January 30, 2011

Ampersands & Pancakes

"They ate the buckwheat cakes with butter and Log Cabin syrup out of a tin Log Cabin can. The top of the chimney unscrewed and the syrup poured from the chimney. They were both very hungry and the cakes were delicious with the butter melting on them and running down into the cut places with the syrup."
--"The Last Good Country," Ernest Hemingway
It's a shame that this story was left unfinished. But it also left me craving something besides an ending: pancakes. And so, it seemed, there was only one reasonable thing to do: get to making some, stat.

Considering that (1) the tastiness level of Hemingway's plain buckwheat pancakes appeared to be highly correlated with the amount of Log Cabin syrup poured on top, but (2) I had no such Log Cabin syrup on hand, I decided to recreate an old favorite that would be delicious on its own, no syrup required: M&M pancakes.

I'm mystified as to why M&M pancakes haven't swept the nation yet. Alarmingly, a search for M&M pancakes on allrecipes yields 0 results. Unacceptable! Even worse, when I ask people if they like M&M pancakes, I'm invariably surprised that they're surprised that such a thing exists. Why this simple and delicious concept hasn't caught on with more pancake lovers everywhere is beyond me. On the fun and taste scales, they're leaps and bounds beyond chocolate chip pancakes.

I was lucky enough to encounter my first M&M pancake as an undergraduate at UCLA. You could only find them at one of the four dining halls on Tuesday mornings before 11 a.m. The thing was, you might show up at the right time, and they wouldn't appear — but most weeks they would. Those pancakes, and my equally enthusiastic morning dining companion, made Tuesday breakfasts the highlight of many a week.

Since UCLA colors are blue and gold, all it took was a bit of sorting to create school-spirited pancakes. I'd like to dedicate tonight's pancakes (which I had for dinner, on a Sunday...) to the culinary genius at Rieber dining hall who first introduced me to their greatness.

Ampersand Pancakes (M&M or Cinnamon&Oat)
Dry Ingredients
-1 cup flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
-1 cup vanilla soy milk (or cow's milk)
-2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
-1 egg

And lastly, either:
-Dark Chocolate or regular M&Ms (amount dependent upon intensity of chocolate craving)
or, for the Cinnamon & Oat variation:
-1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
-dash of ground cinnamon
-brown sugar, to taste

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients in a large bowl until combined, then whisk in the dry ingredients until most of the lumps are gone.

Lightly grease a nonstick skillet and set to medium-high heat. Test the heat by sprinkling a drop of water in the pan; if it sizzles right away, it's ready. Spoon the batter into the pan and then gently spread the batter in a circular motion with the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle M&Ms (as many or as few as you like) on the surface of the pancake. When bubbles rise to the surface of the pancake and begin popping, it's ready to flip. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes on the other side until both sides are golden brown and the inside no longer seems doughy. Continue making more pancakes in the same fashion. This recipe yields about 6-7 large pancakes.

Cinnamon & Oat variation:
-Prepare the batter the same way as the M&M pancakes, but as the last step, add in 1/2 cup of quick-cook oats and a dash of cinnamon before spooning out the batter into the pan. Crumble some brown sugar on one side of the pancake as it cooks in the pan before flipping over.

No comments: