Disaster pancakes: Better than they sound.


I will come clean and admit this much: I have never been much of a breakfaster. A bruncher, sure. But if given a choice between cooking a hot breakfast and sleeping an extra fifteen minutes? Give me the snooze button and a bowl of cereal, any time.

…and this is exactly why I probably should have considered it a warning sign when I woke up on Saturday with a maddening desire for Real Breakfast. If I’d been clever, I would have gone back to bed. But nooooooo. I wanted to MAKE something to eat!

Specifically, I wanted to make pancakes. (This was convenient, as after rooting around in the fridge I determined that pancakes were the only thing we had the ingredients on hand for.) Even more specifically, I wanted to make gingered pancakes, which I’d had at a diner in Austin, and just couldn’t stop thinking about.

(My, what’s that? Could it be a whiff of impending doom?)


In a stunning display that proves that I should not be allowed near a source of flame before I’ve had my morning coffee, I managed to more or less fuse a layer of the non-stick spray that I was using to the frying pan (I know, it sounds weird), filling the house with smoke and turning the inside of my pan a rather terrifying shade of black. Yep, the world’s biggest fan of slow and low turned the heat up too high and made her kitchen smell like the green room at a beauty pageant–melted, smoky, and stinking to high heaven. It’s a miracle I didn’t set the whole place on fire.

Catastrophe was averted only because Bench heroically disconnected my smoke detector before it started screaming, and managed to calm me down when all the pancakes started turning black, too. Not exactly burnt, just black on the outside. Yeah. Suffice it to say, not my finest moment.

Fortunately, there was redemption: even though they looked like hockey pucks, they were fluffy, spicy, and delicious–perfect.

So, lesson learned: turn down the heat, invest in a nonstick griddle. Simplicity itself. However, the next time I’m craving gingered pancakes, I think it would be best for all involved if I made them for dinner instead; I’ll leave breakfast to Bench, who is quite a glad hand with scrambled eggs. You, I think, don’t need to be so cautious–if you have a good grasp of what your stove is capable of (or a more highly evolved self-preservation instinct), I recommend you make these as often as possible.

Gingered half wheat pancakes

1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1c buttermilk
2 tbsp melted butter
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod (you can substitute in 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
2tsp (or more) ground ginger

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the egg and buttermilk; mix well
  3. Add the melted butter.
  4. Cook a quarter cup at a time on a lightly oiled griddle (or nonstick pan)–the pancakes will be about 3.5-4in in diameter. Flip when bubbles start to form in the center.
  5. Serve with bacon and maple syrup (or fresh fruit. or anything, really.)

As an aside, next time i’ll probably spice things up with a little crystallized ginger…but I bet they’d be awesome with blueberries, too.

In breakfast, pancakes, recipe, tastes better than it looks

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