Earlier this week IHOP celebrated its 50th anniversary. According to this article on CNN Money.com, the chain has flipped 16 billion pancakes since 1958. Them's impressive numbers, but they also give me a stomachache. That's a lot of pancakes.
My mom used to take my brother and me to IHOP after we'd get shots at the pediatrician's office. Okay, I don't if she did this as a routine matter, but I do have at least one distinct memory of how the Rooty Tooty Fresh & Fruity somehow dulled the throbbing pain in my left arm.
I now avoid chains as a matter of course, but we were road tripping up to Tahoe this past winter and needed fuel for our car and our bellies. I saw the familiar four-letter sign and gave a yowl. "Stop there!"
We had lunch. The tables weren't quite as sticky as I remember, nor was the food nearly as good. Too bad, too, as I'd had high hopes of reliving my childhood through a teetering pancake stack. Whoever said you can't go home again got it right.
Obviously, you can make pancakes at home, as loyal readers know I do with great frequency. And I often rely on (gasp!) a mix.
The one I use is from Bob's Red Mill, and it brims with whole grains and flax. When you doctor it up with some berries and ricotta, you've got yourself a new classic. Plus, it's guaranteed to beat any post-inoculation pancake memories from your youth.
Recipe for Quick Whole Grain Blueberry-Ricotta Pancakes
I discovered Bob's Red Mill whole grain flours, gluten-free mixes, and baking products about 18 months ago, and their 10-grain pancake mix is one of the only pre-mixed products of any kind I use on a regular basis. Pouffy, refined flour pancakes rarely make you feel healthy (or full), but this fiber-rich version really does. I've been known to pack these cold in lunch boxes to wild applause and even to serve them for dinner. Adding a little ricotta and some wild blueberries ups the ante even more.
Makes 25 small pancakes
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup Bob's Red Mill 10-Grain Pancake & Waffle Mix
1/4 cup ricotta cheese (any kind)
3/4 cup milk (any kind)
1/3 cup frozen wild blueberries
butter and maple syrup, for serving
Preheat your griddle or other pancake-making apparatus over medium-high heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and the oil. Stir in the pancake mix with a rubber spatula.
In a small bowl whisk together the milk and ricotta. Stir it into the bowl with the pancake mix. Combine well. Stir in the blueberries.
Spray the griddle with cooking spray. Using a small ice cream scoop (mine was 1-1/4 inches in diameter), scoop dollops of batter onto the hot griddle and cook for about a minute and a half, or until small bubbles appear on the surface. Flip and cook the other side roughly 45 seconds to a minute longer. Repeat until you've cooked the remaining batter. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.