There are few pleasures in life that equal a leisurely breakfast. Fueled by coffee, energized by a good newspaper, the best days are planned, and sometimes spent, at the breakfast table.
Unfortunately, those days don’t happen very often. For most of us, breakfast is usually the backdrop to a busy morning, eaten but not necessarily enjoyed. Even those of us who are committed to the concept of a sit-down breakfast can find it challenging to make it happen on a daily basis.
Make-ahead breakfasts can bring a little of the flavor, if not the pace, of a idyllic breakfast to a weekday morning. Fruit-filled pancakes, French toast or yogurt can become an easy, grab-and-go breakfast with some advance planning.
In 2014, cookbook author Molly Gilbert wrote the game-changing “Sheet Pan Suppers.” Her technique of piling an entire dinner onto a sheet pan (technically, a half-sheet or baking sheet, as long as it has a rim for catching liquids) and roasting it in the oven caught on with time-pressed cooks everywhere. Sheet pan suppers are many cooks’ answer to a quick dinner with just one pan to clean, and Gilbert and others have expanded the possibilities with a few breakfast recipes, including one for sheet pan pancakes.
Pouring a whole batch of pancake batter into a sheet pan creates one giant, extra-fluffy pancake that is cut into squares, making it perfect for a portable or hand-held breakfast. Adding fruit, nuts, or crumbled precooked bacon to the batter adds to its appeal. Even for cooks with plenty of time, sheet pan pancakes have the advantage of serving everyone at once, instead of producing one or two servings at a time.
A sheet pan is also all that is needed to make yogurt bark, a breakfast version of the candy bark that is often studded with nuts or dried fruit. For breakfast, the yogurt is topped with granola and berries, and the frozen sheet of yogurt is broken into serving-size pieces just as candy bark is.
Fresh berries freeze well, making them a good choice for yogurt bark, but other fruit works just as well. If the bark is going to be eaten frozen, chopping the berries into smaller pieces makes it easier to eat, but the frozen bark can also be transported in a cup and eaten once it thaws. In that case, whole berries can be used without the downside of trying to chomp through a rock-hard frozen berry.
Fruit also elevates a baking-sheet version of French toast. With the maple syrup already added to the egg mixture the bread soaks up, it’s a more portable way to eat French toast on a busy morning.
Even though the French toast and pancakes cook in about the same time as it takes to shower, dress and find two matching socks for each person in the family, they also freeze well and can be made in advance for the workweek or school week. A minute of reheating in the microwave yields a hot, easy, portable and delicious start to the day.