Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Maple Cider Glaze

Is there anything more stereotypically fall than pumpkin? And by pumpkin, I of course mean pumpkin spice, because if you asked the opinion of tweens and young adults everywhere what their favorite fall flavor is, it would absolutely be pumpkin spice, but if you presented them with pumpkin puree, most would turn their nose up entirely. In fact, I think pumpkin is notoriously a missing ingredient in the infamous pumpkin spice latte (which isn’t that great, guys? like, it’s pretty good, but try one from a local coffee shop. way, way better). Now, don’t get me wrong: I LOVE PUMPKIN SPICE. I also love pumpkin, but particularly when it’s flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. So you can hate me; I’m predictable. But I would say the best argument for pumpkin spice (outside of the aforementioned, over-popular latte) is pancakes.

Pumpkin spice pancakes are little soufflés of joy. Cake-like and fluffy from the pumpkin puree, made expertly more delicious by the combination of cinnamon and maple syrup: they are the reason to be excited about breakfast in fall. (I’ll take a step to the side for a moment to say that pumpkin spice waffles are totally amazing as well, I just don’t have a waffle maker. Eh hem, future secret Santa). Instead of maple syrup, I made a maple cider glaze to top these pancakes to switch things up. It is delicious, although I’m usually partial to a traditional version. The glaze is simply outstanding when poured on top of some whipped, melting butter, though, so I’d advise you try it.

Ah, I just love weekend breakfasts. My next job will start after 10 am…

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Don’t worry; coffee makes its way into that mug

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Maple Cider Glaze

Serves 2-4

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup all-purpose, mixed)

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

1 cup organic milk, anything but skim

1 1/2 tbsp. butter, melted

1 egg

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Maple Cider Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tbsp. maple syrup

2-3 tbsp. apple cider

 

In a mixing bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk lightly, until the batter is just incorporated. Allow to rest.

Prepare the cider glaze by mixing powdered sugar with warmed maple syrup and cider, adding in intervals to achieve a thin consistency.

Heat a skillet to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or a non-stick pan over medium heat. Lightly butter the skillet or pan surface. Add the batter and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the underside is lightly browned and bubbles appear on the surface. Flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes until the opposite side has browned and the pancake is cooked through.

Serve immediately, in a photographically-pleasing stack, with maple cider glaze poured over the top. Enjoy with coffee (maybe even a pumpkin spice latte).

 

 

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Birthday Pancakes

I’m 26 today! It may be windy and cold in Chicago, but the sun is out, and I’m feeling the love from family and friends here in the city and far away on the East coast. Time to celebrate and start the day the best way I know how: with a mountain of fluffy pancakes.

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Birthday Pancakes (Chocolate Chip and Pecan)

Serves 1-2

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tbsp. sugar

3/4 cup milk

1 tbsp. butter, melted

1/2 whisked egg (sorry that’s inconvenient; double the recipe to make it “normal”

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. dark chocolate chunks

1 tbsp. pecans, chopped finely

Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, melt the butter. Add half of a whisked egg, 3/4 cup milk, and vanilla. Whisk together the wet ingredients and pour over the dry. Using a whisk or a fork, lightly mix the batter until just combined. A few lumps here and there are fine. Set the batter aside to rest for 5-10 minutes. It’s relatively thick batter; it makes them extra fluffy.

Heat a griddle to 350 degrees. Have canola oil, grapeseed oil, or butter available to lightly grease the pan.

Chop the chocolate and pecans and mix in a small bowl. Set aside.

Pour about a teaspoon of oil or butter onto the griddle and spread with thinly.

Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour the pancake batter onto the griddle. Use the bottom of the measuring cup to swirl the batter into a circle (the batter will be thick). I was able to make 4 5-inch pancakes. Sprinkle the chocolate and pecans onto each pancake, and press them lightly into the batter.

Allow the pancakes to cook for about 3 minutes, until the batter is just bubbling (since it’s so thick, it won’t be as obvious as usual, especially with the pecans and chocolate covering the top). Once the underside is done, flip the pancakes and cook another 3 minutes, until golden brown and cooked all the way through.

Top with a pat of butter, some sifted powdered sugar, and, of course, maple syrup. This was incredibly filling, but oh-so-fluffy and delicious. An indulgent breakfast for a newly 26-year-old, starting this year RIGHT.

