Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Kitchen Klutz: Attack of the midnight peanut butter pancakes!

I’m no longer a third-grader but I enjoy a smooshed creamy peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich. And there’s definitely nothing better after a late-night revel than a warm stack of pancakes from a dingy diner. So combining these two delightful dishes should be a cinch, right? Wrong.

I was following what appeared to be a rather simple recipe for a confection called PB & J Pancakes when all of my Kitchen Klutz mojo fell to pieces over a sinister saucepan.

This particular recipe called for peanut butter laced batter and a gooey berry syrup made fresh with $5 worth of blackberries from Waldbaum’s.

The batter was relatively simple (even for me!) to prepare — add flour, milk, eggs, baking powder and other pancake necessities to a bowl and stir. Toss in half a cup of creamy peanut butter already melted in the microwave and voilà — the batter is ready.

Actually, it wasn’t that simple. I might have overdone it on the stirring part. Is it bad when thick batter transforms into a thin liquid?

Some of you might be saying yes but that wasn’t the main fiasco of the evening. (Yup, I made these pancakes on a late Friday night.)

When it came time to add nearly a cup of sugar, lemon zest, water and the two packages of blackberries, the sweet ingredients seemed to mesh merrily in the hot pot.

The recipe said “mash the blackberries as they cook.” Okay, I took out a shiny potato masher and went to work on those berries. Yes, they did mash but those pesky seeds went everywhere. I didn’t worry too much, I mean, they’ll dissolve, right?

Well, not so much. After the watched pot sat on the stove for a good 20 minutes - and still didn’t have a sticky syrup consistency - I gave up and decided to serve it as is, seeds and all.

As my stomach grumbled in need of midnight munchies, I coated a frying pan with butter and slid it onto the stove completely excited about grilling up some grub.

I spooned the batter into the pan in horrifically misshapen monstrosities. Yes, there was burning. Yes, there was oozing. No, I can’t flip a pancake without having the batter explode everywhere. Maybe there was a scream or two. Okay, there were three.

Verdict: Peanut butter pancakes are weird. Once I tossed away a few black pieces and tried to disregard the funny shapes, I realized that the pancakes came out somewhat light and fluffy. But the peanut butter was overwhelming and failed to blend with the classic taste I expect from a yummy stack of flapjacks. Dousing the hotcakes with the rich blackberry sauce (even with the seeds) helped kill the peanut butter bully and make the dish somewhat edible.

Pancakes and fresh blackberry syrup: thumbs up. Pancakes and peanut butter: pass.

Have a recipe for the Kitchen Klutz? Send it to

PB and J Pancakes
(Recipe courtesy of Sunny Anderson)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed to thin
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons butter
Blackberry Syrup, recipe follows
Preheat a griddle. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Slowly mix in egg, milk, peanut butter and oil until combined. Add a little extra milk if batter feels too thick. Let mixture sit 5 minutes. Melt 1 tablespoon butter on griddle and move around to coat entire griddle. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake on griddle to form 5-inch pancakes. The batter spreads as it cooks. Fill griddle without crowding pancakes. Flip when air pockets start to pop on the top and a quick peak on the underside reveals a golden pancake. Repeat with remaining butter and batter. Serve pancakes with Blackberry Syrup.

Blackberry Syrup:
2 pints fresh blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 lemon, zested

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to break up blackberries as they cook. Strain syrup to remove seeds and serve warm.

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

--Michèle De Meglio
(Published in the 5.21.09 issue of 24/Seven)


Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP