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~ Pumpkin 'n Spice and Everything Nice Pancakes ~

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c7eb9dc5970bA stack of pancakes with a dollop of whipped butter and drizzled with pure maple syrup -- it's an iconic breakfast that few people can resist.  Add a few strips of salty, crisply-fried bacon to the side and even I'll hang around the breakfast table until, astonishingly, I manage to finish it.  A pancake breakfast is special to us Americans and there is lot of evidence to prove it:  All sorts of community organizations host pancake breakfasts as a way to raise money for a good cause, iHop thrives in every town or city, and, when any mother in America announces she is making "breakfast for dinner" it is internationally understood that pancakes are included!

IMG_3618Pancakes are easy to make, which makes it hard for me to understand why so many folks rely on boxed mixes, and, you can fill-up a lot of people, while making them very happy at the same time, for very little money.  I rarely stray from my go-to recipe for ~ My Mother's Day Tradition:  Buttermilk Pancakes ~ (you can find it in Categories 9, 11 or 20), except for pumpkin pancakes which I make, at some point, around the Thanksgiving holiday, and is in fact, a spin-off of my buttermilk pancake recipe.  They are a  indeed a special  change-of-pace treat for this time of year.

Pumpkin 'n spice and everything nice: 

IMG_7592For the dry ingredients:

2  cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2  teaspoons baking powder

4  tablespoons sugar

1  teaspoon sea salt

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon ground ginger

1/4  teaspoon ground cloves

1/8  teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the wet ingredients:

1  cup 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling 

1  teaspoon vanilla bean paste (pure vanilla extract may be substituted)

1  large egg, lightly beaten

1 3/4  cups whole milk

corn or vegetable oil, for cooking pancakes

IMG_7598 IMG_7596~ Step 1.  In a large bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients.

IMG_7600~ Step 2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, vanilla bean paste and egg.

IMG_7605Add the milk and continue to beat until smooth.

IMG_7608 IMG_7617~ Step 3.  All at once, add  wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Using a hand-crank egg beater, while scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, beat until mixture is combined. Do not over mix batter -- little lumps are perfect.

Tip about mixing batter:  Allow batter to rest about 5 minutes -- about the time it takes to heat the skillet in the next step.  No matter what anyone else tells you or what you read elsewhere, do not mix your pancake batter any farther ahead of time than that.  In order to save time in the morning, do what I do:  Mix the dry ingredients together the night before, and, mix the wet ingredients together too.  Let the dry ingredients sit on the counter overnight and refrigerate the wet ingredients.  Mix the two together just before proceeding with the recipe as directed below.

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d14be3de970c~ Step 4.  In a 16" electric skillet, heat a thin, 1/16" coating of oil, not butter, to 350 degrees (medium on my gas stovetop).  Note:  I prefer the electric skillet over the traditional griddle.  It's got a big, flat surface area, which gives me plenty of space to cook and flip 3-4 pancakes at a time and it makes heat control a breeze.

Using a 4-ounce (1/2 cup) ladle as a measure, add ladlefuls of batter for 3 pancakes to the skillet.  Do not overcrowd the skillet.  The batter will spread out, on its own to form 3, 4"-4 1/2"-round pancakes, so, make sure you space the ladlefuls well apart "in a triangular configuration".

Tips on cooking and flipping:  The heat should be hot enough that you hear and see an initial sizzle around the edges of each pancake, but, not hear or see a sizzle throughout the cooking process.  Sometimes it is necessary to adjust the heat as they cook, but, my skillet never leaves the 325-350- degree range.  Pancakes should not be rushed.  When bubbles rise to the surface, which can take 1-2 minutes, they are approaching being ready to gently flip -- but not quite. Pancakes are ready to flip when the bubbles begin to burst and no or little batter fills the holes back up.  When it comes to flipping, be gentle.  Skip the drama -- don't throw them up in the air or slap them over.  The object of the pancake game is to protect their hole-y-ness!

Into the skillet, the batter for each pancake gets added:

IMG_7620When the bubbles that form on the top begin to burst:

IMG_7639It's time to give each "hole-y pancake" a gentle flip!

IMG_7642Stack 'em up, as many as you can eat...

IMG_7677... top 'em with butter & a drizzle of maple syrup...

IMG_7715... indulge in pure pumpkin pancake perfection!

IMG_7748Pumpkin 'n Spice and Everything Nice Pancakes :  Recipe yields 10, 4"-4 1/2" round pancakes.

Special Equipment List:  old-fashioned hand-crank egg beater; large rubber spatula; electric skillet or large nonstick skillet; 4-ounce ladle; spatula

IMG_7679Cook's Note:  The stack of pancakes pictured here today are topped with my ~ Orange Cinnamon & Vanilla Bean Breakfast Butter ~.  I make this compound butter a couple of times a year and keep in on hand in my freezer.  You can find the recipe in Categories 4, 8, 20 or 22!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


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