When it comes to Austin, I can’t help but think barbecue, Tex-Mex and food trucks galore.
Now, it’s become synonymous with gingerbread pancakes, too.
That’s because in “The Austin Cookbook” (Abrams), of which I received a review copy, there is a wonderful recipe for just that from Magnolia Cafe, a beloved institution that’s not only open 24/7, but serves breakfast anytime.
The book, by food writer Paula Forbes, features more than 80 recipes that give a delicious overview of the city’s culinary traditions, from “Green Chile Queso” to “Mustard and Brown Sugar-Crusted Ribeye” to Bootsie’s Buttermilk Pie.”
Being the ginger fanatic that I am, it’s no wonder that “Gingerbread Pancakes” called out to me.
The pancake batter is suffused with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and even brewed coffee, besides the requisite ginger. The scent of the spices fill the kitchen as you cook up a batch. The coffee adds a slight bitter, earthy edge that goes well with the autumnal spices.
Because the batter is extremely thick, I actually ended up adding two more tablespoons of water to loosen it up a little more. That’s the only change I made to the recipe.
These pancakes are not overly sweet; and they are not airy, but more cakey in texture.
They have the color and taste of good gingerbread. And when a stack is set in front of you, it’s like getting a big, warm hug first thing in the morning.
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup brewed coffee
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking the pancakes
Maple syrup, for serving
Whisk the eggs together in a mixing bowl, then whisk in the brown sugar. Add the buttermilk, 1/2 cup plus 3 to 6 tablespoons water, and the coffee. Whisk to combine.
In another mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined, then add the melted butter. Stir briefly to bring everything together.
Heat a frying pan or a griddle over medium heat, then add a small amount of butter. Pour about 1/2 cup batter per pancake into the pan and cook until each side is golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side. (Flip the pancakes when you start to see bubbles forming on the surface.) You can keep the cooked pancakes warm in a 250-degree oven while you cook the remaining batches.
Note: This recipe makes normal-size pancakes, but if you want giant, Magnolia-size pancakes, simply double how much batter you pour in the pan for each pancake. And be careful when flipping them.
Adapted from “The Austin Cookbook” by Paula Forbes
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More Gingerbread-Inspired Recipes: Gingerbread with Warm Apples and Cider Sabayon