Gingerbread Pancakes & Holiday Brunch
Christmas for me has turned into a much longer and complicated ordeal than it used to be, returning, in a way, to that Child of Divorce dynamic where I had two families to celebrate with, except that now it's a happy state of affairs. I'm on my fifth day of Family Christmas celebrations today – having already had a Pre-Christmas dinner with my partner's grandparents, Christmas Eve brunch (pancakes by me) and dinner with his immediate family, a massive Christmas Day lunch/afternoon/evening with nineteen of his family members, Christmas movie night with my family (White Christmas, naturally), Post-Christmas brunch (gingerbread pancakes!) and soon, another Christmas dinner. For years, Christmas celebrations consisted of a Christmas Eve meal at home, Christmas morning pancakes, and an outing to our favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner. To say it's changed would be an understatement. Still, that one recurring aspect of Christmas through the years are my Christmas brunches, whether they're for my friends or family. My absolute favorite thing to serve during these brunches are gingerbread pancakes. My favorite recipe for these come from Williams-Sonoma (like so many of my favorite recipes... I swear Williams-Sonoma is a cult that I very happily belong to). They've completely changed my holiday brunch game, so I'm happy to share them with you today!
Gingerbread Pancakes (Adapted from Williams-Sonoma)
The original recipe says this serves 4, but my last batch made only six pancakes, despite my following the batter spooning instructions closely, so I've doubled this because who in their right mind wants to eat less than two pancakes on a holiday?!
2 1/2 cups/ 500 g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon (heap those teaspoons!)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (definitely don't heap)
1/2 cup/ 100 g brown sugar*
3 eggs + one egg white**
4 tablespoons/ 80 g molasses
4 tablespoons/ 56 g of melted butter
1 1/2 cups water
*This originally being an American recipe, it calls for "firmly packed dark brown sugar", but since that's hard to find and literally costs eight times as much as normal sugars here in Switzerland, I use normal brown sugar or cane sugar for this and it works just fine!
** The original recipe calls for 2 eggs and would thus call for 4 eggs when doubling, but I find it a bit too eggy for me, so I'd recommend going with 3 eggs + a fourth egg white unless you really like eggs (I don't)
Preheat an oven to 220°F / 100°C. (I like to put my pancakes on a foil-lined sheet in the oven while the others cook to keep them warm and to make sure the insides are perfectly cooked. So pre-heat now and don't cover your pancakes with foil or they'll become soggy.)
Place a large griddle or large frying pan* over medium heat. (It'll need a bit to heat up so you might as well do this now. I always forget and lose time.) A note on this for European readers below! **
Prepare two mixing bowls – save the larger one for the dry ingredients and the smaller for the wet.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in the larger mixing bowl and whisk together.
Combine sugar and eggs in the smaller mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the melted butter and molasses. (The original recipe adds the molasses first, but having the tablespoon coated with butter makes serving the molasses a million times easier. I did it the other way around the first time I made them and it was hell on earth. Just make sure you don't leave traces of butter in the molasses.) Add the water and whisk all together.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir. Leave some small lumps, though the lumps aren't as important as when you make buttermilk pancakes.
Check that your griddle or frying pan is hot enough. If a drop of water immediately boils and evaporates, then you're good to go! Lower to low-medium heat. Brush with butter.
Laddle 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle or cooking surface of choice. Cook until bubbles appear, anywhere between 2 and 4 minutes. If you can't easily insert a spatula under the pancake, then it's not ready to flip. If it is, then carefully flip, with confidence***, and cook the other side for approximately a minute.
Transfer cooked pancakes to your prepared, foil-lined oven sheet and keep in the oven until they're all done.
Serve the gingerbread pancakes with ample servings of maple syrup and something savory like bacon or salted, oven-roasted baby potatoes to counteract the inevitable sugar coma. My mom likes hers with an egg on top.
*I have this griddle and while I don't like to push loads of kitchen appliances, this one really does make a big difference and is worth it if you make pancakes or big breakfasts frequently. I made these in normal frying pans earlier this week at my in-laws and not only did I need to use three of them to be as efficient, but flipping the pancakes was nowhere near as easy.
**Europeans, if you have an electric crepe griddle, then this is not the right time for it. I've made pancakes on one before and because they get so hot and usually don't have temperature settings, the pancakes burn on the outside and stay raw on the inside! Frying pans instead!
*** Seriously, if you're hesitant about it, ugly things will happen to your pancake. Believe in your flipping skills and go quickly!
These gingerbread pancakes are by far my favorites – I love them more than their buttermilk cousins, and I wait all year for them to be "appropriate" again.
I hope you enjoy and are all having a pleasant post-Christmas week!