December 16, 2007

Gingerbread Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 egg, at room temperature

Whisk together the egg, molasses, butter, sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl or measuring cup until smooth. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the spices, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly whisk in the egg/milk mixture. There should be no pockets of unmixed flour or large lumps. Batter will be rather thick. Allow the batter to sit while you spray a frying pan or griddle with nonstick spray or melt 1 tablespoon of butter to coat. Heat the pan so that it feels warm when you hover your hand over it. Add about 1/4 cup of the batter into the middle. Cook until bubbles begin to appear and pop. Flip. Cook for about 2 minutes. Both sides should be golden brown.

Yield: about 5-6 mid-sized pancakes.

Spring this recipe!

My thoughts:
This morning I had the yen for gingerbread pancakes. Not that I had ever had them before, but they sounded tasty and seasonal. I didn't think I'd have to make up my own recipe for them, but after seeing what was out there I thought it was best to start from scratch. I wonder if the recipes I found for gingerbread pancakes derive from one source* because the vast majority of them call for somewhat odd-in-a-pancake-recipe ingredients like water and coffee. This frankly doesn't seem to make much sense to me because, well, water is just water-thin and tasteless and coffee, except when used in tiny amounts with chocolate, has a tendency to make everything taste like coffee. I wanted the pancakes to have a rich, full gingerbread flavor with the texture of a traditional American pancake. It made more sense to me to use buttermilk as the sole liquid, it added some depth of flavor and its reaction to the baking soda make the pancakes light and fluffy. I kept the molasses (which strangely, most recipes didn't call for, isn't molasses one of the key flavors of gingerbread in cake or cookie form?) to a minimum because I don't really care for it, but I thought the pancakes needed that background of flavor to really taste gingerbread-y. Not to mention the fact that too much molasses would result in a very sticky batter that might caramelize on the pan. I added some gingerbread spices to the flour and I was done. The result: light fluffy pancakes with the authentic flavor of gingerbread.

*Perhaps the Magnolia Cafe in Austin? They seem quite renown for their gingerbread pancakes, even my husband has had and enjoyed them there.