Tag Archives: pancakes

Gingerbread Apple Pancakes

23 Dec

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In a somewhat circuitous turn of events, I seem to have created pancakes out of a cake. It started off innocently enough, with an apple sitting on the counter and the arrival of cold weather igniting a fierce craving for gingerbread. A gingerbread apple cake sounded lovely, and I started off with every intention to make just that.

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The problem was, it took me a few minutes of prep time to realize that while I was standing around in the kitchen preparing to make gingerbread, it was barely 9 o’clock in the morning. Even I have limits when it comes to gauging the appropriate time to make and eat cake, so there had to be some quick thinking involved if I was going to salvage the potential gingerbread project. Though I admit that there is but a fine line that separates a full-fledged cake from a plate of tiny little pan-cooked cakes, it still seemed like making pancakes at 9AM was a more acceptable practice than churning out a cake as such an hour.

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It’s interesting to see what turns a project can take, and these pancakes are no exception. With the pleasant bite of molasses paired with cinnamon and ginger, these are definitely a treat of a breakfast, perfect for a special morning or a holiday brunch with family. But these are also a somewhat virtuous breakfast offering, boasting the heartiness of whole wheat flour combined with the rather demure additions of applesauce and shredded fresh apple. If you are one to drench your pancakes in maple syrup, these can no doubt make for a breakfast of supreme indulgence. If you are like me, however, and can no longer tolerate the joys of unadulterated maple syrup consumption, a dollop of plain or lemon yogurt will make these pancakes shine in a slightly more responsible manner. Either way, they are a joy to eat, and a wonderful treat on a cold winter morning.

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Last Year: No-Knead Apple Bread

Gingerbread Apple Pancakes

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch of allspice

¼ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups milk

1/3 cup molasses

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small apple, peeled (if the skin is tough—my apple had a very thin skin, so I left it on) and grated, then squeezed in your hands a bit to remove any excess moisture (I ended up with about ½ heaping cup of shredded apple)

¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder, spices, and salt. In a medium bowl, or in a very large measuring cup, whisk together the remaining ingredients.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir or whisk to combine. Use a gentle hand when mixing, since over-mixing the batter will result in some very tough pancakes.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over low heat. Spoon batter onto hot griddle and cook until the pancakes appear a bit dry along the edges and bubbles begin to form and barely pop on the surface of the pancake (this can take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes). Gently flip the pancakes over and cook for an additional 2 to 5 minutes (again, depending on the heat of your griddle), until the pancakes are brown and somewhat firm.

Keep cooked pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven while you cook the remaining batter. Serve pancakes with maple syrup, applesauce, or yogurt. Serves 4 to 6 people.

Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

17 Sep

How many pancake recipes does one person really need to have? If I were to nail things down to their very basic elements, maybe my answer would be that a person only needs one single pancake recipe, that recipe being this one, which never fails to produce the most perfect pancakes every single time. Then again, if you’re in the mood for a slightly more health-conscious pancake, a pancake fortified with multiple grains, no refined sugar, and no saturated fat, perhaps you’d prefer to only have on hand a recipe like this one, a multi-grain blueberry pancake that never fails to please. Would that be all? Does anyone really need anything else in the way of pancakes?

Having just made these unbelievably wonderful lemon pancakes, my answer would definitely have to be a resounding yes. Dear lord, yes. Intensely lemony, perfectly light, and punched up with the brightest blueberry sauce you can imagine, these pancakes are giving my previous standbys a run for their money.

Of course, these pancakes satisfy a different element of pancake worthiness. Whereas the pancakes I usually favor are a simple affair that are comprised of standard pantry and refrigerator staples, these pancakes are a slightly fancier endeavor. Loads of lemon zest, a good dose of yogurt, and fluffy egg whites make these pancakes a special treat, something with the taste characteristics of a lemony muffin, but with a heavenly lightness. Their front and center lemon flavor just begs to be paired with a fresh dose of berries, so I complied by topping everything off with a dead-simple berry sauce that brings out all the right notes of what just might be my new Saturday morning breakfast treat. These are pancakes, stepped up, and you definitely don’t want to miss out.

Last Year: Black Pepper Buttermilk Biscuits

Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce Recipe

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup milk

finely grated zest of 2 lemons

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted then cooled slightly

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, separated

1 large egg white

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, melted butter,  vanilla, and 1 egg yolk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and gently whisk together until just barely combined.

