Gingerbread pancakes with maple syrup and bacon is one of my family's favorite holiday breakfasts. Even though we make our pancakes circular, and not in the shape of a gingerbreadman, we named the recipe after The Gingerbread Baby, a favorite children's book by Jan Brett.
When you read the recipe, you will notice that the ingredients are healthy - you might assume that there is no way these pancakes could be any good. Trust me. Even the pickiest eater will love them. The fact that they are healthy is entirely beside the point.
Note: This recipe was adapted from one that I found in Bon Appetit (I think) many years ago. A reader had requested the recipe from a memorable breakfast at a restaurant or hotel. —Waverly
Test Kitchen Notes
Thanks to the warm spice combination of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, these delicious and easy-to-prepare pancakes have a lovely gingerbread flavor. Before making this recipe I was a bit skeptical. No milk or buttermilk? Only whole grain flour? No sweetener other than the apple juice concentrate? I forged ahead, following Waverly’s expert directions. We did not miss the dairy, the wholewheat pastry flour gave these pancakes a tender texture and a wonderful nutty flavor, and the apple juice concentrate delivered all of the sweetness you could want. As Waverly says, they are tricky to flip; to compensate, I made smaller silver dollar size pancakes. We enjoyed them with maple syrup, but, to cut the sweetness, my family liked them even better with fresh fruit and a drizzle of crème fraiche. This is a great recipe—we look forward to making these pancakes again on wintry weekend mornings. —cookinginvictoria
PREP THE PANCAKE BATTER:
In a large mixing bowl, stir the dry ingredients together: the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. In another mixing bowl, blend the wet ingredients together: the apple juice concentrate, water, melted butter, and eggs. Mix them until they are combined. Now, gently combine the wet ingredients with the dry. Using a wooden spoon, stir just until everything is moist and there are no powdery pockets in the batter.
COOK: Heat a large heavy griddle over MEDIUM HIGH heat. Keep the butter nearby and don't be afraid to use it! Melt about 1/2 Tbsp of butter or enough to generously coat the pan or griddle. (These pancakes tend to stick, see note below). Working in batches, pour 1/4 - 1/3 cup of the batter at a time onto the hot griddle. Space the pancakes so that they cook without running into each other. When bubbles appear, lift up a corner to make sure that the bottom is golden brown. If it is ready, flip it and cook the other side until golden brown. As they are done, stack the pancakes on a plate with a little butter on top of each one.
WARNING: Flipping these pancakes is tricky. They stick to the pan. You will either need to use a huge spatula or 2 regular-sized ones to be successful. These don't flip like regular pancakes. You'll need to make sure every square inch of the pancake is off of the griddle before flipping. Once you get the hang of it, this is easy. If your first one gets messed up, use more butter next time.
SERVE: Warm the maple syrup in the microwave. Serve pancakes with warm maple syrup on top and crisp bacon on the side.
Waverly used to be a lawyer and is now a mother 24/7. She has made a commitment to cooking for her family and absolutely loves it even when her family does not. She is teaching them, one meal at a time, to enjoy wholesome homemade food. She abhors processed food but recognizes its insidious nature and accepts the fact that her children will occasionally get some Skittles, Doritos, or the like. Her philosophy and hope is that if she teaches them well at home, they will prefer wholesome healthy foods when they go out into the world without her.