American Pancakes (Regular and Vegan options)

We almost never make pancakes in my house because palačinke, or Croatian crêpes (side note:  palačinke = crêpes. That is how an American will perceive and relate to them as. Do not translate them as pancakes! They are not even close! You’ve been warned. :)), are our usual Saturday breakfast. But since moving to Europe, pancakes pop up every once in a while when my Croatian husband feels a little nostalgic for the States, and I run out of eggs (another side note: this recipe is easily turned vegan if you substitute almond milk for cow’s). Growing up, the only time we would ever really have pancakes was if we went to IHOP because children were pay by weight–as in, if your kid weighed 50 lbs, you paid 50 cents for their meal. Which worked out brilliantly for my dad since I did ballet and weighed like zero pounds (high metabolism and good genes). That wasn’t often because my family rarely ate out, but as a result I always had a negative association with pancakes because I remember wanting to eat off the “adult” menu once I got to a certain age, but couldn’t! This changed a few years ago when I stumbled upon this glorious pancake house (that is restaurant) hidden away in rural New Jersey, which made the most delicious pancakes and sauces from local, fresh fruits. It was the height of season and so the blueberry and raspberry toppings were out of this world good. Now whenever I make them, I fondly remember that meal and try to channel it into my cooking.

Pancakes are not meant to be a health food, but I serve them with yogurt and slightly cooked down or caramelized fruit (like bananas or blueberries) so they aren’t too bad. In the US, they are traditionally served with maple (or some kind of chemical, artificial tasting) syrup, but that’s too sweet for me.  Although, the kind they have up in Montreal is to die for, so if you can get your hands on theirs, seriously go for it. And maple syrup flavored sugar….mmmmm. If you are looking for more of a thicker, traditional blueberry syrup, this one looks really good.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk (preferably whole, never skim and almond if vegan)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter

Mix together all of the ingredients–except the butter–until they are just incorporated (you don’t want to aerate it too much, so if it is a little clumpy, that’s fine. they break up during cooking).

Next add the butter to the pan on medium heat. Once melted, carefully pour into the batter, stirring as you do so. Return the pan to the heat and with a ladle, drop a bit of the batter into the middle of the pan. If the pan is big enough, you can cook multiple pancakes at the same time, but I always prefer to use smaller pans and do them one at a time. Cook until you see bubbles popping and the edges of the pancake firming up. Flip and cook for another thirty or so seconds. Remove from the pan and repeat with the rest of the batter.

For a banana sauce:

  • 4 bananas
  • sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (or a butter substitute like earth balance)

Slice the bananas up and gently toss in a little sugar. Melt the butter in a pan (i usually use the same one I cooked the pancakes in). Add the bananas and cook until the bananas are soft and super fragrant.

For a berry sauce:

  • blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries
  • sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (or butter substitute), to grease the pan

Melt the butter in a pan. Add the berries of your choice, sprinkling with a little sugar. Cook down, stirring frequently so that the sugars in the berries don’t burn the pan. If using blueberries, you can pop them after they have cooked a bit and are starting to release their juices. Taste and add more sugar if needed.

Serve pancakes with a dollop of plain (preferably greek, soy if you are vegan) yogurt and topped with the fruit of your choice.

Enjoy!

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