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Making perfect pancakes

Break the rules and try them for dinner too.
/ Source: msnbc.com

Do your flapjacks stick to the pan? Are they an attractive shade of black? Or maybe they fold into a blob after you flip them? On NBC’s “Today” show, Ellen Carroll, a registered dietitian and senior editor of Cooking Light magazine demonstrates how to make and flip perfect pancakes. Sample some of her Cooking Light recipes below.

SWEET POTATO-PECAN PANCAKES These pancakes go best with our Vanilla-Maple Syrup (see below). You can use ¾ cup mashed winter squash instead of the sweet potatoes, if desired.

1 » cups all-purpose flour

» cup chopped pecans, toasted and divided

2 » teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice

» teaspoon salt

1 cup fat-free milk

» cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 (16-ounce) can sweet potatoes or yams, drained and mashed (about ¾ cup)

1. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, two tablespoons pecans, baking powder, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk and next four ingredients (milk through eggs); add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Stir in sweet potatoes.

2. Spoon about » cup batter onto a hot nonstick griddle or large nonstick skillet. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Sprinkle pancakes with two tablespoons pecans. Yield: six servings (serving size: two pancakes and one teaspoon pecans.)

VANILLA-MAPLE SYRUP 1 ½ cups maple syrup

1 (3-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise or » teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Pour maple syrup into a medium saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds and bean to syrup. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook five minutes. Remove from heat; discard bean. Yield: 1 ½ cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon.)

PEANUT BUTTER PANCAKES Conventional chunky peanut butter works best in this recipe; the natural-style peanut butter (ground peanuts and oil) is difficult to stir into a liquid batter. Serve these with the Strawberry-Lemon Syrup (see below), the Rasberry-Honey Coulis, or any kind of jam.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

» teaspoon salt

1 » cups fat-free milk

» cup chunky peanut butter

1 tablespoon roasted peanut oil or vegetable oil

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk and remaining ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.

2. Spoon about » cup batter onto a hot nonstick griddle or a large nonstick skillet. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Yield: five servings (serving size: two pancakes).

STRAWBERRY-LEMON SYRUP This syrup can be served hot or cold. You can also use it to top frozen yogurt or ice cream.

3 cups sliced strawberries, divided

1 cup sugar

¾ cup water

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Combine two cups strawberries, sugar, water, and lemon juice in a nonaluminum medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to 1 ½ cups (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat, a let stand 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup strawberries and rind. Yield: two cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon).


Recipes reprinted by permission of Cooking Light magazine. Copyright 2000, all rights reserved. For more information on these an other Cooking Light recipes, you can visit their Web site at : www.cookinglight.com .