Years ago, a friend I hosted made me pancakes with over a dozen ingredients. This was an interesting concept that had never occurred to me. The plain ones had never really appealed to me, but I’d only experienced the simple addition of chocolate chips, which, while making a bit of a difference, had still not converted me to this American tradition. While my palette does not seem sufficiently sophisticated to appreciate over a dozen ingredients at once, I have since adopted my friend’s approach of adding 4-5 items to the mix and now look forward to this treat on weekends. (I’m no purist, by the way, I just work with pancake mix from a bag.)
In addition to chocolate chips, a hint of mint turns out to be an excellent ingredient. (You really do want to be careful with it though as more than a drop or two can overwhelm all other flavors.) I’ve found dried fruits such as dried cranberries and pineapple work well, too, chopped up into little pieces. Various nuts are other fun options, also chopped. In particular, I recently started using some gingersnap almonds (courtesy of Chicago’s very own Mama’s Nuts) that has been delicious (they’re great on their own as well, but that’s another matter..). Right after Thanksgiving, adding some pumpkin pie filling to the batter was a good way to make something of leftover ingredients while varying things up a bit.
Another tweak that I have not tried yet, but came recommended by my friend David Figlio and sounds very intriguing is the idea of sprinkling one side with some Old Town spiced sugar right before turning it over. Apparently this gives it a little bit of brulee crunch and just the right amount of sweetness (especially helpful if you don’t like to use syrup, which I don’t). This approach is definitely on my list to try in the future. What are your favorite twists on traditional pancakes?