Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest Post - A Leisurely Breakfast on a Snow Day

It's the last day of January!  In years' past, we've usually had at least one Snow Day by this time.  Snow Days are the best when you can stay home and not have to worry about going out with all the crazy drivers!  I have been putting together a Snow Day Kit to use with my kids when (or if) we have a Snow Day in 2012.  I've stocked up on a few special food and craft items to keep us entertained between making snowmen, snow angels, and igloos and shoveling snow from the driveway and sidewalks.  I invited my friend, Amy, to share a favorite Snow Day recipe today.  I love how she's created a special tradition with her kids and how she shares that it took her many attempts to create the dish she envisioned.  I have a few more posts of our own Snow Day traditions I'll be sharing later on.  Tuck them away. We're bound to wake up to a Winter Wonderland and school closings some day this winter!

A Leisurely Breakfast on a Snow Day
By Amy

As any busy family knows, breakfast on a school day morning can be rushed and a little lack-luster to be honest.  My three children each have different wake-up times and school start times, so making a hot breakfast three times in one morning is not happening that often.   Cold cereal, yogurt, and fruit are the norm in my house in the a.m.

However, on the rare and glorious “Snow Day”, my kids are not only pumped-up about playing outside in the snow, but also for the kind of breakfast we all wish we could indulge in daily.  I am talking about the works…bacon, eggs, toast, and the star of this show—pancakes.  These are not your everyday pancakes.  This recipe is one that I developed over A LOT of research and trial and error. 

My husband has had an obsession with Cracker Barrel’s Buttermilk Pancakes for many years.  He claims they are the absolute best.  And, I have to agree.  They have a dense texture and a different flavor from a normal pancake.  I have tried many so-called “copy-cat” recipes to no avail.  They were decent enough pancakes, but they were lacking something that makes Cracker Barrel’s pancakes so special.  Then, one evening while dining at Cracker Barrel, I noticed they started selling their pancake mix in their store.  I immediately picked up a box and studied the ingredient label.  Two ingredients caught my attention…rye flour and corn flour.  Mystery solved.    

It took a few attempts to tinker with the quantities, but I say they are darn close to perfection.  So, please enjoy this recipe--especially on a fun and relaxed Snow Day!

Mmmmm. . . . . . . .Pancakes!
Here's the recipe:

Just Like Cracker Barrel Pancakes:
1 cup     all-purpose flour
¼ cup    Rye Flour*
2 Tbsp   Corn Flour**
3 Tbsp   Sugar
1 tsp      baking powder
½ tsp     baking soda
½ tsp     salt
1            large egg, beaten
¼ cup    vegetable oil
1 cup     buttermilk (plus additional if needed to thin batter)

Mix all the dry ingredients.  Add egg, oil, and buttermilk; stir just until it is evenly mixed (add more buttermilk as necessary if you find the batter too thick).  Let batter rest as you heat the griddle to medium-low heat (be careful with the temperature…the sugar in this batter will cause to pancakes to brown rather quickly).  Brush surface with vegetable oil (my choice over butter because it doesn’t burn).  Cook until edges begin to look dry (about 2 minutes) and flip.

*  Rye flour is available in most grocery stores.  Bob’s Red Mill (see note below) or Hodgson Mill are two brands I’ve seen.

** Corn flour is harder to come by.  If you can’t find it, take yellow corn meal and pulverize it in your blender until it becomes “flour”-like in texture.

F.Y.I. --If you are looking for an authentic Cracker Barrel experience, their syrup is a mixture of 55% pure maple syrup and 45% cane syrup.  I have never seen cane syrup sold in stores before, so I substitute corn syrup.  I know…it’s bad. But, so is fake maple syrup-- so, arrest me now sugar police!

A note on Bob’s Red Mill—I love Bob.  Check out his website http://www.bobsredmill.com/.  All of our big chain grocers carry at least some of their products.  They have an organic line and gluten free, plus an amazing selection of flours.  They even have something called “Green Pea flour”…whaaa??  Anywho, they just offer a good, wholesome line of products that I have found to be consistently excellent.

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