French Toast (Breakfast for Dinner)

I’ve already spotlighted pancakes as a perfect breakfast-for-dinner meal. I stand by those humble ‘jacks as the most iconic and cravable dinner substitute. And, to be honest, I made this french toast for brunch one Saturday. But, I thoroughly support the indulgence of creamy, custard-laden egg bread, fried until crisped and doused in maple syrup. I support it at breakfast, brunch, lunch, and, today, dinner. French toast at your favorite diner-style brunch place (or even classy and/or organic brunch restaurant) seems to be almost unachievable in a weeknight kitchen. The exterior crunch, the fluffy middle, the perfect ability to soak up maple syrup… it all seems lost when you yourself dip your bread in eggs and flop it into a sauté pan. But I’ve dabbled in French toast enough now to make a bold statement: it can be done in your own kitchen and on your own time. It does involve a bit of a splurge on one uncommon ingredient- egg bread- but from there it’s really the usual suspects that transform bread into an indulgent almost-dessert (but it’s not; it’s breakfast. it’s fine). Please, please, please so much try this at home.

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French Toast

Serves 4-6

1 loaf egg bread (or Challah or Brioche bread), sliced into 1 inch slices

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. salted butter, to cook

Heat a griddle to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, or heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, honey, and vanilla extract. Pour the custard mixture into a wide dish. Soak 2-4 slices of bread at a time, allowing to rest in the custard for 2 minutes per side.

Butter the griddle or sauté pan and add slices of coated bread. Cook for 3-4 minutes then flip; the custard should be browning and crisping in places. Allow to cook another 3-4 minutes on the alternate side. Plate to serve, best with toppings of butter, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and a heavy pour of maple syrup. If serving later, keep the French toast warm by placing between towels on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven.

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Pour syrup on top, watch the butter run all over the French toast, think about sleeping in maple syrup, lift fork, and dive in.

Classic Pancakes

I have tried (what feels like) hundreds of pancake recipes trying to find the perfect Saturday morning pancake. Traditional buttermilk, straightforward mixes, Bisquick pancakes from my grandma, oatmeal pancakes, pumpkin pancakes, and more… all of these have made their way into my kitchen some weekend morning. But nearly every time I try a new recipe, always not quite certain that the last one was the right one. I’ve certainly made some very good pancakes, some I’d even call absolutely delicious, but the classic pancake seems to be the most elusive. I can’t promise that these pancakes will be your perfect classic pancake, but they’re definitely the best I’ve had so far. So good I’m sure I’ll make them again. Maybe so good they’ll be my staple (everyone needs a regular pancakes-for-dinner recipe). They’re fluffy but not pretentious, and they take on a dose of maple syrup like a champ. They’re not too heavy, but they’re also not insubstantial. They’re pancakes, guys. Let’s just eat them.

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Classic Pancakes

Adapted from this recipe

Makes 8-10 pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 all-purpose, 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 large egg, room temperature

1 cup milk

2 tbsp. melted butter, slightly cooled

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Softened butter and real maple syrup, to serve

In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter, egg, and milk until well combined. Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract at whisk. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk slowly, until the flour is just incorporated. Let the batter set; a few lumps are fine.

Heat a griddle to 350 degrees F, or a large skillet over medium heat. Use a small dab of oil or butter to grease the griddle or skillet, or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle or skillet and heat the pancake until the edges are just browning and small bubbles appear on the top of the batter, approximately 3-4 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until browned on both sides. Repeat the process until all pancakes are cooked. If you have any extras, cool the pancakes on a cooling rack and freeze for later use (pancakes reheat in the toaster to almost-good-as-new).

Stack the pancakes as high as you can and top with real! maple syrup. A dab of butter won’t hurt. A couple pancakes actually isn’t too bad to start your day, calorically, and may even make up a healthy-but-indulgent breakfast with a side of fruit.

And maybe you’re having breakfast for dinner; I certainly won’t stop you. After all, how can you think of maple syrup pouring over pancakes and not want to whip up a batch ASAP?

Perfect-Classic-Pancakes-Po

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Yea, it’s time for pancakes. The good kind.