I say the word “literally” a lot.
Even (or especially) when I don’t mean it.
Pancakes are LITERALLY the best thing ever (wrong, vacation is), that’s LITERALLY the most rank thing I’ve ever tasted (nope, I probably haven’t tasted anything that bad yet), that is LITERALLY the best blog ever (no way. I could never choose!)
So if I said these were LITERALLY the best pancakes I’ve ever made, you probably wouldn’t believe me.
But if there’s one thing being an English major taught me, it’s the power of words to create an effect. You can spend a bunch of time searching for just the right word, or you can throw out a bunch in hopes of creating the right effect of what you want to convey. So if you’re getting the sense that I was a really, really big fan of these pancakes…well. Literary devices at work!
Over the weekend, Erik and I went to get late night food for the first time in a long time. 59 Diner is one of the staple late night food hang outs in Houston and long ago, I’d once had a near-perfect waffle there. This past Saturday night/Sunday morning, I got the pancakes. Whole wheat, because I was in the mood.
When the waiter set the large stack of three perfectly thick and lightly brown pancakes in front of me, he said, “you can’t eat three pancakes” with a little grin. Erik and I giggled after he left. Obviously the waiter had never seen me go to town on pancakes. They were fluffy, but not even close to the best. I left craving whole wheat pancakes anew. And after making Smitten Kitchen’s phenomenal roasted pear and chocolate scones…there was to be no argument about what flavor pancake I was making next.
These pancakes will make you feel like whole wheat, pear and chocolate were made to go together. I feel like I refer to pancakes are blankets all the time, but really. This batter is tender and fluffy and wheat-y, the perfectly blanket to barely hold together toothsome chunks of cinnamon-spiced pears and pockets of melting chocolate. This is a great fall recipe to add to your repertoire, made even better with a generous pat of butter or a drizzle of honey…or duh, both!
I made half a batch with leftover roasted pears from the scones and half with sauteed pears, as directed below. I didn’t detect a huge taste difference, but if you have the oven on anyway, you can roast the pears at 375 F for 20 minutes until slightly dry to the touch. Deb recommends using “firmish” pears in her scones, and I think those are best in these pancakes. If you use ripe pears, they’ll be too juicy to hold together well in the pancakes. The pears in the finished pancakes will have a tender texture but slight crunch, like baked apples.
You can use any combination of flour, but I really like the whole wheat. Next time, I would make them using all whole wheat.
If you really like cinnamon, I might up the cinnamon to 3/4 to 1 teaspoon since the cinnamon flavor is very subtle.
Whole Wheat Pear and Chocolate Pancakes
Pancake base loosely based on Bake. Eat. Repeat.
1 teaspoon butter
1.5 to 2 cups pear, diced into 1/2″ chunks (about 1 large pear)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling
1 egg, separated
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 cup almond breeze + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped chocolate (preferably dark or bittersweet, but semisweet works) or chocolate chips
Canola, olive, butter or other neutral oil for greasing the pan
Heat a griddle over medium heat and add butter. While pan is heating, whisk together flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. When butter is hot, add the diced pear and sprinkle with cinnamon. Saute for 3-5 minutes until pears have softened, but are not falling apart. Set aside to cool. Wipe out the pan–you will be cooking pancakes in it, so no need to clean all the way.
In another medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk, oil, “buttermilk” and milk. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until barely combined. Fold in sauteed pear and chopped chocolate. Add the egg white and stir until it is mostly combined–lumps are good.
Lightly grease the pan and set over medium heat for a minute or two. Pour batter into the preheated pan using a quarter cup measure. Cook until bubbles start to appear on the exposed surface of the pancake and the surface starts to appear taut, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
Keep finished pancakes warm in a single layer on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 200 degrees or serve immediately with butter and honey!
See my other Pancake Fridays!