Living in a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, it’s not often that I have overnight guests. We offer a first rate queen-sized air mattress, a strong cup of coffee, and breakfast from a bakery or bagel shop. But this past weekend, Andy and I hosted two couples at Mom and Dad’s house in Pennsylvania. I was so focused on doing everything ‘right’ and preparing lists for all the dinners (including Thanksgiving), I nearly forgot about breakfast!

I must admit, I reveled in my role as host to a small crowd, though I’m well aware the novelty wears off if you have to do it all the time. But my experience was wonderful, and I did it successfully taking cues from my mom. Over the years she has taught Sharon and me, by example, the relatively stress-free way to welcome people into your home. Yes, there are those elaborate, multi-course dinners, appetizers so good they’re inhaled, and unforgettable cocktails. But the thing I love most about Mom’s hospitality is breakfast with overnight guests: buttery biscuits and fluffy eggs, fresh-from-the-oven scones, bubbling stratas, pretty parfaits. I love breakfast because it keeps the afterglow glowing, it perpetuates the warm and fuzzy feeling from the fun night before.

So every morning last weekend, I did something special for breakfast. As our friends lethargically lumbered up the stairs from the depths of deep sleep (the kind only brought on by turkey, a fire, and red wine), they breathed in the scent of fresh coffee and warm spices, eggs, and bacon. We hung around in our pajamas until late in the morning, draining pots of coffee and eating while reminiscing about the night before and planning for the day ahead.

During the season of perpetual visitors, may we humbly suggest you keep this recipe in your back pocket? That and those life-changing pumpkin scones we posted last week. With both recipes you can measure out the wet and dry ingredients the night before so that you only need mix and stir in the morning. Happy hosting!

Apple Butter Pancakes With Walnuts and Maple Syrup

Makes eight 3-inch pancakes 

To me this amount of batter is perfect for 4 weekday appetites. If it’s the weekend, you may want to double the recipe. Sprinkling the pancakes with 1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts or pecans wouldn’t hurt one bit.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each: salt and baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup each: buttermilk and apple butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons flavorless oil, such as canola or vegetable, plus extra for brushing pan
Maple syrup for drizzling

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Measure buttermilk, apple butter, egg, and oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup (Ingredients can be measured the night before; cover and refrigerate milk mixture).

When ready to make pancakes, heat griddle or large skillet over strong medium heat and generously brush pan with oil. Dump wet ingredients into dry ingredients all at once; whisk until just mixed, adding a little water to make batter thick, but pourable.

When water splashed on the surface confidently sizzles, pour batter, about 1/4 cup at a time, onto the griddle, making sure not to overcrowd the skillet. When pancake bottoms are brown and top surface starts to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes, flip cakes and cook until remaining side has browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Serve with maple syrup.