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From the food editor: Breakfast forms the major holiday food traditions in my house

Pumpkin Cranberry Waffles [Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post]

Pumpkin Cranberry Waffles [Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post]

I don't have a ton of holiday food traditions. Growing up, and even now, we tended to have the same sort of fare for our Christmas dinner each year, influenced by my Protestant German grandparents: ham, applesauce, scalloped potatoes, that sort of thing.

Not many specific recipes, aside from a famous shortbread cookie from my grandma that I shared in this space last year. (Find it at

In fact, the one meal I associate most closely with the holiday season isn't dinner or dessert, but breakfast.

I have written before about how my father makes an incredible pan of scrambled eggs. His trick is to under-cook them just so. (And, of course, add an obscene amount of butter and cheese, which I didn't realize until later in life.) Even my husband, who is not a breakfast person, requests them.

We are a family that appreciates a good, and large, breakfast. And that might be because the meal is tied to another tradition that, decades after the kids stopped being children, still sticks: We take our time opening presents, stretching out the Christmas morning festivities for sometimes hours.

Naturally, we need to pause to eat. And that's where breakfast comes in.

I chose this week's recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Waffles with that in mind. Another favorite breakfast recipe at our household, especially when we allow ourselves time to luxuriate in the meal, is waffles like these — a slightly healthy version that's still full on holiday flavors.

Throughout our site, you will find treasured holiday recipes and traditions like these from you, our readers. For our annual issue, we called for recipes for every part of the meal, and you all delivered. We received dozens in the different categories of appetizer, side dish, entree and dessert.

A sampling of them appear on Maybe one will become one of your new holiday food traditions.


Pumpkin Cranberry Waffles


  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup well-shaken low-fat buttermilk
  • ½ cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral-tasting oil, plus more for the waffle iron
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen cranberries, each cut in half or quartered, as needed


  1. Whisk together the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, eggs, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of oil in a separate bowl until well combined. Pour into the flour mixture, stirring just enough so that no dry ingredients are left, then stir in the cranberries.
  3. Brush a waffle iron with oil and preheat it according to the manufacturer's directions. Ladle enough of the batter to cover three-fourths of the surface of the waffle iron, close it, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4. Serve hot, with maple syrup passed at the table. Serves 4.
  5. Note: The batter can be made and refrigerated a day in advance. The waffles can be cooled, wrapped individually and frozen for up to 1 month. Reheat in the toaster or toaster oven.
Source: Ellie Krieger, Washington Post

From the food editor: Breakfast forms the major holiday food traditions in my house 12/05/16 [Last modified: Monday, December 5, 2016 11:04am]
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