My sister came to town this weekend, and brunch was in order. I pondered venturing into quiche territory, but when it comes to brunch bang for your buck, pancakes can't be beat. You don't have to get up early to prepare them and the ingredients are always around. Even if you're sleeping and ruin the first batch, there's more batter where that came from. Still, it's not every day that I get to cook for ToastSister (and ToastMom) so I wanted something a bit special. Gingerbread pancakes were the solution. Homey, but with a whiff of cooking superiority. ToastSister says that reading the blog fills her with guilt, all the more so because the recipes aren't that hard--they're just more creative than she's capable of day to day. Here's one more for the list, sister.
I served these fluffy, gingery pancakes with Deconstructed Haroset, yogurt, a million kinds of jam, and bacon. This assemblage of food perfectly meets national standards for brunch balance: Something warm, something sweet, butter, something fruity, and some form of nitrite-laden meat.
The recipe is mostly stolen from Nic at Bakingsheet. I've tweaked (and doubled it) but the heart of these cakes is hers.
Combine in a large bowl:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
a few grounds black pepper
In a seperate bowl, whisk together:
2 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons melted butter
5 Tablespoons dark molasses
Pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff and stir gingerly (haha) until just barely combined. Very lightly grease a large skillet or griddle, and warm over medium high heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time to form small pancakes. (The idea is to make pancakes small enough that your guests won't feel guilty eating more than three.) Flip when tiny bubbles break through the exposed surface of the batter and edges start to solidify, approx. 2-3 minutes. Lightly brown other side. If you're making several batches, stash 'em in a 200-degree oven while you make the rest.
Serves 4 extremely generously when slathered with marmalade or maple syrup.
UPDATE: I served leftovers at room temperature with warm baked pears and ice cream for dessert. A dinner guest noted: "They're like gingerbread blinis!"