For the past few weeks Aaron and I have been starting our days with Pancakes. Pancakes of all types. It was getting to be a bit too chilly to do our morning smoothies, and one day we did a pumpkin smoothie...I guess this was the strike point for change, because the next day we tried some Paleo pumpkin pancakes and we haven't looked back since. Every day is a different pancake. We've done flax meal, buckwheat, oatmeal, banana, blackberry, oh gosh, I seriously have lost track at this point. Pancakes can easily become totally over the top. But we're not kids anymore...so over the top is not what we're looking for. This is the meal that we are starting our day with and the last thing we want is to feel like we need to go back to bed after eating some big pile of heavy stuff. And I almost feel like when you make lighter or healthier pancakes that they're much more interesting. There are all different textures...some are a thin batter and can almost be crepe like...some are super thick but light and fluffy, and some can be dense but full of only good stuff.
The other day on Facebook I asked friends to tell me about the best pancakes they ever had. I had no idea what a lively conversation it would turn into. It was so much fun! I saw that I wasn't the only one coming back throughout the day to check on new comments. We were all checking out each other's favorites and probably taking notes. Many of 'em were suggestions for places all over the country...and man, did that make me and Aaron want to get out on the road and do a pancake tour, like Sal Paradise eating apple pie all across America.
Here are a few highlights from that Facebook convo:
-Natalie from Bake & Destroy and Lisa both say that we MUST go to the Bongo Room in Chicago.
-Christine swears by the Sweet & Spicy Gingerbread Pancakes with fresh strawberries and real maple syrup at the Magnolia Cafe in Austin.
-Michelle talked about loving German Pancakes with lemon and powdered sugar.
-We had a couple people talking about Orange Pancakes. Lisa told us about Swiss Orange Pancakes with a warm orange sauce from the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem Mass.
-Dano told us about Ricotta and Cornmeal Pancakes with Wild Blueberries and Lemon Curd in Toronto...and we trust Dano...he's a chef!
-Amanda told us about Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes at Snooze, in Denver. Giant fluffy pineapple pancakes covered in caramelized pineapple chunks drizzled with creme anglaise.
-Pecan Pancakes and Blueberry Pancakes at Pancake Pantry in Tennessee.
And seriously...the list went on and on...there were so many awesome sounding variations. We want to try them all!!
Pancakes have always been one of my fave things to get at a diner. Living here in Jersey (the birthplace of the diner) we've got diners all over, and they're open very late if not 24 hrs. So on a night after seeing a band, or after working really late, or on the way back from a long road trip...Pancakes are my go-to meal at a diner. Definitely was my thing...and if not that...then it was the grilled cheese and fries. I could go either way...depending on if I wanted a "sweet" or a "salt".
This morning Aaron and I decided to go with classic Pumpkin Pancakes. They are quite thick, but not mega heavy...just very fluffy. We stirred 'em up by hand but you could use a blender or cuisinart to blend your wet ingredients to make it as smooth as possible if you'd like.
1 1/2 cups milk (we use vanilla almond milk)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons oil (we use canola oil)
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour (we have used whole wheat pastry flour as well as all purpose)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Have your griddle or skillet ready to go. We use a large cast iron skillet.
In a large bowl combine your milk, pumpkin, egg, oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, whisk well.
In a separate bowl combine your flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Combine well with a fork.
Now a little at a time stir the dry ingredients into your pumpkin mixture. Don't over mix, just make sure they are combined.
Now warm the griddle over medium heat. Add a bit of oil or spray to prevent sticking. Our favorite tool for pancake making is an ice cream scoop. It pours the perfect amount of batter. We normally do 3 pancakes at a time in our griddle.
All pancakes are a tiny bit different as far as cooking time. But the rule of thumb is to flip them once you start seeing little bubbles forming around the edges. Pumpkin pancakes are a bit thicker than some of our other pancakes so they take a tiny bit longer. Just check them.
As we make our pancakes we keep a plate and the lid of of a large pot to our side. And it keeps them hot til the very last pancake is flipped.
We are pure all natural maple syrup fans. And of course you need butter...but we go a bit healthier and use Smart Balance light with flaxseed oil. ;)
We'd LOVE to hear about your favorite pancakes! So seriously, leave us a comment with a link to your blogged recipe, or you can even just tell us about a diner or vacation breakfast you had 15 yrs ago! We love hearing this stuff!! I'm hungry all over again after writing this!
xo Jenny & Aaron