So two apologies to start out this week. One: I failed to give a much deserved shout-out to the foodie who inspired last week’s Quinoa with Balsamic Sweet Potatoes and Kale. My good friend Bri is definitely one of my very favorite foodie-partners-in-crime, baking-bosom-buddies, adventurers de cuisine, and all-around besties. When a new restaurant opens up, Bri’s always game. When Bri goes on a luxury vacation to Hawaii, she invites me and then lets me cook all week. When I want to sign up for a half-marathon, just so I have an excuse to run 12 miles regularly (because my personal rule is I have to run 12+ miles to be allowed to eat a Paseo cuban roast sandwich), Bri is game. Plus Bri sounds like brie, which is one of the most delicious things ever, so she’s a shoe-in for the best friend category nomination.
ANYWAY, you all have Bri to thank for the Quinoa recipe. Admittedly, my version of her inspiring quinoa dish was far less impressive – hers had walnuts, cranberries, and spinach, but I think my slacker variation was still quite good. She also has a breakfast quinoa recipe that makes oatmeal sound seriously lame, and one of these days I will give it a try and let you know how it goes.
Apology number two: I cannot believe that I have not yet posted this pancake recipe. I thought for sure I put it on the blog ages ago when I discovered these Most Delicious Pancakes Ever, but recently had it pointed out to me by an incensed Seattle Palate reader that I had not. I promise it was an oversight, and I wasn’t purposely holding out on you while you continued to obliviously eat sub-par pancakes.
I fancy mysefl a connoisseur of pancakes. SUE! used to make them for us when we were kids regularly. On my birthday, she’d make breakfast blueberry pancakes with real Vermont maple syrup, and serve them on a plate that said “You’re the Best!” on it. In retrospect, I have a sneaky suspicion that the “You’re” was referring to the pancakes, not the birthday girl. Whatever – if it’s this recipe, the pancakes deserve the honor.
I found this recipe in the Gourmet cookbook a while ago, and since then I would rather have a brick of cocaine in my house than a box of Aunt Jemima instant pancake mix. I’ve had people tell me that I’ve ruined pancakes for them for life because now all other pancakes are inferior. I’m sorry if this recipe has that effect on you, but I don’t feel all that bad about it because these pancakes are so delicious they are totally your coming of age as a pancake snob. First of all, they have baking soda and baking powder in them, making them light and fluffy – not dense, flat starchy saucers. Secondly they have a secret ingredient (cornmeal) that gives them the most wonderful texture, and also allow them to hold up to maple syrup and butter saturation.
In my house, we’re suckers for pancakes on Sundays, in front of the fireplace, after sleeping in. I can always come up with a special occasion as an excuse. Of course sometimes the special occasion is just that we got out of bed in the first place. Other times, it’s enjoying weekend brunch with great friends like Bri. Cook up a special occasion this weekend and try these pancakes. Enjoy!
Blueberry Corn Hotcakes
Click here to print this recipe.
Adapted from: Gourmet Today Cookbook
Time to prepare: 20 minutes
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal (not coarse)
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup well shaken buttermilk (see substitutions below)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries – optional (if using frozen, thaw in a colander under warm water)
Vegetable oil, butter, or bacon grease for griddle
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, powder, soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk eggs and buttermilk in another smaller bowl until well combined. Add to the flour mixture until just combined – do not over-mix. Add more buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time, if needed to reach a workable consistency. (This batter is definitely thicker than box pancake batter, but it also shouldn’t look like muffin batter.)
Add in the blueberries. The batter will be lumpy, and will expand as it stands.
Heat a griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat, brush with oil, butter, or grease. To test when the pan is hot enough, flick a little water with your finger tips onto the pan. If it sizzles, the pan is ready. (Do not let it get so hot that the oil smokes.)
Drop 1/4 cup measures of batter onto the griddle. Depending on the size of your pan, work in batches of 1-4 pancakes at a time. Be careful not to crowd them, they spread quite a bit as they cook.
Flip after 2-3 minutes, when the underside is nicely light-browned. Flip with a spatula, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes until browned.
Serve immediately, or keep warm in the oven on an oven-proof plate. Brush the griddle with oil in between batches, and adjust the heat as needed.
You can find cornmeal in any grocery store in the baking aisle near the flour.
If you don’t have overly-excited people eating these as soon as they come off the griddle, keep them warm in a 200 degree oven.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute plain yogurt thinned with water (greek works exceptionally well), or 1 cup milk plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Allow the milk and lemon juice to sit for a few minutes before adding – the milk will curdle. Stir then add to the eggs.
Usually when you are making pancakes, you can tell that they’re ready to flip when little bubbles come to the surface and pop. This batter is so thick that this never happens. You’ll see the bubbles start to form a bit, but keep checking the underside of the pancake for doneness. Keeping the pancakes to 1/4 cup of batter or smaller will help ensure that they cook all the way through. If you’re having trouble cooking the pancakes all the way through without burning, try turning down the heat, or thinning the batter a bit with milk, buttermilk, or water.
If you’re using frozen blueberries, thaw them out a bit before mixing into the batter. Otherwise, the batter freezes when you add them and is very difficult to work with.
An ice cream scoop works perfectly to portion out the batter. Plus it’s easier to control the batter with the scoop than a spoon or pitcher.
I always find pancakes trickier to make than I think they should be. But monitoring the heat is the majority of the battle. I often will pre-heat the pan for a good 5 minutes on medium, then pour the batter and turn it down a little. Keep checking the underside of the pancakes to see how they are coming along. You want them to be a beautiful golden brown color. Any darker and you’ll end up with burned outsides and raw insides.