Tag Archives: maple syrup

Adaptable Pumpkin Pancake Recipe (Halloween Is Everyday)

Gentle Readers, seasonal eating is great, but rulebreaking also tastes delicious. Why store food or have pantry-safe items if not to violate the rules of the season? Enter Pumpkin Pancakes. Having developed a serious taste for the Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake mix, and lacking any spare boxes, it was time to take action.

Adaptable Pumpkin Pancakes with a side of bacon and walnuts. Winning!

Adaptable Pumpkin Pancakes with a side of bacon and walnuts. Winning!

For those out there who are Halloween fanatics, rolling in pumpkin lattes and beers, this post is for you. Usually, I would tell you to avert your eyes, because I will not touch either of those beverages. Pumpkin, in my humble opinion, belongs in pies, custards, and pancakes. Especially pancakes.

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix is both festive and mildly generic looking.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix is both festive and mildly generic looking.

I don’t drink pumpkin, as delightful as Harry Potter makes it seem. Maybe I’m Vitamin A deficient this week, but wow, these rocked. I ate the leftovers cold.

Adaptable Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

For the sake of testing, I used Trader Joe’s Pancake and Waffle Mix. Any pancake mix should work, or make your own and adapt from there.

Use the pumpkin puree, get orange pancakes!

Use the pumpkin puree, get orange pancakes!

To pumpkinize, make 12- 14 pancakes according to recipe (using about 2 cups of the pancake mix), adding 1/2 can pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING, the plain stuff), 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (assuming  a plain mix), and 2 Tablespoons sugar (I used vanilla sugar, because I can). You can omit oil in the recipe if you’d like, but I added a smidge for texture.

Vanilla Bean Buried in a Jar of Sugar, Voila, Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla Bean Buried in a Jar of Sugar, Voila, Vanilla Sugar

For those of you that insist on chocolate chips, you can add a handful of those too. I do not care for them in my pancakes.

The pumpkin pancake batter will be thick--you can thin with a bit of extra milk as desired.

The pumpkin pancake batter will be thick–you can thin with a bit of extra milk as desired.

We served with toasted walnuts and maple syrup, side of bacon. They were spicy (not overly, even with that much seasoning, but if your pumpkin pie spice is fresh, back it off a bit and smell the batter first), warm, and wonderfully orange. They aren’t as crispy as some pancakes, but they were fluffy and filling.

Beware, these pancakes are addictive, reasonably nutritious, and available year-round. What’s your favorite pancake adaptation?

Send your pumpkins, questions, and food challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Sunday: Weekly Menus on the Road!

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French Toast, Perfected, or “Wow Mama, You Weren’t Kidding.”

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook has long been a fan of French Toast. It’s a great way to use up stale bread, a perfect maple syrup conveyance, and did I mention it’s a natural bacon sidekick? Anyhoo, there are many styles. I grew up on the one egg, some milk, and a splash of vanilla kind using standard loaf bread.

Challah Y'all!

Challah Y'all!

Then I started reading Cook’s Illustrated. If you’ve never experienced their French Toast, you have never eaten French Toast. It was my go-to, but I’d never made the challah version. Until now. I told the Eldest Practical Cook Junior it would be the best she had ever eaten. She was still reeling from a French Toast and fried chicken experience from months ago at a local shop called Sandwhich (I know, apple:tree, what can I say.)

Challah French Toast, Perfected

Challah French Toast, Perfected

Her answer after tasting one bite: Wow, Mama, You Weren’t Kidding. I am not.

French Toast, Perfected

If you don’t have challah, go buy some and let it sit out. Pretend it was an accident, then make this recipe, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. You can thank me later.

1 egg
2 Tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup milk (I’ve used whole fat, skim, whatever you’ve got works)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (don’t skimp)
2 Tablespoons sugar (not a health food people)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
about half a loaf of day-old challah, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

1. Preheat oven to lowest temp, and put a baking rack on a baking sheet in the oven. Heat 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. It will get hot, proceed with caution.

