My mom loved me as a child by cooking with me and being a part of my life in every possible way. She taught me how to be a mother, how to hold a job, and how to be a supporting wife, just by being herself. Now that I am a mom, with big dreams and a precious boy of my own, I am often transported back to that tiny kitchen where my mother taught me so much about life. I’d feel like a queen whenever I got to stir or add the next ingredient to dinner.
I try to make my kitchen a special place for my son, Noah, the way my mother did for me. When Noah was 3 years old, he would ask me to make him birthday cakes. I’d smile and say, “Oh, baby; it’s not your birthday today, but let’s make a cake anyway!” He would say, “No, Mommy, not these cakes!” One morning I pulled out a bowl and started to make pancakes. As I added the ingredients, Noah began to sing, “Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me!” He squealed with excitement and said, “See, Mama, you are making my birthday cakes!” He’d stir, just as I had as a little girl, and wiggle and laugh. I knew that for the rest of his life and mine, we would always remember making his “birthday” cakes.
Pancakes with Pecans and Cream Cheese
- 1½ cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin purée
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup milk or cream
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Dash of salt
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup toasted pecans to sprinkle on top (toast in a 350-degree oven for 7 minutes on a cookie sheet)
Cream Cheese Topping:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar, plus
more for dusting
- 1 to 2 cups maple syrup
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the pancakes, and mix until it’s just combined. The batter will be lumpy.
- Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat for about 5 minutes before you pour the first pancake. Add 1 teaspoon of butter to the pan before frying each set of pancakes. Cook the first side of the pancake for 3-4 minutes or until tiny bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook an additional 2 minutes.
- To make the cream cheese topping, warm the cream cheese for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir in the powdered sugar. Mix it until glossy and smooth.
- To serve, top pancakes with a dollop of warm cream cheese, syrup, and the toasted pecans. Makes 8-10 1/2-cup pancakes.