With the holidays right around the corner, it's that time of year where you swap out the spooky decor and PSLs in favor of the man in red and his trusty sidekick, the Elf on the Shelf. While not everyone is a fan of the infamous pixie keeping an eye on their misdeeds, IHOP's Elf on the Shelf holiday menu is a tasty way to pay tribute to the tradition with a lineup of colorful and very festive creations. Whether you were naughty or nice this year, I have a feeling that you'll definitely want to dig into the green "elf sprinkle"-topped pancakes, the festive funnel cake, and all the other delicious choices the chain is offering.
When it comes to the Elf on the Shelf tradition, I'll admit I don't have the fondest memories of Santa Claus' righthand elf, who would show up unannounced to make sure that you weren't misbehaving before Christmas morning. That being said, I'm completely on board for IHOP's iteration, which includes a visit from a Scout Elf at every restaurant during the holidays. While the Scout Elf will be hiding in different spots around the restaurant every day, their only mission is to encourage you to dig into IHOP's new holiday menu.
Alisa Gmelich, Vice President of Marketing at IHOP, explained in a Nov. 4 press release:
Our culinary team returned one morning to our kitchens only to find that Scout Elves had snuck in and created colorful, whimsical food that deserved its own menu — although in typical elf fashion, they left behind a bit of a holiday magic.
This "holiday magic" translates to a limited-edition Elf on the Shelf menu, which will be served at IHOP locations from now until Jan. 1. While I'm usually one to pick a savory brunch item over something sweet, my attention was immediately caught by the chain's "Jolly Cakes," which are four fluffy bright green pancakes that are "topped with sweet cream cheese icing, whipped topping and shimmery elf sprinkles that resemble elf-sized ornaments." If you tried IHOP's Grinch menu from last year, you'll notice that these neon green pancakes and their ingredients sound pretty similar to Grinch's Green Pancakes — and promise to be just as delicious. You can also get them a la carte as a side if you want to try some of the other offerings (which I personally recommend doing).
Anyone with a sweet tooth will want to get the Oh What Funnel Cakes, which is the festive ode to the theme park staple that you never knew you needed in your mornings. To start, you'll get two golden friend funnel cakes that have been topped with powdered sugar and glazed strawberries, according to press materials. The real magic is the whipped topping and the "shimmery elf sprinkles," which elevate the dish into a creation that's almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Meanwhile, on the savory side, you can get a Holiday Ham & Sausage Omelette, which doesn't look particularly festive but promises to be satisfying if you love breakfast meat. In addition to a filling and topping of diced ham and sausage, fire roasted peppers and onions, hash browns, Jack and Cheddar cheese, and a White Cheddar cheese sauce, you can balance the savory with the sweet as its served with three pancakes or your choice of side.
While you might need a coffee to wake yourself up and be productive after this decadent feast, I'd also recommend springing for the Merry Marshmallow Hot Chocolate, which comes with toasted marshmallow syrup, whipped topping, and, you guessed it, shimmery elf sprinkles.
Because the holidays are the season of giving, IHOP will also be gifting parents with kids 12 and under free food with the purchase of one adult entrée every day between 4-10 p.m. until New Year's Day. In addition to the above choices on the new menu, kids will want to check out the Little Elves Combo, which pairs their choice of one Jolly Cake or 1 Oh What Funnel Cake with a scrambled egg, a strip of bacon, and one pork sausage link.
Again, the elves at IHOP will be whipping up these festive creations from now until Jan. 1, so I'd grab some flapjack lovers and head to your closest location to start the holidays off on the right foot (or rather, flavor).