Hot buttery cast iron skillet is key to great French Toast!

Hot buttery cast iron skillet is key to great French Toast!

2.  Meanwhile, beat egg lightly in a shallow pan, whisk in butter, then milk and vanilla, then sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk until smooth.

Saturate, but don't drown your Challah French Toast.

Saturate, but don't drown your Challah French Toast.

3. Soak the challah without drowning it (you don’t want total disintegration here), then fry in butter in the hot skillet. Work in batches, and keep the cooked French Toast warm in the oven.

Keep the French Toast warm in the oven while you finish cooking the batch.

Keep the French Toast warm in the oven while you finish cooking the batch.

Serve alone, or with fruit and bacon. (Recommended.) You will not have leftovers.

Keep your French Toast company with some bacon, and grits, and eggs, and . . .

Keep your French Toast company with some bacon, and grits, and eggs, and . . .

Are you a French Toast fan? What’s your bread of choice?

Send challah, queries, and serious blog challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, Cheesy Rainbow Pasta Toss. (Unicorns not included.)

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Mango and Blackberry Parfait

Gentle Readers, in good faith, The Practical Cook can’t call the following a recipe. But The Practical Cooks Junior were enamored enough of the combination that it warranted a mention. The Eldest said I needed to let you know about it.

Denuded Lime, Blackberries, Trader Joe's Blackberry Juice

Denuded Lime, Blackberries, Trader Joe's Blackberry Juice

And as we eat our weight in apples and citrus in these winter months, it is nice to have a change of pace, a treat from a different climate. So this was our snack the other day, a Mango and Blackberry Parfait. Mango and blackberry pair beautifully, they are gorgeous to look at, and they go with almonds, pecans, or walnuts.

Mango and Blackberry Parfait (not quite a recipe, but lovely nonetheless)

Mango and Blackberry Parfait (not quite a recipe, but lovely nonetheless)

A scoop of granola (Trader Joe’s Mango Passionfruit is an obvious choice) and a dash of maple syrup over the top, plain lowfat yogurt underneath. Done. Winter gloom is banished for a little summer paradise.

What are your favorite fruit combinations? Post a comment below!

Send your fruit combos, questions, and Practical Challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, Weekly Menus, or Wow, It Is Cold Outside.

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An Ode to Pancakes for Supper

The Practical Cook adores going on location, to professional and home settings. There is one stark difference however. I have never been asked into the kitchen at a restaurant. If I’m at your house for dinner, well, I just can’t help myself, sorry. In fact, 9 times out of 10, I come packing ingredients.

So it was that Team Practical Cook landed at Blended Familia‘s house. She could write a book on excellent hostessing, which has clearly been read in draft form already by her youngest daughter, who greeted us by throwing open the door, hugging The Practical Cooks Junior, and shouting my name. That is the way to start a party.

Whole Wheat Waffles Transformed into Pancakes!

Whole Wheat Waffles Transformed into Pancakes!

We had pancakes, sausage, and eggs, and it was fantastic. I’m proud to say that I’ve maintained my baby-holding while cooking skills (thank you push-ups!), and I was inspired by the ease and speed with which a meal for a lot of hungry people came together. The pancakes were the Whole Wheat Waffles Recipe simply made as pancakes. If you’re feeling seasonal, swap the applesauce for pumpkin puree and add a smidge of pumpkin pie spice.

36 Waffles

36 Waffles

Don’t be fussy, take the leap and invite someone over (don’t by shy, I’ll say yes), and turn pancakes into a party. If you give The Practical Cook a Pancake . . .

What’s your favorite quick dinner for friends meal? Post a comment here, or Tweet with #pancakes as the hashtag.

Send maple syrup and a fork to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, once more brings us Weekly Menus (during the most wonderful week of the year, Thanksgiving).

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