Ok, ok, so I realize it’s not really “pumpkin season,” that time between Halloween and Thanksgiving where pumpkins are prominent in many a patch, front porch, and recipe. During the rest of the year they are not to be seen or heard from until fall comes round again. Unless you’re like me, and you have several leftover cans of the stuff staring at you woefully from your kitchen cupboard, begging to be used in one form or another.
I had many ambitious goals for pumpkin recipes this past fall. There was going to be pumpkin breads, cheesecake, and cookies, along with several new recipes for the classic pie. Unfortunately, time caught up with me and I think I just barely got around to baking up some pumpkin muffins, and these pumpkin pancakes. Hence the extra cans of pumpkin hanging out in my kitchen.And so, with a few sad, lonely cans still staring at me from the cupboard, I decided that March is a perfectly acceptable month to eat some pumpkin. Especially when it’s a Saturday morning and I’ve got a pancake craving something fierce.
Even though there is all this talk of pumpkin, these pancakes don’t necessarily scream the ingredient to me. The flavor is there, but only subtly. What the pumpkin really brings is a moistness in texture that makes for the perfect sliceable stacks of pancakes. The combination of spices are what shine through the most. Cinnamon, ginger and clove transported me back to my fall, my favorite season, even though spring is right around the corner.
If you come from a family like mine, where pancakes came consistently from a box of Bisquick, the homemade version might seem a little unusual. But they really aren’t any more difficult, and even though I love me some Bisquick, they are a nice change of pace.
You’ll start by whisking together the dry ingredients. In this case it’s flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. This recipe calls for whole wheat flour, but you would never really be able to tell. The addition of cake flour helps to keep them light and fluffy. And since it’s mainly whole wheat flour, I get to trick myself into thinking that eating pancakes is somewhat healthy. Pretty sneaky right?
The next step is to mix together the wet ingredients. This recipe calls for buttermilk, which I was out of. But I didn’t freak out, because did you know, that you can make your own buttermilk at home? It’s true! And I’ll explain it in two simple steps.First, milk meet lemon juice. Hello lemon, you look mighty fine today. Why thank you milk, you’re not so bad yourself. Second, mix them together and let the mixture sit for about ten minutes. You’ll start to see it get a little lumpy, that’s good! It means you’re making some buttermilk! The common ratio for homemade buttermilk is 1 cup milk, to 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. You’ll never be without buttermilk again!
The buttermilk gets mixed together with the pumpkin, eggs, oil, vanilla and brown sugar. It’ll look a little something like this:
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, until it just comes together. Lumps are ok in pancake batter, you just want to make sure the dry stuff is mixed in until it disappears.
Now it’s time to cook up some pancakes. Heat up some butter or oil in a pan over medium high heat. Drop the pancake batter by the ladleful in to the pan. Wait for a few bubbles to appear on the top, then flip them over and cook for a minute or two more on the other side.
I’m not exactly a rock star when it comes to pancake making, especially the flipping part, but pancakes are not meant to be perfect. They’re meant to be tasty. I find it usually takes me a few tries to figure out the perfect temperature to cook the pancakes at. As you can see I wasn’t paying attention for this batch and the edges ended up a bit dark.
So if you've got a few woeful cans of pumpkin hanging around in your kitchen too, I highly recommend cooking up a batch of these bad boys.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
From Pinch My Salt
1 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 C. cake flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1 C. buttermilk
1 C. canned pumpkin puree
2 T. oil
1 t. vanilla
2 T. dark brown sugar
In a large bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients (whole wheat flour through nutmeg). In a separate bowl, whisk together the last six ingredients (buttermilk through brown sugar).
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and blend together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Lumps are ok; just make sure all the flour on the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. If batter seems too thick to pour, you can gently stir in a little more buttermilk.
Drop pancakes by ladleful onto a medium-hot griddle. Pancakes are ready to turn when the edges start to look a little dry and you can see small bubbles forming on the surface.
Notes: You may substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour if that’s all you have on hand. You may also use only whole wheat flour, just increase whole wheat to 1 1/2 cups and omit cake flour; pancakes will be just a bit heavier. Light brown sugar or white sugar may be substituted for dark brown sugar. If you have it on hand, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice can be used in place of the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.