Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pumpkin pancakes

If you had to name your #1 go-to easy comfort food, what would it be?

At first thought, a plate piled high with macaroni and cheese comes to mind.  Or chicken pot pie.  Gosh, it's been a while since I made either of those...

But then I think about the time it takes to make either of those dishes.  Are they worth it?  Absolutely.  But are they appealing to an uncharacteristically lazy cook who doesn't want to wait long for sustenance?  Not so much.

Enter breakfast foods.

My coworker and I have a shared love of breakfast food, especially when it's eaten outside of the traditional breakfast time window.  I can't tell you how many times we've sent text messages in the evening recounting our dinners of eggs, bacon, and toast.  When one of us is unsure of what to order for lunch that day, the other will chime in with, "You know you're going to end up ordering breakfast."  Sometimes, it's a simple bowl of oatmeal with a sliced banana that turns out to be exactly what we wanted.  Food soul sisters, for sure.

On a cool and rainy day last week, we were discussing how our respective plans for dinner weren't appealing to us in the least.  To be honest, I don't remember what I had on the menu; all I can tell you is that it wasn't pancakes.  And pancakes were exactly what I wanted.

It's funny how, when you're in a certain mood, once-coveted foods like lobster and filet mignon might as well be dog food because they simply aren't that one item you desperately crave.

When a craving like this hits, I've finally learned that I should just indulge it.  Ignoring it and sticking with what I think I should have usually means I'm unsatisfied and still yearning for said craving.  A second lunch/dinner later, I'm finally content.

No need for multiple meals or even dessert because these pumpkin pancakes hit all the right notes!

Fresh pumpkin is mixed with your everyday pancake batter that's been doctored up with an array of classic fall spices like cloves, ginger, cinnamon and allspice.  I love taking something ordinary and making it extra special with a few simple adjustments.  The pumpkin flavor really shines through with each fluffy bite.

Topped with a pat of butter (how bad can that be?) and some warm maple syrup, comfort food has never looked this good and been this easy.  A piece of cake short stack!

Delicious breakfast-time comfort can be yours any ol' time you're in the mood for it :)

Pumpkin Pancakes
(adapted slightly from this recipe)
-makes 12-14 pancakes

A few notes: This recipe can be easily halved; use only the egg white for easy division of ingredients.  Also, a side of bacon or breakfast sausage served as a savory counterpart to the pancakes would be divine.

1 1/2 cups milk, plus more as needed
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 egg
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat griddle to medium high heat.  In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a large bowl, whisk milk, pumpkin, egg, vinegar, and vanilla.  Gradually stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until mixed.  If batter is still on the thicker side, add one tablespoon of milk at a time to thin it.

Coat griddle with butter or nonstick cooking spray.  Pour 1/4 cup portions of batter onto the griddle for each pancake.  Cook until bubbles begin to form on top, flip, and cook 2-3 minutes more.  Serve with (more!) butter and warm maple syrup and enjoy!

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