I'm pretty sure pancakes were the first hot dish I learned to prepare. Even back when I was 8 years old, I was perfectly content to spend Saturday morning in the kitchen cooking up a delicious breakfast, while my younger siblings watched cartoons. (At least until it was time to leave for CCD, thanks, Mom and Dad.)
Just as our taste in TV shows has changed since the days of shows like this, my pancake making has come a long way. This pumpkin spice version is warm and spicy and perfect for a cold, fall morning. Paired with crispy bacon and a steaming cup of coffee, you're guaranteed to be starting your day off on the right foot with these. And if you have leftovers, even better! Pop them in the freezer and indulge in the middle of the week. No one will ever know!
This batch was made for one of my favorite married couples during their recent visit to DC. I hope it convinced them to come back again soon!
First thing's first: brew yourself some coffee! There's no way I could even think about functioning until I've had at least one cup. Or two.
If I'm having an especially indulgent day, before starting the pancakes, I like to fry up some bacon. "Good bacon, good day!"*
Next, assemble your ingredients. The recipe calls for pumpkin puree (canned works fine, or you can make your own - more on that to come), but I only had pumpkin pie filling available. To adjust for this, I cut down the sugar to 2 Tablespoons. They still turned out great, but I would stick with the original recipe if possible.
Whisk together your dry ingredients (flour (and any substitutes you'd like - I used a mix of white and wheat flour along with 1/2 cup of wheat germ), brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, and salt) in a large mixing bowl. Make sure you get out any lumps of sugar!
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, pumpkin, and melted butter.
All at once, add the wet mixture into the dry and mix until just blended. Be careful not to over-mix the batter - the less you handle it, the fluffier the pancakes. It's best to have some visible bits of flour that haven't been fully mixed in.
Next, heat a large, non-stick frying pan or griddle over medium high heat. Here's the trick to see if the pan is hot enough: run the tips of your fingers in cold water and spray a few drops on the pan. If the droplets "dance," or jump off the pan, then it is hot enough. Be sure to spray the pan with a cooking spray like PAM as well. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, spoon the batter onto the pan to form as many pancakes as will fit. Make sure you leave yourself a little bit of wiggle room to allow for flipping.
When the pancakes are ready, flip them. You'll know they're ready when the bubbles in the center begin to pop and the edges start to brown, like this:
Cook until each side is golden brown.
Transfer to a plate in a warm oven, about 250 degrees.
Repeat with the remaining batter. I usually only need to spray the pan before the first batch. Warning: the first batch of pancakes never looks awesome. Consecutive batches will turn out better and better though, so don't worry. And they all taste wonderful, regardless.
Once you've used all the pancake batter, congratulations! You're ready to eat breakfast.
Serve pancakes hot with lots of butter and maple syrup. Pour another cup of coffee or a glass of apple cider, and you are good to go. Enjoy!
*This is a real motto from a real family. A pretty awesome family. And it's totally true!
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 1996
Makes about 15 pancakes
2 cups flour (any mix you would like - I used 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup wheat flour, & 1/2 cup wheat germ)
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups buttermilk (I used sour milk*)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1. Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, and salt in large mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, and melted butter.
3. Pour wet mixture into dry and mix until just combined.
4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and spray with PAM. Once it is hot (when cold water droplets dropped on the pan "dance"), pour batter using a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form pancakes.
5. Flip each pancakes when the bubbles in the center begin to pop and the edges begin to brown. Cook until each side is golden brown.
6. Transfer to a plate in a warm oven (250 degrees) and repeat with remaining batter.
7. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.
* If, like me, you don't keep buttermilk on hand, you can use sour milk instead. Mix 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice with enough milk to yield the desired amount. Let stand 5-10 minutes before using.