Happy First Day of Spring! The Aunt Jemima Experiment, 2nd Edition: Fruit & Nut Pancakes!

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Happy first day of spring everyone!¬† ūüėĬ† For the first weekend in goodness knows how long, I didn’t need to wear winter boots and let me tell you, it felt soooo good.¬† Even though there was still a bit of chill in the air, it was beautiful this weekend.¬† The snow waved goodbye (and I happily waved back), the sun has been out all weekend long, and I’ve been bouncing off the walls with giddy excitement and anticipation for the new season.¬† So giddy I wiggled along to Rod Stewart’s “Do You Think I’m Sexy” and The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” in the car.¬† Oh yes.¬† And spring just makes me feel so much more productive.¬† My mum and I cooked like crazy, I started and finished another murder mystery novel from my favourite murder mystery series, did some hardcore scrapbooking, went through some recipes, and spent some quality brother-sister time watching the hockey game last night.¬† It’s been a fab weekend.¬†

This morning¬†I accompanied my mum to our favourite bakery and deli in Markham¬†to pick up some fresh bread and pastries, and headed back home to make a yummy Sunday breakfast!¬†¬†After¬†we tried the Aunt Jemima buttermilk pancake mix two weeks ago and gave it a thumbs up, we’ve taken quite a liking to it and since that first time, I’ve been thinking of as many pancake fillings and combinations as I can!¬† This is one of the things I¬†love about food.¬† You start with something basic and simple – a blank canvas –¬† and¬†add your own flair to it, creating your own little masterpiece.¬† It’s so inspiring and it’s love straight from the heart.¬† This week’s pancake combination: banana buttermilk (just like¬†the first time) with nuts and dried fruit!

I call this my banana-trail mix combination.¬† Mashed bananas mixed into the pancake batter (3 bananas for 2 cups of pancake mix with 1 1/2 cups of water), and a mix of dried fruit and nuts sprinkled on the pancake batter as its cooking in the¬†pan, and more when the pancakes are done, with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of honey!¬† I sprinkled a mix of cashew pieces, pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, and dried cranberries for mine.¬† It’s perfect for me because I love dried fruit (with granola and yogurt especially) and it forces me to get some nuts into my diet.¬† I’m not the biggest lover of nuts and it’s only been recently that I’ve grown to like almonds.¬† The jury’s still out on all the others.¬† The fruit and nuts tasted great with the pancakes!¬† Awesome texture and crunch and a hint of sweetness from the fruit and honey.

I’ve been asked how my mum and I get¬†our¬†pancakes to look the way they do.¬† We experiment the same way everyone else does, but what works for us:¬†

  1. set your stovetop to medium heat.¬† It doesn’t take long¬†for pancake batter to burn, so you want to be able to let your pancake hang out for a little bit before flipping in order for the edges to crisp and for the pancake to brown, so medium heat will allow you to¬†do this without burning.¬† If your¬†heat dial has numbers, we¬†put ours¬†between 5 and 6.¬† When bubbles start forming on the surface and the oil around the edges start dancing, flip!
  2. use vegetable oil.  Olive oil does not do the job.  Olive oil is good for low-heat cooking such as sautéing, but for this, stick with vegetable oil.  Drizzle a bit after every 2 pancakes
  3. we¬†just¬†use a soup ladle to scoop the pancake batter ūüôā¬† Nothing fancy.

Yay for breakfast and happy spring everyone! ‚̧

The Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix Experiment: Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

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Bananas were never one of my favourite fruits when I was little.¬† I preferred other fruits like apples and melons, but because I developed some nasty allergies to a bunch of fruits during my teens, I was forced to reevaluate my fruit diet and I’m really glad I did.¬†¬† I nosh on fruit like it’s going out of style and I take advantage of¬†its versatility by using them in yogurt, dried fruit and granola mixes, and of course, cooking.¬† Over the past several years I’ve been¬†finding myself reaching for a banana much more often, especially as part of my breakfast.¬† And I love baking and cooking with bananas too!¬† Awhile ago, I made a post and showed you all¬†some French toast¬†I had cooked up and just this past weekend, I had pancakes!¬†¬†

My mum had bought a box of¬†Aunt Jemima’s Buttermilk pancake mix and at first, I was skeptical.¬† When she told me, I scoffed and thought, “pancake mix in a box?¬† Ugh, we could make our pancakes from scratch, mum, why??”¬† So I went into our Aunt Jemima¬†pancake experiment not really knowing what to expect.¬† Were they¬†going to be dry?¬† Hard?¬† I hoped not because I really wanted pancakes and I was looking forward to mashing my bananas with my potato masher.¬† Call me selfish.

The directions were simple: for every 1 cup of pancake mix, add 3/4 of water.  Simple!  No eggs, no additional ingredients.  Just plain water.  The pancake mix itself contains wheat flour, corn flour, buttermilk powder, and dried egg yolk.  1 cup of pancake mix was said to yield around 6 to 7 pancakes 10 cm (or 4 inches) in diameter per pancake, but hey, we were feeding 4 people for breakfast and wanted bigger pancakes, so we doubled the amount to 2 cups of pancake mix and 1 1/2 cups of water.  It worked just fine and there was enough for all 4 of us to eat, so mission accomplished! 

We had plenty of bananas, so¬†I sliced and mashed¬†2 of them, and sliced and reserved a 3rd for fruit topping later.¬† I added the mashed bananas to the pancake batter and mixed the batter until large lumps disappeared.¬† When you’re mixing up any kind of¬†pancake batter, be sure not to over mix!¬† You’ll end up with cardboard hard pancakes and that is not sexy.¬† We used a soup ladle to ladle the batter into our skillet, which was over a medium-high heat, and added a drizzle of vegetable oil when needed.¬† When bubbles started to form and the¬†edges crisped and browned, we flipped.¬† Easy!¬† And voila!¬† Banana buttermilk pancakes for breakfast!

How did they taste?¬† They tasted freakin’ amazing!¬† SO soft and moist and not “cakey” in the least.¬†¬†The¬†addition¬†of the bananas made these so flavourful and it was like¬†tasting banana cake without actually eating¬†cake.¬† They were so yummy and I was really happy that they turned out so well.¬† Thumbs up on this one, Aunt¬†Jemima! ūüėĬ†¬†To jazz up my pancakes, I dusted them with a little powdered sugar, topped them with sliced bananas and fresh strawberries, and drizzled a little bit of honey over top.¬† Heavenly breakfast!¬†¬†The pancakes themselves were fab, but the fruit and honey gave it a bit of subtle sweetness and juiciness, so A+ on all counts.¬† And I’m so,¬†so excited to experiment a little more with pancake toppings and other fruits.¬† I’m thinking blueberry almond, apricot almond, apple cinnamon, and maybe a tropical themed one too.¬† Yay pancakes!