Photo credit: happa nom nom/Savory Nothings/Chocolate Covered Katie
Brunch is a natural fit for Mother’s Day — late enough to allow snoozing, but a sweet and savory reason to wake up. Spoil your mom this year: Let her sleep in, and make her brunch instead of dealing with crowds and overpriced mimosas.
“Brunch” was first referenced in an 1895 London article by Guy Beringer. He pleaded with readers not to punish “Saturday-night carousers” with an early breakfast, but instead have a breakfast-lunch meal that starts around noon and lasts until early afternoon.
Since then, brunch has become a fave meal, known as being a way to continue the festivities from the night before, a way for later-risers to enjoy time over a meal… and a way for restaurants to extend their service options.
With one of the ideas below, Mom’s sure to appreciate your gift of time, effort and company in the form of a delicious brunch.
Mother’s Day brunch main course: Strawberry shortcake pancakes
No brunch would be complete without pancakes. Sweet, fluffy pancakes offer that satisfying salty-fat-carb combination, so it’s no wonder that Americans spend more than $2.6 million on pancake mix a year.
Pancakes go by different names, depending on region: Johnnycakes, flapjacks, griddlecakes, hotcakes. All build on a recipe that includes flour, eggs, oil and a touch of sugar. The variations are endless, though. Cocoa powder, chocolate chips, peanut butter and chocolate chips … you can see where this leads. If you prefer more crunch (and nutrition) in your breakfast, add walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds.
Fruit’s also a delicious, popular option. Have a hankering for citrus? Add lemon, lime and/or orange zest. Banana pancakes are always a hit. Peaches and nectarines are a fresh-tasting option. The most common fruit in pancakes? Berries. Chocolate-Covered Katie has a delicious, nutritious strawberry shortcake pancake recipe. These pancakes let the mom in your life splurge with minimum guilt. They are low or no-sugar and can be made without fat or gluten if so desired. They’re light, fluffy and chock full of strawberries, all finished with a dollop of whipped cream.
The oats in the batter thicken up the mixture and lend a delightful heartiness to the pancake. Oats are also a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with unsaturated fat (which has also been shown to reduce cholesterol) and fiber. Because these pancakes are on the thicker side, you can pour them into cookie cutters. Hearts, flowers … whatever will delight Mom.
These pancakes are topped not with traditional syrup and butter, but with homemade whipped cream instead. Macerated or fresh strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce would make these extra-special.
Whatever you choose, these easy strawberry shortcake pancakes come together quickly. You can make the batter up ahead of time and save some precious prep time.
Mother’s Day brunch side dish: Berry cheesecake fruit salad
That delicious slice of heaven known as cheesecake — with its 247 calories and 18 grams of fat (65 percent of the total calorie count!) — takes a good chunk of time to make correctly. For those reasons, cheesecake is a treat that most of us can enjoy only occasionally.
The latest craze of cheesecake salads is a somewhat healthier option, but most are made with artificially flavored cheesecake pudding mix and whipped cream. While you can use reduced-fat whipped cream and reduced-sugar pudding mix, these recipes are still not exactly whole foods.
This berry cheesecake salad offers a happy compromise between deliciousness and health. It omits the graham-cracker crust entirely, saving beaucoup calories. The traditional cheesecake filling gets an overhaul that leaves out a lot of the fat and sugar, but retains its creaminess and a touch of sweetness. It’s all thanks to a pourable cheesecake-like dressing that starts with orange juice, maple syrup or honey, vanilla and cornstarch and ends with the addition of protein-packed Greek yogurt. You can sub lemon or lime juice for the orange, but you’ll need a touch more sweetener.
Drying the berries thoroughly after washing keeps them from making the dressing too runny. Chopping them in different ways makes the salad more interesting. A topping of almonds adds a nutty crunch, and mint adds a fresh taste and color.
This is an easy, come-together-quickly side with a fresh, light taste that complements your Mother’s Day brunch perfectly.
Mother’s Day brunch dessert: Nutella apple roses
When Mother’s Day first became widely celebrated in the early 1900s, children gave mothers white carnations to show their gratitude and love. The celebration’s founder, Anna Jarvis, deemed the carnation the ideal flower for the occasion, because the flower doesn’t lose its petals as it dies; instead, the flower “hugs [the petals] into itself” — just as a mother does with her children. Nowadays, of course, all types of flowers are showered upon moms on that day in May.
If you’re planning on setting a table for Mother’s Day this year, consider decorating with flower arrangements — the star of which can be these Nutella apple roses. Dollops of Nutella “glue” thin apple slices on top of puffed pastry, all of which gets rolled together and baked in a muffin tin. The result is an artful, flaky bite of pastry, oozing with warm fruit and chocolate flavor. Don’t be put off by the instructions for these roses; they’re not as difficult to make as they appear (the finished product only looks that way!).
Never had Nutella? You’re missing out. It’s a chocolate hazelnut spread made by the Italian company Ferrero. It has its origins in the 1940s, when cocoa was in short supply due to World War II. To help stretch out his limited supply of cocoa, Pietro Ferrero added hazelnuts and sold it in block form. From there, Nutella evolved into the creamy decadence it is today.
If Mom doesn’t care for apples, try a different fruit; nectarines or pears will do nicely. You can play with the seasonings, too. Both pears and nectarines go well with cinnamon and nutmeg. If you stick with apples, add a dash of cinnamon. Want extra chocolate? Drizzle some chocolate sauce on top of the finished apple rose.
Mom will know you’ve gone that extra step when she sees these on the table. After she posts photos to Facebook (because she will), her friends will be asking, “How’d they do that?”
Mother’s Day brunch cocktail: Pink champagne float
Champagne, the drink of brunchers and Sunday-morning revelers, has been enjoyed as an acceptable before-noon spirit for centuries. It’s the beverage of choice for celebrations and good news — and Mother’s Day brunch.
True champagne hails from the Champagne region of France. In fact, some countries don’t allow any sparkling wine to be labeled as champagne unless it is from the Champagne region of France. Whether you call it champagne or sparkling wine, it starts out in the same way as regular wine, but it gets bottled before the initial fermentation period ends so that the wine continues to ferment. The carbon dioxide builds up and gets released when you open the bottle — making that signature “pop” that marks so many festive occasions.
Champagne is available in many varieties — for example, blanc de blanc, blanc de noirs and brut. Brut is a dry champagne with little sugar. Pink champagne (as used in this recipe) is made from grapes that have been allowed more contact with their skins, coloring the wine to a rose color.
In this pink champagne float, bubbly combines with raspberry sherbet or sorbet that’s floated in a concoction of pineapple juice and Sprite. A touch of whipped cream and fresh fruit top it all off. Sherbet (which contains dairy ingredients) or sorbet (which does not) work equally well here.
If pink doesn’t float your boat, it’s easy to substitute other options. If Mom prefers mimosas, change up the ingredients to include orange sherbet and fresh orange juice. Or try a Bellini float with peaches, orange juice and peach sorbet. A citrus champagne float with lemon and lime sorbet makes a tangy, refreshing wake-up drink.