped cream!  Another variation on this recipe is to segment a grapefruit ( like the one you just zested for the butter) into the sauce for a delicious addition.

Sweet Thyme Butter with Honeycrisp Apples:  Melt half stick of butter in small shallow saucepan.  Add to butter the leaves of 3-4 sprigs of thyme.  Next, thinly slice half a Honey Crisp apple, leaving skin on.  Sprinkle brown sugar about 1/4 cup, and mix until melted into butter.  Serve over Gingerbread Waffles with whipped cream dollop and fresh grated nutmeg, bon apetit!

Cinnamon Roasted Pecans:  It doesn’t matter how you say it, pea-cans or pea-cahns!

Toss one cup chopped pecans with three tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl.  Add a dash or two of cinnamon and one teaspoon vanilla.  Roast in 375 oven about 15 minutes, until lightly roasted and aroma is strong!  Set aside to cool, then place in serving dish and serve with any of the above recipes, or just as a nibble, too!

Waffle Stackers (pictured at top): 

Prepare your preferred waffle.  Cut into the four triangles.  Place one down on serving plate, then top with thinly sliced strawberries.  Place next triangle on top and spread with Better Butter Recipe.  Place third triangle on top and spread with fruit, heck, go ahead and spread whipped cream in this layer, too!  Top with last triangle, and top with fruits, and then generously pour waffle topping or infused syrup over the top.  Remember, generously drench it, then serve and enjoy!  This is a fun thing for kids or grandkids to make:  simply place cut waffles and toppings in bowls and let guests make their own “Waffle Stack”!

The best thing about everything above is that it sounds fancy and delicious, and looks it, but the preparation and time involved are simple.  So as you think about the Holidays keep these easy ideas in mind, and SOHO-ho-ho your way into some delicious fun and merry yummy ideas!

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