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whole wheat pumpkin pancakes

January 31, 2011

At Chris’s school, which had an awesome dining hall, they made the most wonderful of wonderful dinners: cinna-chip pumpkin pancakes. They were my favorite thing ever, and I know I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

The problem is, his dining hall was so great that they had way too much variety in their meals, such that I only really got to have this amazing dinner about twice—despite the fact that I spent a full semester there on exchange. I mean, really? So we decided to take matters into our own hands and find a recipe.

Why yes, those are chocolate chips sprinkled on that one pancake, too! I hear they also made a good pairing—I decided to be weird and not try them. 
We first tried this out when we were both at his school, hoping that the proximity would help us compare. That, and we were bored one afternoon. I discovered a version online that included whole wheat flour, which I’m obsessed with in pancakes. So we went to the local earthy-crunchy grocery store to buy about eight different kinds of flour from the bulk bins, searched high and low (in vain) for the cinnamon chips his dining hall used (seriously, they’re hard to find—Hershey’s website’s product finder is a minor godsend), and got to work.

And you know what? With a couple of adjustments, these make a pretty good approximation. We brought the leftovers to his room to spread amongst his friends, and there was a general agreement with us. The whole wheat flour pairs nicely with the pumpkin and adds just a little subtle warmth and earthiness to the sweet fall-flavor of the pancakes. (Sidenote, though: those cinnamon chips can be overpowering, so if you don’t like your pancakes too sweet, you might want to keep it to a half-bag or so.) Plus, they keep you way fuller longer than regular buttermilkers. So when we still managed to have leftover buttermilk after the muffins and the bread that one weekend, we knew what we had to do. Because sometimes (just sometimes), reruns are a good thing.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (1/2 can)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons dark or light brown sugar
1 10-oz. bag (or 1/2 bag) cinnamon chips

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar.
2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and blend together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Lumps are okay, just make sure all the flour on the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. If the batter seems too thick to pour, gently stir in a little more buttermilk. [I probably wound up adding about 1/2 cup of buttermilk in the end.]
3. Drop pancakes by ladleful [I use a 1/3-cup measure] onto a medium-hot griddle. Pancakes are ready to turn when the edges start to look a little dry and you can see small bubbles forming on the surface. Makes about 13 pancakes.

Source: adapted from Pinch My Salt

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