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Eric Akis: Gingerbread pancakes make a festive holiday breakfast

Your kitchen will fill with the enticing aromas of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom
Gingerbread pancakes rich with a palate-warming mix of spices are topped with whipped cream and oranges. ERIC AKIS

If you want to spice up a holiday breakfast in a festive and seasonal way, get out your griddle and make gingerbread pancakes. They are not difficult to prepare and as they cook your kitchen will fill with the enticing aromas of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.

To make the pancakes, those ground spices were combined with the other dry ingredients needed for them: flour, brown sugar, orange (or lemon) zest, salt and leaveners, baking powder and baking soda.

The wet ingredients for the pancakes included milk, eggs and a bit of sour cream. Some molasses was also mixed in, a key ingredient added to gingerbread, whether it’s a cookie, cake or pancake, which richen its taste and deepens its colour.

When the wet and dry ingredients are combined and cooked, you end up with nicely puffed pancakes with an appealing hue and a warm, comforting, gingerbread flavour.

You can serve the pancakes with meat, such as locally made bacon or breakfast sausages, and a seasonal fruit, such as mandarin orange segments. You could also plate and top the pancakes with maple syrup and butter or whipped cream.

Gingerbread Pancakes

Pancakes, flavoured like you would gingerbread cookies or cakes, with ginger, other spices and a bit of molasses.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About four to five minutes, per batch of pancakes

Makes: 12 (four- to five-inch) pancakes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest or lemon zest

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

2 large eggs

1 1/3 cups 2 per cent or homo milk, plus more, if needed

1/4 cup cooking molasses (see Note)

2 Tbsp sour cream

• soft butter, to taste

• vegetable oil spray (optional)

• maple syrup or whipped cream (optional), to taste

• mandarin orange segments, to taste, for garnish (optional)

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, zest, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, if using, in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Place eggs in a second bowl and beat until yolks and whites are well blended. Beat in sour ream, and mix in the 1 1/3 cups milk and molasses.

Combine dry and wet ingredients, mixing lightly until a smooth batter forms. Let batter rest five minutes. Give the batter a stir, and mix in 1 or 2 Tbsp more milk, if you find it too thick.

Preheat a non-stick, electric griddle to 350 F, or set a large non-stick skillet or cast iron griddle over medium heat. When hot, lightly butter or oil spray the cooking surface.

Cook the pancakes, in batches, by pouring on the batter in four- to five-inch rounds, leaving a two-inch space between each pancake. Flip the pancakes when a few bubbles appear on the surface. Cook for two minutes more, or until the centre of the pancake springs back when gently touched.

Serve the pancakes with maple syrup and butter (or whipped cream) and mandarin orange segments, if using.

Note: Cooking molasses is sold in the baking supply aisle of grocery stores. For sweeter pancakes, you could replace it with fancy molasses. Don’t use blackstrap molasses here. It has a more bitter taste and would not work well in these pancakes.

Eric’s options: If you want to serve the pancakes all at once, keep the first ones you cook warm, on a baking sheet, in 200 F oven until all are cooked.

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.

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