It will be nice to be "home", but I am certainly going to miss the warmth down here! While it did start as a cold, snowy mess when we initially arrived, it quickly warmed up to the 60's and 70's, with brilliant blue skies that stretched as far as the eye can see - we will both be missing that! It will probably take us a couple days to get settled in and get the house stocked back up... for the first time in a long time, I think the refrigerator will be quite bare! In the mean time, I have a snazzy pancake recipe to share!
We probably don't have breakfast-for-dinner nights nearly as often as I (or Jeff) would like, but since I also don't want to ruin the treat factor by doing them too often, I spread them out as long as I can stand it. Being that we were about to leave for Charlotte, I didn't know when the next time we'd be able to dish up homemade pancakes, which was enough cause for me to try out these Carrot Cake Pancakes recently!
For a solid starting point to the batter, we used a combination all-purpose flour, lighter whole-wheat pastry flour and crunchy toasted walnuts. Cinnamon is the first spice that comes to mind when I think of carrot cake, which is certainly included in these pancakes, but we've also tried other cakes that had an appealing complexity to them, thanks to a variety of spices used. If that draws you in, you'll find that same robustness here by also tossing freshly grated nutmeg, cloves and ginger right in with the dry ingredients.
You'll find the usual suspects to moisten the above mixture - tangy buttermilk, brown sugar, a couple eggs, a splash of your best vanilla and to round the ingredients out, just a bit of canola oil. These wouldn't be carrot cake pancakes without the carrots, but how you prepare them, in my opinion, will be the key to how these turn out. Since the batter takes just minutes to cook through, the carrot pieces cannot be very large or you'll be left with uninviting raw carrot bits. I tried using the shredding blade of the food processor to make short work of them, but after doing half a carrot, I thought the pieces were still a bit too bulky.
I almost reached for the box grater, which probably would have worked, but then remembered I had a microplane-like hand grater in the drawer. Using that gave us shreds that were fine, yet not wet or mushy - the one I have is a bit coarser than one you'd use to zest a lemon with. Once the carrots were folded in, the batter was fairly thick and gooey - when you start spooning the batter onto the buttered griddle, be sure to give the mounts a gentle nudge to help them spread out a bit. Because there was only two of us eating, we served our portions directly from the final batch out from the pan. However, if you need to keep them warm until you can get all of the batter used, set the pancakes on a wire rack as they come off and place them in the oven, heated as low as it can go until you are ready to eat.
You could go all out and take these over-the-top by whipping up a lightly sweetened cream cheese spread to smear over each golden flapjack, but because I didn't want to go too crazy for dinner, a dollop of honey butter worked out to be an enticing compromise! I knew these were a winner for us when Jeff said "I can't believe there are carrots in these! I mean, I can taste the sweetness of them in there, but if I was a kid who didn't like carrots, I would still love these!". We did have a few leftover, but those were quickly devoured the next morning - a quick stint in the toaster oven was just enough to warm them back up.
Carrot Cake Pancakes