Sisters. What images and memories just popped into your head?
Judy and Betty Haynes singing “Sisters, sisters … there were never such devoted sisters!” in the movie White Christmas? Mary Cassatt’s Impressionist paintings “The Sisters” or “The Two Sisters”? Perhaps Renoir’s “Two Young Girls at the Piano”? Maybe the little Olsen twins totting about in “Full House”? Perhaps you and your sister?
My head just flooded with memories of my older sister – four years my senior – and I growing up: biking together through the quiet tree-lined streets of greater Green Bay, Wisconsin, flipping through gymnastics class at the Y and dancing through pointe ballet class, giving our Barbies not-so-amazing haircuts, playing dress-up with our mother’s flowery early-1990s clothes, her teaching me very patiently to read before I started kindergarten, watching Saved By the Bell together after school, and … flinging pancakes one very silly Saturday morning.
By flinging pancakes, by the way, I don’t mean flipping them over in the skillet – I mean literally flinging them across the very long expanse of our Green Bay kitchen. You know those old-style, slightly bendy plastic spatulas that have a wide base? Yeah, those … Well, they happen to be very good at catapulting a pancake about 15 feet in a sort of gentle, 20-degree-ish trajectory from one sister to another.
Yes, we were trouble together. No, we didn’t break anything. Yes, mom wasn’t too happy when she found little pancake crumbles – sans maple syrup and butter – littering the (thankfully) tile floor in between our sentinel posts. No, we didn’t get grounded; we got a few laughs out of her. And yes, we had loads of fun – as always!
What possessed us to do something as bizarre as hold an impromptu pancake fight on a perfectly pleasant Saturday morning using perfectly tasty and edible pancakes? Well, I have no reasonable or respectable answer except to say that when a fifteen-year-old older sister decides to make pancakes and the eleven-year-old little sister starts giggling and picks up a spare spatula on a whim, mischief will ensue. And you know what? That very silly and totally unnecessary pancake fight (I can’t recall who lost, of course, besides the pancakes) made me love pancakes – and my sister – even more than I already did. This always appropriate breakfast item has since then held a special place in my heart; clearly, I love them here on my blog! Chocolate pancakes here and here, apple-cinnamon pancakes, Dutch baby pancakes, and now these oatmeal pancakes … oh my, oh my!
I don’t know of a Saturday morning that doesn’t warrant pancakes for breakfast, to be honest, and these oatmeal pancakes are certainly an appropriate option. I’d long ago clipped recipes for cinnamon-oatmeal pancakes in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine and Wegman’s Menu magazine, but wanted to meld them together: the ingredients from the former and the method from the latter.
The oats – old-fashioned, please, not instant – should soak in milk for ten minutes to give them body and make them more digestible. Who wants to eat raw oats, after all? (Yes, I know granola bars have raw oats, but I find my stomach struggles to digest them sometimes) After that, the batter is straightforward and easy. The brown sugar prevents the oats from giving the pancakes a utilitarian, metallic taste; the cinnamon also helps there. I used Vietnamese cinnamon, part of a wonderful Christmas gift from Penzy’s Spices, and its strength really gives these cakes a punch. Despite the high proportion of oatmeal, they’re well-balanced and not grainy, fluffy and not heavy-feeling, filling but not sleep-inducing.
Appropriately enough, it is Pancake Week, as I found out on this post about Dutch baby pancakes on Louise’s lovely and entertaining blog, Months of Edible Celebrations. Is there any better way to celebrate Pancake Week than to try a new type of pancake? These will satisfy any pancake craving you might have, and they will also satisfy your hunger for quite awhile…. Enjoy!
As a final note, you might have noticed a little addition to the right panel of my blog: there is a new link to Petitchef.com. I was asked to add my blog to their directory, so I obliged; why not? The website, a French-based recipes portal, has a quite extensive list of blogs which are separated conveniently into categories. I’m trying it out for a bit; hopefully it works out and I – and you – discover a few great new culinary blogs along the way!
Oatmeal pancakes (adapted from Everyday Food)
This recipe makes about 8 pancakes. These are best when fresh off the pan, of course, but they also keep in the fridge for the next day, too. I think the oats help keep the texture. Heat them up by nuking them for 30 seconds, then put them on a hot pan to crisp them back up. Serve with butter and maple syrup or homemade berry syrup (which I had leftover from my oat cake with mixed berry compote, and subsequently froze)- or munch on some plain ones!
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup milk (any type; I use skim)
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I use Vietnamese cinnamon, so the flavor is quite poignant)
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (such as safflower)
- butter, for the skillet
In a small bowl, combine the oats with the milk and let soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon with a whisk.
Add the egg, oil, and sugar to the oat mixture; beat lightly. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk just until combined. Small lumps remaining are acceptable; excessive stirring develops gluten chains in the batter, and the pancakes turn out flat and tough instead of fluffy and light.
Heat a large pancake skillet over medium. Butter the skillet. When a droplet of water sizzles on the surface, the skillet is hot enough. Spoon 1/4 of batter for each pancake (I fit four pancakes on my big square skillet). Cook for a few minutes on the first side, until bubbles form on the top and the bottoms are lightly browned. Flip the pancakes and cook another 2-3 minutes more, until the second side is also lightly browned. Repeat with additional batches of pancakes until all are cooked. Place cooked pancakes on a warm plate and tent with foil to keep warm until all pancakes are made.