by Molly Bradley
Stop letting the crowds, trends, and your late-morning lie-ins determine your brunching fate. Start making the city’s best brunch in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Let’s face it: as great as you want it to be, the ritual of brunch is a monstrous thing. Trying to wrangle a group of friends who all live in different places and wake up at different hours, to go to a popular restaurant and wait at least an hour in line to get in, just to eat long past when your raging hunger has wilted to a sad ache in your stomach? It’s a true test of friendship, and not our idea of a fun weekend morning.
Of course, the alternative is still daunting: invite a group of friends over and cook a lavish brunch that you can trust to both feed and satisfy everyone? It might seem impossible. But that’s just because you don’t have a host of secret (brunch) weapons in your pantry — yet.
So here’s a roundup of five treats that will guarantee you not only a delicious brunch, but one more unique and outstanding than what you’d get at the same place you’ve been going all year. Plus, these products are homemade by local artisans who really, really care about making food taste good.
- Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake Mix
Sure, you could try to find the perfect blueberries that’ll stay good for the morning of your brunch, and you could buy a big jug of buttermilk that winds up being way more than what you use for your brunch buttermilk pancakes — or you could make the fluffiest, most delicious pancakes with Christina Maser Pantry’s pancake mix. Because Christina Maser hand-makes products with enormous care, you can basically call these pancakes homemade.
- Maple Cube
Did you know maple comes in cubes? Surprise! Maple syrup is about to start looking real basic. This is the perfect way to add sweetness and maple flavor to anything: coffee or tea, oatmeal, and, of course, pancakes. You can still have syrup on the table, but serving this maple cube on a saucer, with a tiny grater (try a nut grater, or you can buy Tonewood’s maple cube and grater as a set), is the perfect elegant and original touch for your brunch.
If you’re not familiar with ghee, an introduction: it’s butter with the water cooked out and the milk solids caramelized and strained, so that what you end up with is a luxurious, supple, creamy, perfect butter to spread on — well, everything. (Seriously.) Aside from its alleged health benefits, ghee is just plain more delicious than regular butter, and it spreads on like a dream. Use it raw for pancakes, toast, muffins, oatmeal, and whatever else is on the table.
The foodmaker, Simply Ghee, also sells a honey ghee. Both come with our full endorsement.
- Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Marmalade
The name says it all. Skip the ordinary strawberry jam and grape jelly in favor of this tangy, mouth-watering combination of lemon and blood orange. Plus, marmalade always just feels fancier.
- Pecans from Our Daily Eats
Our Daily Eats is located in the Hudson Valley, and grows and roasts some of the freshest, most delectable nuts we’ve ever tasted. Serve them plain as a snack or garnish, or roast them with butter and sugar as a topping for pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal.