You know when it’s really late at night and you have a brilliant idea so you’re all NOTE TO SELF: REMEMBER THAT YOU WANT A UNICORN BIRTHDAY CAKE and then the next morning you’ve forgotten and along comes your birthday and no unicorn cake and you’re sad? Or something along those lines? I do that all the time. Sometimes it’s ridiculous stuff that then leads me to have ridiculous dreams which then leads me to say ridiculous things to Dan when he tries to say goodbye to me in the morning and I’m still sleeping. Like “don’t you know you can’t ride unicycles on the ceiling?” Because you can’t. Gravity. You’d fall.
On Friday night my last thought was that I really wanted sweet potato pancakes and that we should eat brenner on Saturday night. Because I love brenner and it’s that time of year where sweet potato pancakes are exactly what I’m craving. But, alas, by Saturday morning it was gone. Vamoose. No sign of brenner. Fast forward to later in the day when I was making the grocery list for the week and stuck on what I wanted to eat that night. I was heavily considering throwing in the creative towel and making artisan quesadillas when my mind jumped from the shape of a quesadilla to PANCAKES. And then I remembered, I wanted pancakes. Mental high five, Elena.
I downloaded this recipe last fall after watching that Rachel Ray show where she goes to a town and tries to eat for under a certain amount of money. I don’t think it’s on the air anymore. I don’t particularly like Rachel Ray, but she was in Asheville, North Carolina (one of my favorite places) and so I watched it. And Rachel made a stop by the Tupelo Honey Cafe and ordered these pancakes that looked incredible. So I downloaded the recipe and promised myself (and probably Dan) I’d make them immediately. But I didn’t. It’s now a year later and those pancakes have not shown their face in this apartment.
Part of the reason it has taken me so long to make these pancakes is that for a while, I lost my pancake touch. When I was a kid, I made awesome pancakes. Light, fluffy, crispy, delicious. But all last year, every time I tried to make pancakes, they fell short. Flat, greasy, burned, chewy, awful. I read every pancake how-to I could get my hands on, I practiced and practiced, I just couldn’t get them right. My batter wasn’t fluffy enough, my griddle was too hot or too cold, it just wasn’t working. So when my craving for sweet potato pancakes hit me yesterday, so did my performance anxiety.
And amazingly they just… worked! The first one sucked, but isn’t that a rule? The first pancake rule? The rest were perfect, totally delicious. I’m not going to pretend to know why these were great and the ones I made last year were awful, I’m just chalking it up to luck. And my advice to those of you in pancake peril? Medium heat on your skillet (cast iron works best for me) and wait until you see the bubbles! These are worth the angst, up there with my other genius late night ideas, like buying Cracker Barrel stock.
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Source: Tupelo Honey Cafe
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Combine all dry ingredients (except spices) in a large bowl. In another bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, melted butter. Add that to dry ingredients. In a third bowl, mix honey, spices, and potato. Add this to the pancake mixture. Mix until incorporated but don’t over mix. Let the batter stand at least 1 hour.
Heat your griddle (skillet) to medium heat. Add the batter, and cook until bubbles appear (see photo above), flip, and then cook until golden brown on both sides.