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Perfect pancakes

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Chris Walker | Chicago Tribune

Cinnamon pancakes by Leah Eskin resemble cinnamon buns.


When the temperature drops, there’s nothing better than a hot breakfast. Pancakes are a perfect solution. They’re easy to make and go great with coffee or hot cocoa.

These pancakes, which taste like cinnamon buns, are a new favorite of mine. They take a little more time to prepare than regular pancakes, but they’re worth the extra effort.


Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 4 minutes per batch

Makes: 8 4-inch pancakes

For Swirl:

¼ cup pecans, toasted

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 pinch fine salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Glaze:

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

For Pancakes:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 egg

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup milk

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon fine salt

Canola oil, for cooking

Grind: To make swirl, toss nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, soda and salt in the food processor. Grind fine. Stir in melted butter. Scrape this paste into a small ziptop bag.

Mash: To make glaze, beat together butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Thin with a little milk. Scrape into a small ziptop bag.

Whisk: To make batter, settle butter in a large bowl. Zap to melt. Whisk in, in order: egg, buttermilk and milk. Sift in flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk briefly. Let rest 10 minutes.

Swirl: Set a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Slick with just a little oil. Scoop on batter, using a 1/3-cup measure. Nudge each pancake into a 4-inch circle. Snip a corner off the swirl bag. Squeeze on a spiral of the nutty paste.

Crisp: As pancakes cook, trace over the swirl with a toothpick or knife-tip; this will help the swirl sink. Cook until the center of each pancake is speckled with popping bubbles, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is browned, 1 minute. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while crisping remaining cakes, adding oil as needed. Wipe the skillet with an oiled paper towel between batches.

Serve: Stack up two cakes, swirl side up, on each of 4 plates. Snip a corner off the glaze bag. Drizzle with glaze. Dig in.

M. Clare Haefner enjoys cooking for family and friends. Contact her at or 254-501-7551.

Contact M. Clare Haefner at or (254) 501-7551.

1 image

Chris Walker | Chicago Tribune

Cinnamon pancakes by Leah Eskin resemble cinnamon buns.