Easily my favorite weekend breakfast, there’s nothing quite like waking up to the luscious aroma of coffee and sweetness wafting from the kitchen. Piling up a big stack of soft, fluffy pancakes and drenching them in about a gallon of maple syrup as a kid, it was breakfasts like these that made waking up before noon worthwhile. Though they were reserved only for the most special occasions, and usually when we had company, I relished every bite when they graced the breakfast table. Though I’m happy enough to take them any which way—with chocolate chips, blueberries, plain—I’ve recently fallen in love with a more autumnal version, infused with the delicate sweetness of butternut squash and vanilla bean. Though it’s hard to turn down the maple syrup, which still makes a fine match with these little griddle cakes, I’ve found that an even more unique treat comes from reduced and spiced apple cider, bringing with it a slightly tart punch in addition to a syrupy sweetness. Since it takes a bit longer to prepare, I’d advise making it the night before, because no one will want to wait that long before devouring these pancakes!
To make the cider syrup, place the apple cider and chai spice in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisk well, and simmer until reduced to
For the pancakes, begin by mixing the flour, ground flaxseeds, salt, baking powder and soda together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mashed butternut squash, sugar, tahini, non-dairy milk, vinegar, and olive oil until smooth. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and use the edge of the knife blade to scrape out the seeds inside. Add them to the wet mixture, along with the nutmeg.
At this point, you can start preheating a medium non-stick skillet over moderate heat. You’ll know it’s ready when you can splash a small drop of water on it, and the droplet will sort of skitter around on top. If it just sits there, the pan is too cold, but if it immediately sizzles off, the pan is too hot.
Once the skillet it hot and ready, pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry, and combine the two by mixing with a wide spatula, stirring as little as possible to bring together a loose batter. Spoon ladlefuls of about
Slide the pancakes out onto a waiting plate, and repeat with the remaining batter. If you want to keep them hot and serve them all at once, stash them in your oven set to the “warm” function, or preheated to about 200°F. Just be mindful of your time and keep them in there for no more than 30 minutes, or the pancakes will dry out.
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