Do you know what smells better filling the house on a cold December morning than the scent of spiced cinnamon and nutmeg, delicious hot apple cider and warm buttery pancakes? Um, pretty much nothing, which is why I pulled out this delicious recipe my mom used to make around the holidays as a way to jumpstart our Christmas decorating weekend and get us in the festive holiday mood this week.
Because we will be traveling to the US to see my family this Christmas, we were a bit torn as to what to do about the whole Christmas tree and decorating situation and contemplated not doing it this year as we won't be here to enjoy it. But as the calendar flipped over to December our flat began to look so lost without its usual holiday sparkle while the whole of London around us was lighting up with festive high street parties and neighborhood celebrations.
Eventually I couldn't take it and I was determined not to miss out on the joyous buildup of decorating, tree lighting, baking and gift wrapping so the pre-Christmas festivities at Casa Dex officially moved into overdrive!
Twinkly lights were unraveled, stockings were hung, the tree was decorated, the mantle was decorated, the front door was decorated, the dog was decorated....(it took Dex a little bit longer to get into the Christmas spirit wearing his jingle bell, but he got over it) although I was saddened to remember that he had
lost buried his santa hat at a holiday gathering at our local pub last year.
Meanwhile the holiday celebrations around us continued, and the week was full of activities including the annual Christmas fair in our gorgeous little Hampstead village, as well as the tree lightings and Christmas markets in neighboring Primrose Hill and St. John's Wood. For me, this is one of the most special things about London at the holidays. Despite being an enormous capital city of millions of people, there are so many wonderful neighborhoods and areas with identities and personalities all their own, and the sense of community and identity is truly amazing. Even though we won't be in London on the actual day, I now feel like I've gotten my fix of that wonderfully English, old fashioned Dickensian Christmas charm.
Trust me, if you are looking for a way to add a little extra holiday cheer to your own home this weekend, or just a delicious treat to wake your holiday house guests, these pancakes are your answer. If you want to go for the bonus points, serve therm with a steaming hot apple cider syrup which you can find here.
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Christmas Apple Pancakes
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 apples, peeled & finely diced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
cooking oil or non-stick spray for frying
Whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla together
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
Mix the dry and wet ingredients together and still in the apples
Add the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of cooking oil or non-stick cooking spray over low to medium heat
Drop large spoonfuls of batter into the pan and gently flatten slightly
Cook until golden brown, then flip over and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
Dust lightly with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Makes about 12-14 pancakes