Now would be a good time to start heating a cast iron skillet or nonstick skillet over low heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk the 2 egg whites together until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, mixing until just combined.

In a skillet that has been preheated over low heat (if you have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, you should not have to oil it prior to cooking the pancakes, but if your skillet tends to allow food to stick, very lightly oil the skillet with a tiny bit of vegetable oil), drop batter ¼-cup at a time, onto the skillet. Cook pancakes on one side until they have risen a bit and appear somewhat dry at the edges, with numerous deflating bubbles on the surface (this can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes for the first batch of pancakes). Flip pancakes over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove cooked pancakes to individual plates to be covered with berry sauce and eaten immediately, or place pancakes on a wire rack set on a baking sheet, then keep pancakes warm in a 200-degree oven until you are ready to serve them. In any case, eat the pancakes as soon as possible, for maximum deliciousness.

Blueberry Sauce

3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen are both fine

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and place over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the fruit just softens, roughly five minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until about half of the mixture is blended into a liquid and the other half remains slightly chunky.  If you are not a fan of textured sauce, feel free to puree the sauce until it is completely smooth, or until your desired texture has been reached. I wanted a super textured sauce, so I hardly pureed this batch at all.

Esquire Pancakes

29 Mar

Many years ago, I was a longtime subscriber to Esquire Magazine.  This was while I was also a longtime subscriber to the New Yorker, as well as a subscriber to both Harper’s and the Atlantic.  For those of you counting, that totals four magazine subscriptions, one of which is a weekly with which, as I have mentioned before, I have an extremely difficult time keeping current.  In an effort to stop the ominous growth of the pile of unread magazines growing higher and higher each month, like bricks in the wall of my own magazine prison, I had to start letting magazine subscriptions lapse.  Esquire was the first to go.

It’s not that I didn’t appreciate Esquire.  It’s just that, overall, the other magazines in my arsenal happened to speak more clearly to my own interests and concerns.  I showed an at least passing interest reading about mail-order meat, or the intricacies of what men think about what women think about underpants, or $12,000 suits made to order by a 75 year-old tailor in Italy, but it’s just that Esquire seemed to contain content that I found interesting, say, 50% of the time, whereas the other magazines I received tended to hover around a more respectable 70%-90%.  This is not a slam against Esquire, of course.  I am clearly not in their target demographic, so our parting was really just a matter of time.

There is, however, one item from Esquire for which I will be forever grateful.  About five years ago, Ryan D’Agostino wrote an article for Esquire about his favorite recipe, written on a slip of German hotel stationery, that he carries around in his wallet.  It was a simple recipe for pancakes, but it was also D’Agostino’s signature recipe, the one he made at a friend’s vacation house, and the one he made for his wife before she was his wife.  The pancake recipe was simple, but surefire.  And I am here to attest that, without fail, they are indeed the best pancakes I have ever eaten.

Taking a cue from D’Agostino, I cut out the picture of his recipe and put the slip of paper in my own wallet.  I have made his pancakes while on vacation, while visiting family, and while camping (I just put the liquid ingredients in one container, the dry in another, then combine them when breakfast calls—which is another point I’d like to make: these pancakes, cooked in a cast iron pan over a campfire?  Unbeatable).  I have at least seven other cookbooks with basic, no-frills pancake recipes in them, and not one of those other recipes even comes close to being as perfect as this one.  For a recipe gleaned from a magazine I stopped receiving two or three years ago, that’s a pretty good track record. I can’t say I’ve gotten that much mileage out of that one article I read in the Atlantic about Mexican drug cartels but, you know, there’s still time.

Last Year: Black Bread Rolls and Food for Traveling

Esquire Pancakes Recipe

Adapted from Ryan D’Agostino in Esquire

Keen observers will note that the one change I have made in D’Agostino’s recipe is in regard to the amount of sugar in the pancakes.  I prefer a less-sweet pancake, so I make these with 2 teaspoons of sugar, rather than D’Agostino’s suggested 2 tablespoons.  You can use whichever you please, to no ill effect.

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 ¼ cups milk

3 tablespoons melted butter

Combine dry. Beat egg. Combine wet. Mix wet into dry. Stir until barely mixed. Can be doubled, tripled, etc.

Cook pancakes, ¼ cup of batter at a time, on a well-oiled or seasoned skillet set over medium low heat.  Flip pancakes when bubbles on surface begin to pop, and the edges of the pancakes are just beginning to appear dry.

Top with maple syrup or lemon yogurt.

Makes 8 pancakes of medium-large size.

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