I have a great fondness for vanilla. It's warming, soothing and harkens back to simpler, cozy times. Real, pure vanilla perfumes these pancakes three ways: in vanilla-infused compound butter, maple syrup and homemade pancake batter. A bit of cinnamon adds a spicy undertone. The batter is adapted from Gourmet and the syrup from Cooking Light. —mariaraynal
stick unsalted butter, softened
vanilla bean, split and seeded (scrape seeds with the back of a knife)
For vanilla butter: Place vanilla seeds, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sugar and sea salt in a medium bowl with softened butter. Combine well with wooden spoon, tines of a fork or a hand mixer.
Place compound butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Shape into a log, wrap well and refrigerate until ready to use.
For vanilla maple syrup: Add vanilla bean, vanilla seeds and cinnamon to maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer for about five minutes, remove and discard bean.
For vanilla pancakes: Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, egg, buttermilk, cinnamon, vanilla bean, vanilla extract and sugar in large bowl until well combined. Thin with water or buttermilk as necessary, a tablespoon at a time.
Heat griddle or skillet over moderate heat. Brush lightly with oil. Using a 1/3 cup-measure, pour pancake batter onto griddle and cook until bubble form on surface. Flip and cook on opposite side for about two minutes.
Transfer pancakes to a heatproof plate or platter and keep warm in 200-degree oven, covered. Serve with vanilla butter and vanilla syrup.
I'm a self-trained home cook and freelance food writer who enjoys cooking and eating seasonally and locally whenever possible. When I travel, visiting the farmers' markets, local groceries and specialty food shops is as important as the shopping, museums and restaurants. I love to immerse myself in cookbooks, then go into the kitchen and experiment; and writing about food and the chefs who cook it is my latest pursuit. By day, I'm an executive speechwriter and event planner.