Christmas Tree Crepes with Gingerbread Spice Whipped Cream are simple to make and the perfect way to start your Christmas morning! Make them all month long for a fun & festive way to celebrate the season without a lot of hassle!
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Every family has one – the story of the Christmas tree that just. wouldn’t. stand. up. Turns out that 2016 is our year to experience this delightful tradition. We got our Noble Fir at a local Christmas tree lot on Monday night and got it all set up and decorated. But the next day it looked like it maybe wasn’t quite as straight as it had been the night before, just not enough that we thought to do anything about it. So it was both horrifying and hilarious when, while we were all sitting at the table eating dinner together that night, the tree toppled right over with a huge crash.
Our 5 & 2 year old girls were fairly traumatized by the sight of crushed glass and strands of lights strewn about the living room. Especially when Clara (our oldest) discovered that her namesake ornament, Clara from the Nutcracker, was broken, along with the Tinkerbell ornament that is our other favorite. Poor Tink got decapitated and had her wings snapped off. It was a grim sight. While the grown-ups were able to see the hilarity in the tragedy and were more annoyed by the water from the tree stand that was soaking into our less-than-a-year-old-carpet, our little Clara was in tears over the devastation.
So the next morning, with a tree sitting forlornly in the middle of the living room stripped of all it’s decorations and somber girls waking up to a reminder of the trauma from the night before, I knew I needed a win. And Clara gave it to me when she requested crepes for breakfast. I had a flash of inspiration and these Christmas tree crêpes with gingerbread spice whipped cream were born.
We love eating sweet crepes (or more accurately, crêpes) at our house. They are one of our favorite breakfasts and our girls ask for them on a regular basis. Paul and I fell in love with crêpes when we were visiting Paris during our first summer of law school. I had eaten crêpes before, but never really fell in love with them until eating a piping hot sweet crêpe right in front of the Eiffel Tower. Which is perhaps the best place to fall in love with crêpes after all.
Crêpes are so much fun because you can fill them with whatever you desire! Paul loves Nutella and sliced bananas in his crêpes. Clara likes strawberries and Nutella. I like raspberries and blueberries with sweetened whipped cream. Rose, well, she’s still 2 so she basically demolishes the crêpe and doesn’t care what’s inside yet. But you could also fill them with apple pie filling, butter & sugar, fresh peaches & cream (another favorite combo of mine) or even just jam.
But to make them into Christmas tree crêpes, all I really needed to do was add a little green food coloring to the batter. It’s a trick I have used with pancakes on St. Patrick’s Day, explaining to Clara that sneaky leprechauns did it, but I had never thought to dye crêpe batter. It worked splendidly – better than I expected actually – and the girls were thrilled! Although Clara did ask me whether leprechauns had done it, lol.
The gingerbread spice whipped cream was the other part of the equation that makes these really extra special and Christmasy. It was a last minute addition that I didn’t actually plan out until I had the freshly whipped cream on the table, when it popped into my head that adding a bit of spice to it would make it just that much more magical. Gingerbread spice is a mix of cinnamon and ginger with a little allspice, nutmeg, and cloves and adding it to sweetened whipped cream is just delightful and the perfect way to finish off these crêpes with seasonal flavor!
Honestly, crêpes could easily be bland since they are mostly just flour, egg, water and milk, which is why they are so often filled with wonderful things. But really, these ones could be eaten plain because of the addition of a little sugar and vanilla and almond extract. I actually put plain leftover crêpes in Clara’s lunchbox sometimes and she loves it. The really great thing about these sweet crêpes is that they can be made year round (no need to add food coloring to them every time unless you really feel like it) with ingredients you already have on hand.
These Christmas tree crêpes can be made in a regular frying pan, or if you have one, a crêpe pan. If you end up making crêpes often, it’s totally worth it to invest in a good crêpe pan. We have this one and love it, although the handle does start to get a little hot towards the end of the crêpe making process when I’m pouring the last few crêpes. To serve as Christmas trees, drizzle each crêpe with a little Nutella, if desired, then fold in half, then in fourths to make a quarter circle. Layer them in the same direction on a plate, slightly offset like in the photos and gently lift the top flap of each crêpe, gently spooning some gingerbread spice whipped cream in. Then top with raspberries and blueberries or whatever other fruit or toppings might look like ornaments, like pomegranate arils, halved grapes or even sugared cranberries or chocolate chips. Dust with powdered sugar if you want a “flocked” look for your Christmas tree crêpes and then devour!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk (but skim works fine)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and eggs. It will mostly come together in one large mass. Slowly add the milk and water, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition to create a smooth batter. If you add too much liquid at once, it will be harder to get rids of lumps and have a smooth, consistent batter, so take your time and keep whisking. Stir in the salt, sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract.
Heat a lightly oiled crêpe pan or medium-size frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Using a measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and tilt the pan in a circular, swirling motion so that the batter covers the bottom of the pan in a thin, even layer.
Cook each crêpe for 1-2 minutes, until the bottom barely starts to brown and the surface of the crêpe goes from glossy to matte, then carefully flip the crepe with a spatula and cook the other side for 1 minute more. Transfer each crêpe to a plate and repeat the process until all the batter has been used up.
To make into Christmas trees, drizzle each crêpe with a little Nutella, if desired, then fold in half, then in fourths to make a quarter circle. Layer them in the same direction on a plate, slightly offset and gently lift the top flap of each crêpe, gently spooning some gingerbread spice whipped cream in. Then top with raspberries and blueberries, dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.
If making these crêpes like normal, serve hot with nutella, fresh sliced bananas, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, jams or apple pie filling and sweetened whipped cream. Or whatever other toppings you can think of!
In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream on high speed with a hand mixer until medium peaks begin to form, but do not overmix. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extract, if using, and the gingerbread spice. Mix again, just until incorporated, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
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