Gren: “Are you guys making pancakes?”
Gren: “Really? I don’t believe you. I’m pretty sure you’re making pancakes …”
The Pie and I rarely use our dining room (for eating at least) when it’s just the two of us. But pretty much every Saturday morning since we moved into Elizabeth has been spent making “special breakfast”, where we do something a little more elaborate than the regular cereal or toast, and we eat it together in our dining room, which offers a charming view of our next-door neighbour’s shed.
In addition, we like to try to recreate things that we’ve eaten in restaurants, just to see if we can’t make them a little better. Monday’s green curry was one example of that. This is another, and it comes from one of our favourite restaurants. They call them “candy bar” pancakes, which is a little odd, because most Canadians call things like Mars Bars and Snickers “chocolate bars” (because they’re made from chocolate, not candy). Maybe the creators just thought “candy bar pancakes” sounded better than “chocolate bar pancakes”, or maybe it’s because the high number of American soldiers stationed in Newfoundland at various points in history have left a lasting remnant of their dialect. Who knows …
You can use any pancake recipe you’d like for this, though I would recommend a fluffy pancake rather than a flat one. If you don’t have a favourite recipe, I’ll give you mine, which comes from the Joy of Cooking, and we usually cut it in half because it’s just the two of us.
Take a chocolate bar or two. The “dry” kind work best, like Kit Kat or Coffee Crisp — anything without caramel or gooey things inside. We prefer the Coffee Crisp because of the different flavours inside. If you live in the US, see if you can get someone to bring one across the border for you — they are excellent.
Break it up into pieces and put it in the food processor.
Pulse until you have small crumbs. Set that aside.
In one medium-sized bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 3/4 tablespoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. If you are making this recipe with milk instead of buttermilk, then leave out the baking soda.
In another bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and you’re ready to go.
Use a cast iron skillet to get the best crust on your pancakes. Preheat the skillet at medium for a few minutes while you’re mixing up your ingredients. And before you pour in the batter, melt a bit of butter in the pan first. Then scoop in some batter and let it sit for a while.
Don’t touch it. Wait until it starts to bubble and get pitted. The trick with these pancakes is in cooking them for as long as possible on the first side, so that when you add the chocolate bar pieces to the other side you don’t have to cook it as long and they won’t burn.
While you wait for it to get pitted, you can play fetch with your dog.
This squeaky carrot is from IKEA. I’m never sure if their stuffed toys are for dogs or for children, but they work great either way.
Take a spoon and sprinkle some of your chocolate crumbs onto the pitted top of the pancake. Let them sink into the batter a little bit.
THEN you can flip it, quickly. Don’t cook it too long on the second side or the chocolate will burn.
Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.
Or blueberry syrup. Or whatever floats your boat on a Saturday morning.