So… it’s October.
And there’s this “Pumpkin Spice” craze going on, I guess.
I think it started with some coffee chain with a seasonally flavored latte, or maybe a certain grocery chain offering pumpkin-flavored everything under the sun.
Anyway, my hubby mentioned wanting Pumpkin Spice Pancakes, but he didn’t feel like stopping at said grocery chain. Since I had just finished roasting a sugar pumpkin (I was craving pumpkin muffins and wanted to try making them with homemade pumpkin puree, rather than canned… but I digress), I nonchalantly said,
I can make pumpkin pancakes.
Sure! Why not? Forget that I had never done it before. I had my grandmother’s trusty homemade pancake recipe that I had tweaked in various ways over the years (whole wheat flour, chia seeds, blueberries, etc.). Why couldn’t I figure out how to make pumpkin pancakes too?
Experimenting in the Kitchen
So, “Pumpkin Spice Pancake” day rolls around, and it becomes one of those days… you know, when the earth and spirits collide to make your life just a little bit harder. My toddler didn’t nap long enough; two clients finally got back to me about some jobs they needed done; the kids were a little hungrier, crankier, and generally more clingy than usual; and we promised my five-year-old that we could carve a jack-o-lantern that night. Plus, to top it all off, I had to prep the next night’s dinner ahead of time, so time in the kitchen was a bit crunched.
Regardless, as soon as hubby came home, it was time to get off the computer and start cooking.
The Day Of
After grabbing the vegetables for the homestyle potatoes, I started getting out the various ingredients for the pancakes. I know basically what goes into my grandma’s base pancake batter, but I fished out the recipe to double-check it, just in case.
Next, I had to grind the flax seed. Rather than buy pre-ground flax meal, I like to grind the seeds fresh in a coffee grinder so I know the natural oils haven’t gone rancid. Plus, this way they give the pancakes a spongy, doughy texture that hubby really likes.
Now, time for the good stuff: pumpkin puree and, of course, the spices. It was at this point that I realized,
I have no idea what goes in to “pumpkin spice.”
What is Pumpkin Spice?
Of course, some of you probably already have a little jar or bottle in your pantry labeled “Pumpkin Spice” that came with all the right ratios of cinnamon to ginger to clove. But, I didn’t have one of those bottles. Plus, I really prefer to put together my own medleys so I can tailor them to my and my family’s tastes.
So, what is “Pumpkin Spice?” Turns out, it’s mostly cinnamon, with some ginger, nutmeg, and clove to round it out. Seems easy enough, right?
Then I realize I have no idea how much “spice” to put in my recipe. Since I’m using homemade pumpkin puree, I don’t even really know how much pumpkin I have.
But, I found an easy “pumpkin spice” recipe online that I was sort of able to tweak and reduce to a proportion that seemed reasonable for what I was working with.
All in all, I have to say I’m pretty proud of how this turned out! The pancakes ended up with a good balance of spice, and the pumpkin flavor was present but not to overwhelming… and not too subtle either. After a little butter and syrup, the earthy flavor of this delectable fall fruit came out quite nicely.
Want to try ’em yourself? Here’s the recipe:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (I like to use a mix of unbleached white and whole wheat flours)
- 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar (can substitute regular white table sugar)
- 1 tbsp freshly ground flax seed (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
- Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, flax seed, baking powder, and spices) together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add egg, milk, and oil; mix well (I find a large whisk makes it easier to get all the flour mixed in).
- Fold in the pumpkin puree.
- Heat griddle or frying pan on medium high heat until very hot (test the pan temperature by flicking a few drops of cold water onto the pan; they should sizzle immediately and loudly).
- Pour or scoop the batter onto the pan to desired pancake size.
- Brown on both sides.
- Serve warm with your preferred toppings (you can get creative here: try whipped cream and roasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds, or maybe apricot preserves with powdered sugar).