Every 8 weeks or so, I travel up to my former home of the Bay Area and undergo a treatment to help ease the lingering effects of a TBI I sustained seven years ago. While the treatment itself helps me function on the daily, for about the first week after the treatment I feel horrible. The kind of horrible where I don’t eat much because my taste buds are all out of whack and the kitchen may not be the safest place for me, especially when a suddent bout of nausea comes on.
At my last appointment for 2018, I promised my neurologist I would try to do better in that first week of eating more than an apple and cube of cheese. When I am feeling crummy and can’t actually taste what I am eating, I generally don’t see the point in cooking. While I am perfectly fine on a restricted diet, the husband is not.
Over the last year or so he has really stepped up his cooking game. Albeit, most of his cooking consists of using his beloved Traeger Grill and there’s no way I am going to nosh on a steak when I am recovering from that particular procedure. So, we’ve had to do a bit of soul searching to find recipes he can confidently cook on the stovetop or in the oven that we both enjoy.
Enter blueberry pancakes.
While these blueberry pancakes might not be original to the pancakes of over 30,000 years ago (that’s how long pancakes have been around! Read this super interesting article from National Geographic to learn more about pancakes.), they’re certainly a longstanding tradition in my own family even if for much of my life I have avoided anything with blueberries in it… I mean, blue food is so unnatural, right?
I stumbled over this particular recipe in my grandmother’s recipe collection written in her own mother’s scary German handwriting and pulled the recipe off to the side to have another go at them. Like so many family recipes, there’s a bit of trial and error when it comes to getting these blueberry pancakes just right, so I had to change a couple of things (sorry, Mama). Stir the batter too much, you get tough pancakes. Don’t stir the batter enough and they’re tiny blobs of batter that dont’ really cook together cohesively. If you can only find frozen* blueberries, it’s best not to let them thaw before cooking, otherwise you end up with an eyesore. I suggest adding the blueberries to the pancake batter just before you begin to cook the pancakes in order to avoid getting a weird blue-gray cast on the pancakes.
The hardest part of these blueberry pancakes (other than making them perfect circles or flipping them), is that similar to my gingerbread pancakes, they’re really best if you can let the batter sit by itself for about 20 minutes. Even though the husband complained about having to wait, even ge agreed the added wait time helped produce fluffier, but still somewhat thick pancakes.
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
1 3/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the griddle
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen* blueberries
Warmed maple syrup
In a large bowl, combine the sifted flour and sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the eggs, milk, vinegar, and melted butter, then gently whisk the mixture until well combined but still a tad bit lumpy. Let the batter stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 200º or turn on the warm function.
Preheat a nonstick cast iron griddle over medium-high heat. You can test for doneness by flicking water on the surface, if it dances and evaporates instantly, the griddle is hot enough. Very gently, stir in the blueberries to the batter just prior to cooking. Brush the griddle with extra melted butter with a silicone brush, and slowly pour a 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle, centering the measuring cup or ladle over the middle of the blueberry pancake batter so it cooks and spreads into a perfectly even circle.
Flip the blueberry pancakes over once the center of the pancakes have begun to bubble, and the underside of the pancakes are golden, about 3 minutes. Cook until the other side is golden, about another minute or so. Transfer the cooked blueberry pancakes to a platter and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining batter following the same process as before.
Serve the blueberry pancakes hot from the oven with maple syrup and whipped butter, if desired.