A crisperful of carrots recently sent me looking for this post from last March, but I guess I must’ve inadvertently deleted the original somehow when I was doing some blogkeeping.
This was one of my favorite finds of 2014, though, so there was no way I was going to let it just float off into the ether.
I got lost for a few hours the other day. I was on my couch. And then I was in France. And then I was in Albuquerque.
My inbox held notice of a new entry at Smitten Kitchen for Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew. On a cold February day, that’s pretty solid click-bait for me, especially since that week’s Omnivore Share had included a pound of stew beef.
Halfway through Deb’s post, though, I realized that exactly two years ago I was actually in Cognac, which was our post-red-eye first stop on a whirlwind tour of seventeen farms in twelve days.
That memory sent me to my desk to fish out a flash drive containing a 1000-plus frames from the trip, during which three colleagues and I snaked, sipped (and sometimes spat) our way from Cognac, through Bordeaux, Gascony, Cahors, Languedoc, Roussillon, Provence, and the southern Rhône, ending with a polar-bear plunge in the Mediterranean.
An hour-and-a-half later, already pushing my luck to get to work on time, I closed out of iPhoto and landed back at SK’s stew recipe. One of my favorite features of sk.com is that, post- every post, Deb highlights what entries were in the top slot on that date for each of the last seven years. Hey—lookee here!—two years ago: Carrot-Cake Pancakes.
Oops. Back down the rabbit hole.
I faithfully followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, which was adapted from Joy the Baker’s. Makes about a dozen 4-inchers. Fry them all up; leftovers reheat nicely in a 350º oven.
For the Pancakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 ground ginger
- small handful chopped walnuts
- small handful raisins (I used golden)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely grated carrots (I used a box grater)
- butter, for griddle
Put the first nine ingredients (everything before the egg) in a large bowl. Whisk them together. Put the egg, brown sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk. Stir the carrots into the liquid ingredients first. Then stir that wet mess into the dry, just to incorporate and eliminate any real dry pockets.
Let the batter hang out for a few minutes while you prep the topping.
For the topping
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- couple shakes of ground cinnamon
Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Blend in the powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of the milk. If it’s too thick for your liking, add a tad more milk.
Schmear, topping, frosting, icing, glaze. Whatever. This stuff is addictive. Reminds me of the icing on last Thanksgiving’s butternut cupcakes.
Put it together
Preheat the oven to 200º. You’ll want to work in small batches, so keep the first cakes warm on a sheet pan or foil while you fry up the rest.
Get your griddle (or a large fry pan) to medium hot. Plop in a dab of butter and spread it around to coat. Scoop a spoonful of batter for each cake into the hot pan. Keep them small (the batter can get a little runny in a larger format), and don’t crowd them—three or four per batch is good.
Fry until golden on both sides (about three minutes for the A-side, two minutes for the B-side). Transfer cooked cakes to the oven while you finish up the rest, adding a little more butter for every batch.
Serve warm with a schmear of the topping. And keep the bowl handy.