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nosh friday: pancakes with cranberry-ginger sauce

December 31, 2010

There is something unparalleled when it comes to the comfort of pancakes. Whether it’s the slow and steady mixing of the batter, the smell of hot butter and batter sizzling, the soft thump-thump of pancakes landing, browned and crisp, one on top of the other — something about pancakes is just plain magic.

Last week, I had my mom and niece, clad in her Christmas footie jam-jams, over for breakfast and knew that pancakes had to be on the menu. Not only had I stumbled across a divine recipe for buttermilk pancakes, but I wanted to add a little holiday sparkle to them. I seem to have an overflow of cranberries in my freezer, so I used some to create a cranberry-ginger sauce. The gloriously puckery bright red sauce drizzled over hot pancakes seemed much more cheerful than plain old syrup and man, was it ever.

The cranberries provide a brilliant tang to the sauce, while the ginger counteracts with a little spice. Orange comes in for some sweetness and it fairly dances on the palate. All I can say is “yummmm.” I even somehow went into work that afternoon smelling of pancakes; my co-workers sniffed suspiciously, as if I was packing pancakes in my pocket. (Say that five times fast!)

This would make a great breakfast for tomorrow, as your household sleepily recovers from New Year’s Eve and yawns in 2011.

Happy 2011! Ring it in with pancakes and good cheer!

Buttermilk Pancakes with Cranberry-Ginger Sauce
(Pancake recipe from


2 c. flour (I like to use half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
1 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
2 eggs
2 1/4 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. butter, melted

Cranberry-Ginger Sauce

2 c. fresh whole cranberries
4 T. orange juice
1 t. orange zest
1/2 c. sugar
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
3/4 c. water

The sauce can be made the day before or the morning of. It keeps pretty well for a few days in the fridge, tightly covered.

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. (I also added half a scraped-out vanilla bean I had leftover from another project, which was a tasty addition you could try also.) As the mixture heats up, you will see and hear the cranberries begin popping. Stir frequently, as this sauce can burn very quickly. After about 8 minutes, the sauce should be cooked through pretty well. If it seems too thick, add more water or orange juice. Cranberries have a lot of pectin in them, which is what helps fruit gel when cooked.

Using the back of a spoon, a potato masher or even a food processor, if you fancy, smash up the cooked cranberries in the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency. Cool and keep in the fridge, if pancakes are still a day or two away. Otherwise, keep it warm over very low heat while you make the pancakes.

For the pancakes, mix the flour, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup, beat the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently, until combined but still somewhat lumpy. DO NOT OVERMIX.

Heat a griddle or pan of your choice over medium-low to medium heat. Drop batters by 1/3 cup onto the hot pan, cooking about 2 minutes per side. They should puff up nicely and have a soft, spongy texture. Keep warm in a low oven or serve straight off the griddle.

Top with cranberry sauce, sip on a cup of coffee and enjoy your breakfast.

Makes approx. 10-12 pancakes


One Comment leave one →
  1. December 31, 2010 8:52 pm

    These sound delicious! I do not keep cranberries on hand but now I wish I did.

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