I don’t like real maple syrup. It doesn’t do anything for me, and I just don’t really like it. I like the fake stuff. Log Cabin, Aunt Jemima, full of corn syrup and other nastiness, and resembling real maple syrup about as closely as margarine resembles butter, or nacho Doritos resemble actual nachos. But I can’t help it. It’s what I like, even though I know it is totally uncivilized. Since I can’t exactly talk about making pancakes on this blog if I cover them in fake maple syrup, I decided to forgo the “maple” altogether, and come up with some other delightful topping for my Sunday morning flapjacks.
I had blueberries in the freezer, and some simple syrup in the fridge, so I put those over a low flame, along with a splash of Nantucket Nectars lemonade, since I didn’t have any lemons, and I needed some tang. That lemonade is pretty tart, so I went with it. I cooked it down until it was syrupy, and put it aside to make the pancakes.
I use the basic pancake recipe from The Joy of Cooking. They are all pretty standard, milk, flour, eggs, butter, baking powder, most recipes are pretty similar. I wanted to add some vanilla flavor. The recipe calls for optional vanilla extract, but I wanted even more flavor than that, so I boiled the milk with a vanilla bean first, then scraped out the seeds into the milk and let it cool.
Then I proceeded with the pancakes as instructed, whisk dry ingredients together, whisk wet ingredients together…
and then whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Butter in a hot pan, then batter in the pan, then voila…pancakes. I like thin pancakes rather than big thick fluffy ones, so I often add a bit more milk than called for in the recipe. The pancakes take two or three minutes on each side until they are brown and cooked through. They each got some butter and then the tasty pile got some blueberry syrup. And I enjoyed the heck out of them.
Vanilla Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup (serves 4-6)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbls sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups milk
1 vanilla bean
3 tbl butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup simple syrup (or half cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup water)
juice from one lemon (or 1/4 cup Nantucket Nectars lemonade)
To make the syrup:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat, until liquid is reduced and syrupy. Put aside.
For the pancakes:
Heat the milk and the vanilla bean to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, remove vanilla bean from milk and split lengthways, scraping out the seeds. Return the seeds and the bean to the milk, measure 1 1/2 cups and let it cool, any left over can be discarded. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the vanilla milk, the melted butter, eggs and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together until combined.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add butter for cooking, and then use a paper towel to rub the butter on the bottom of the pan and remove the excess. Use about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. When the batter begins to bubble and the bubbles pop, the pancakes are probably ready to flip. Flip and cook for another two minutes or so, until golden brown. Remove pancakes to plate, and pour on the syrup. Enjoy!