Take 1 cup softened butter or margarine and add the flavor of your choice. Consider dates and walnuts, dried apricots and pecans, honey and ground macadamia nuts or the suggestion that follow.
Honey-Pecan Butter: Toast pecans in a 350-degree oven for 8 minutes and cool, then chop. Beat 1/2 cup butter until fluffy, then add 1/4 cup honey. Mix in 1/3 cup pecans.
Autumn Butter: Beat 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar or honey, 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice and 1/4 cup whipping cream into 1 cup softened butter.
Sauces and Dressings:
Yogurt Dressing: Whisk 3 parts yogurt with 1 part honey, molasses or maple syrup.
Blueberry Sauce: Put 2 tbsp of water in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Throw in a generous helping of fresh or frozen blueberries. Cook, partially covered, until they release their juice. If too tart, add a dash of sugar and lemon juice. Serve chunky, or puree in a blender.
Strawberry, blackberries and raspberries work well, too.
Apple-Banana Compote: Slice 1 small tart apple and 1 banana. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet. Saute the fruit until mushy. Serve with maple syrup on top of pancakes.
Applesauce Delight: Puree in a blender 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce, 3 tbsp unsulfured molasses and 1 tbsp sugar. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan. Heat and serve.
Other Excellent Toppings: Top pancakes with toasted pecan halves, sliced bananas or berries, a cup of whipped cream flavored with 1 tbsp of maple syrup, or 1/2 cup of sour cream with 1 tbsp of jam or preserve.