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Gingerbread Pancakes

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.

Ingredients:

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 

Directions:

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).