My partner-in-crime and food-taster-in-chief, Patrick, has a job that gives him Thursday and Friday off instead of the regular weekend. This makes Wednesday night great, of course. But he's often a little down on Friday, as he anticipates entering the work week before everyone else. The least I could do to start things off right was a surprise of homemade pancakes for breakfast.
One thing you gotta know about me is that I hate waste, especially relating to food and during this economic downturn. (It's probably got somethin' to do with my Chinese upbringing that emphasized not wasting even a single grain of rice. There's even a poem about this -- no joke.) So no surprise that I chose pumpkin pancakes to use up the pumpkin puree and cream cheese frosting left over from cupcakes I made earlier.
This recipe produces fluffy yet moist pancakes with a pumpkin flavor that really shines through. And cayenne powder (just a pinch or 2) has become a regular in my spicy sweets ever since I made those ginger cookies. But the kicker has got to be the syrup. The tanginess of cream cheese, milky richness of sweetened condensed milk, and decadent creaminess of both. My breakfasts don't usually sound so much like dessert, but with the colder weather upon us, I don't mind this indulgence one bit.
Pumpkin Pancakes with Cream Cheese Syrup [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Martha Stewart via Baking and Books
Makes about 8 4-inch pancakes
XIAOLU'S NOTE: To save time in the morning, you can separately mix the dry and wet ingredients the night before. The next morning, just let the wet mixture warm up for a bit. Then combine with the dry mixture and cook as directed below.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon wheat germ
(I forgot to add this but I'm sure it adds great texture and nutty flavor)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of cayenne powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
1 cup buttermilk (I substituted 1% milk plus 1 teaspoon vinegar)
vegetable oil for the pan
Cream Cheese Syrup
3/4 cup cream cheese frosting (any kind but I used extra from this recipe)
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk, or more to taste
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, wheat germ, baking power, baking soda, and spices. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg until thoroughly combined, then add the oil, molasses, sugar, pumpkin, and buttermilk. (Cover and refrigerate the liquid mixture at this point if making ahead.) Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk gently until the batter is mostly mixed but still contains small lumps. Let batter rest while pan heats, at least 5 minutes.
XIAOLU'S NOTE: My gas stoves always run hot, so I never turn the heat above medium and more often than not, it's lower than that.
Heat non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add a few drops of oil and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Pour pancake batter onto hot griddle approximately 1/4 cup at a time. When the edges start to dry and bubbles appear on top, flip to cook the other side. Keep pancakes warm in an oven heated to 275 degrees as you repeat the process to cook the rest of the batter.
To make the syrup, simply mix all the ingredients together until smooth. You can play around with the proportions to get the perfect sweetness/thickness for you.