Orange Ricotta Pancakes

We are NOT morning people at our house.  Carver, however, loves his sister so much he REALLY wanted to drop her off at her bus yesterday. But he was also still pretty much asleep–anybody else struggling to get into a good school-year routine? He decided he could manage both.  See exhibit A in photo–yes, that’s his blanky he’s curled up with. On the sidewalk. That’s how we roll.

OrangeRicottaPancakesBlogPic

We may not be morning people, but we are breakfast people – bigtime.  Breakfast food is hands down my favorite (probably because you get to eat things that taste like dessert and call it a meal)!  As a result of this combo, we do a lot of breakfasts for dinner.

These holiday-worthy pancakes melt in your mouth. The first time I made them, I was afraid the ricotta would be grainy, but it melts down on the griddle and just adds to their just-right, slightly tangy, light orange flavor. I didn’t believe I could love a pancake more than my usual, plain pancake — or, occasionally, the basic recipe plus blueberries. But these fancy schmancy pancakes have totally won me over.

They’re perfect for a weekend brunch, an evening when you’re feeling indulgent (throw some bacon on the griddle & you’re rocking a complete meal in my book, folks), or, if you’re more ambitious than we are in the mornings, actual breakfast.  ~Robin

Ingredients:

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour

2 T. sugar

½ tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt + a pinch

½ c. orange juice

1 tsp. orange zest

¾ c. milk

¼ c. half & half

1 lg. egg

1 c. ricotta cheese

¼ c. butter (½ of a stick)

½ tsp. vanilla

Oil or vegetable shortening for cooking on the griddle*

A bottle of your favorite maple syrup…I have a passion for Griffin’s original maple syrup; it is by far the best syrup I’ve ever had – and Griffin’s is a local(ish) Oklahoma business! We even ship some out to Kathy now and then since, alas, her Utah grocers don’t carry it–yet.

Instructions:  

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients:  flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, orange juice, orange zest, milk, half & half, well-softened butter, and ricotta.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and gently whisk together.  Do not overmix – some lumps are normal.

Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat. Tip: To test the heat, wet the tip of your finger and (from a safe distance) flick a drop of water into the pan – it should sizzle immediately upon contact if pan is hot enough.  When hot, add a dollop of vegetable shortening or a drizzle of oil to the pan and allow to spread/heat through.

Pour about ¼ c. of batter into the pan for each pancake. Pancakes will spread out on their own for the most part without assistance – if they seem extra thick in the middle, you can carefully tilt pan to spread batter.  Do not attempt to “peek” or lift the pancake until several big bubbles have formed (usually a couple of these bubbles have even popped when they’re ready to flip) in the topside of the pancake. Then flip each one; the 2nd side will not take as long as the first, but since the pancake is already fairly well-formed, it’s okay to “peek” after a minute or so on this side to determine its readiness. Remove when 2nd side reaches a golden brown color of the first. These gorgeous babies are best served with a handful of berries (fresh cranberries are awesome in the fall and winter time when you can get them) and that perfect Griffin’s maple syrup. Best when served immediately.

*Pancakes are a recipe for which I insist on using Crisco shortening like Mom did — yummmmy. But you can also just use your favorite cooking oil (as long as it’s not something with a strong flavor like peanut oil, of course). For me, I have no delusions that this a health food, so I go for it generously with the Crisco that can really brown the edges a bit like I love (see photo – oh my!).  If you don’t want that lightly crisped golden brown edge (it’s worth at least trying — texture is a big deal for food, after all), you can do less of whatever oil you’ve chosen.

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