Mardi Gras has never really been my cup of tea, maybe because it was never celebrated in my family. Throughout my childhood, I caught one or two parades being broadcast on TV from New Orleans, but that was the extent of my observation. Sure, I would go to the dollar store sometimes and buy a pack of clinky, gaudy coloured bead necklaces so that, when I went to class and saw my fellow university students hyping themselves up for the night's activities, I could at least pretend like I too was ready to bar hop, dance, and drink myself into the weekend.
One aspect of Mardi Gras that I do celebrate, however, is the gras aspect. Like many people, I associate Mardi Gras with pancakes, or more loosely, breakfast for dinner. In my living here so far, I've found a few brunch and all-day-breakfast places in Toronto that I enjoy, but nothing quite beats a homemade stack of buttermilk pancakes. I’ve been hoarding this recipe from Cafe Delites as my go-to whenever I find myself craving a heartier breakfast on a weekend morning:
- 2 cups all-purpose (or plain) flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk (plus ¼ cup more, as needed)
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter (melted)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs (large)
1. Combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large-sized bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, slightly cooled melted butter, vanilla and eggs.
2. Use a wire whisk to whisk the wet ingredients together first before slowly folding them into the dry ingredients. Mix together until smooth (there may be a couple of lumps but that's okay)
(The batter will be thick and creamy in consistency. If you find the batter too thick -- doesn't pour off the ladle or out of the measuring cup smoothly -- fold a couple tablespoons of extra milk into the batter at a time until reaching desired consistency).
3. Set the batter aside for a good 10 minutes to let rest and settle the ingredients into each other while heating up your pan or griddle.
4. Heat a nonstick pan or griddle over low-medium heat and wipe over with a little butter to lightly grease pan. Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto the pan and spread out gently into a round shape with the back of your ladle or measuring cup.
5. When the underside is golden and bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip with a spatula and cook until golden. Repeat with remaining batter.
If you’re like me and prefer to use honey over sugar, I’ve substituted it for this recipe before, and as long as you add about ⅛ cup more flour to the recipe, it’ll still retain a nice consistency. Use the consistency that you find right for you, though. And feel free to add chocolate chips or blueberries on top if you’re feeling adventurous!
Anyway, enjoy your Mardi Gras, if you celebrate it, and if you don't, consider breakfast for dinner this evening when you're on your way home from work! It'll be like you're celebrating without even trying!