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Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to School Pancakes

I love Christmas. The planning, the preparations, the parties, the shopping, the cooking. The eating, the drinking, the excitement. The last minute wrapping, the pleasant fuzzy haze that is the result of too many late nights. The promising pile of presents under the tree. Irish Cream in your coffee. Believing.

However, by the time New Year's Day rolls around, I am thankful that it's all over. It's January, season of relaxation for a restaurant. We'll have time for all the things that we missed over a busy December, including our own Christmas party. The kids will go back to school, we will slowly un-decorate, and life will go back to normal. Around here, the bus pulls up pretty early: about twenty after seven. Molly and Rowan love a hot breakfast, and that can be challenging. Our solution has been to make up a breakfast menu and mostly stick to it. On Tuesdays, I drive them to school so we have a little extra time, and that means pancakes! This pancake mix was my Christmas present this year to my friends and family, along with a basket of eggs, some peach-ginger syrup, and a good chunk of scrapple, a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty that is a cross between polenta and sausage.  You can make up this mix, store it in a cool place, and have pancakes on the table in no time flat!

Four Grain Pancake Mix
Pancake Mix all ready for giving

4 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1 C. Ground Flax Seed
1 ½ C. Oatmeal
1 C. Cornmeal
½ C. Baking Powder
½ C. Sugar
4 t. Salt

Combine in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Scoop into a resealable bag or jar and refrigerate. When you're ready for pancakes, add to each cup of mix:

1 Egg, lightly beaten
3/4 C. Milk
1 t. Oil
1 t. Vanilla

Maple Syrup or Honey, for serving

Stir gently until combined. Heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat for a few minutes before adding a teaspoon of butter or oil and tilting the pan in all directions to coat. Spoon in pancake batter and let cook until the edges look dry and bubbles have formed on top. Flip, cook another minute or so, then turn onto a plate and eat with maple syrup or honey. Add more butter or oil to the pan for subsequent batches.

You can also add 1 C. fresh or defrosted berries to the batter, or 1 C. diced apple or banana. Or really any fruit.

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