Traditional gingerbread spices—cinnamon, ginger and cloves—flavor these tender cakelike pancakes. Molasses gives them an appealing light brown color. Don’t worry if they appear a bit thicker than the typical pancake. They are still light and tender. Serve the pancakes with orange blossom maple syrup or regular maple syrup.
For the orange blossom maple syrup (optional):
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp. orange flower water
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbs. light molasses
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup water
To make the orange blossom maple syrup, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the maple syrup. Pour into a small bowl or pitcher and stir in the orange flower water and vanilla until well blended. Serve warm. Or, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Warm over low heat before serving.
Preheat an oven to 250°F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, molasses, 2 Tbs. of the melted butter and the water. Add the brown sugar mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. There will be some small lumps.
Place a large griddle or fry pan with low sloping sides over medium heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle and then immediately evaporate. Brush with some of the remaining melted butter.
For each pancake, ladle about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until small bubbles appear and the edges start to look dry, about 4 minutes. After 3 minutes, lift a pancake to check if the underside is done; do not let the pancakes darken too much. Carefully turn the pancakes over and cook until lightly browned on the other side, about 1 minute more. Transfer to an ovenproof platter and place in the oven to keep warm; do not cover the pancakes or they will get soggy. Repeat with the remaining batter and butter to make about 8 pancakes, each about 4 inches in diameter. Serve the pancakes immediately, accompanied by the syrup. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).