Growing up, I was a figure skater. That was my chosen sport. While I was never a threat to be the next Kristi Yamaguchi, I was a decent skater, almost good at times. I even rocked the requisite Dorothy Hamill haircut for awhile, with which I had hoped to channel her gold medal skills.
Three or four days per week, my mom would pick me up after school, and we would head over to the Princeton Skating Club, where I would practice in one of four areas: precision team, freestyle, ice dancing, or "patch" (This is skate-speak for doing technical maneuvers while skating figure-8's over and over again. I hated patch.) The purpose of the latter three classes was to prepare me for tests, which if passed would earn me badges and escalate me to the next level.
Precision team practice, on the other hand, meant training for the big annual ice skating show, the Oscars of the Princeton Skating Club, if you will. Well....that's kind of a bad analogy, because there were no awards and we weren't competing for anything, but it's the best that I could do right now. You get the idea. It was THE skating event of the year, and everyone participated. The precision team usuallydid a few different numbers, sort of an adolescent "Rockettes On Ice" kind of thing. Every year, depending on what our very artistic (translation: delusional) coach/choreographer had come up with, we all wore some sort of baubled-shiny-leotardy themed get-up, which usually included a painful headpiece. I assume that you've seen some of the creations worn by the Taniths and Johnny Weirs of the world? Ours were much, much worse. I give you exhibit A below. I call this "Pink Mouse," by the great seamstress, my Mom. This was actually one of my least offensive ice-fashion moments. Photos of the other ones are too embarrassing to show.
Even though figure skating was such a huge part of my childhood, the sports that I can't seem to get enough of during these Olympic Games have nothing to do with salchows and sequins. Over the past few weeks, I have become a ski and snowboard team fanatic.
Shaun White, Bode Miller, Torah Bright, Lindsey Vonn--these names didn't mean much to me prior to Vancouver, but the recent display of their shredding and slalom skills has caused me to sit up and take notice. All of a sudden, terms like "Super G" and "Backside 180" have worked their way into my vocabulary. I want to be able to do that McTwisty thing!! (How much do you wanna bet that McDonalds will be calling Shaun for a sponsorship in the near future? Well played, Flying Tomato. Well played.) Not only are these Olympians incredible athletes, but they all look like they are having so much fun while competing. Maybe Hannah, Gretchen, and Kelly will just let me hang out with them sometime....polish their snowboards or something.
Watching all of these competitions occur amid the wintery Canadian backdrop has really made me want to go skiing (and attempt snowboarding.) We haven't done this since our trip to Jackson Hole last year, which is much too long of a hiatus. I love skiing because it is such a great workout, but I hardly realize how many calories I'm burning since I'm having so much fun. I usually end the day famished, and I wake up the same way. It's a great excuse to have a hearty and carbo-licious breakfast before heading back out to the slopes.....perhaps a breakfast that includes these pancakes. I enjoy coming up with unique twists on pancakes and waffles, many of which are inspired by my favorite varieties of muffins. I've done banana-nut, sweet potato praline, and coconut pineapple versions, so I thought that I'd try something inspired by the flavors of a Morning Glory muffin: apples, carrots, raisins, coconut, and pecans.
These pancakes are indeed hearty, but they are so chock-full of nutritious ingredients that they are healthy too. Drizzle them with some pure maple syrup, and you've got a breakfast worthy of Olympic gold! Here are a few extra tips for making these fruit and veggie-filled flapjacks:
- Instead of dicing the apples, you can shred them, but squeeze some of the juice out prior to adding them to the batter. Otherwise the batter might contain too much liquid. I tend to leave the apples unpeeled since peeling just creates an extra step.
- You can also omit the apples and use all carrots for a more "carrot cake" approach to these pancakes.
- If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, simply combine 1 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of vinegar and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Add this to the batter in place of buttermilk.
- Instead of topping the pancakes with maple syrup, try drizzling some warm orange blossom honey or sprinkling with powdered sugar. They're also pretty great all by themselves!
Morning Glory Pancakes with Maple Cinnamon Butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1 cup finely grated carrots
3/4 cup small-diced apples
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons butter, softened
Additional maple syrup for serving
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pecans, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, buttermilk, eggs, oil, and 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup. Stir in the carrots, apples, coconut, and raisins.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray evenly with nonstick baking spray. Using a 1/4 cup ice-cream scoop, drop batter onto the pan, flattening slightly with the back of a spatula.
Cook the pancakes for 2-3 minutes, until small bubbles start to form on the top and the edges are cooked. Flip the pancakes over and cook for 1-2 minutes longer, until the bottoms are lightly browned. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 3 tablespoons butter. Serve with the pancakes and additional pure maple syrup.