Two weeks ago, I had my most popular tweet ever (it beat out the old record holder, “I am in love with a squash”). I posted a photo of some red velvet pancakes that I enjoyed at the Original Pancake House in West Caldwell, NJ. People went bonkers over this picture! I received requests for the recipe (didn’t have one), pleas for descriptions, and threats on my life (not really) if I didn’t post more details soon.
This weekend I covered my kitchen in red dye, flour, and confectioners sugar in an attempt to deliver a recipe to you. But first, I will give you some highlights from the Original Pancake House.
This Christmas wreath greeted us in the Pancake House parking lot. I was immediately on my guard. I am suspicious of holiday decorations kept up overly-long. However, I persisted (fortitude!) and ordered the following: a Southwestern Omelette with a side of Red Velvet Pancakes.
Still slightly put off by the Christmas wreath, I dove into the pancakes. They were amazing: silky smooth, moist (not crumbly at all), with a hint of chocolate flavor and sweetness. I loved them. I even took the leftovers home (along with the leftovers of everyone else).
On a random side note, the Southwestern Omelette was HUGE. I think it was comprised of about 12 eggs. That were inflated. It was the fluffiest omelette I’ve ever seen or eaten, and its resemblance to a half-deflated volley ball should not count against it:
And in true Jersey diner fashion, there were post-meal gumballs.
But back to the pancakes! This is what you want, yes? A recipe! And here it is. I have cobbled this together from a few sources, and also made parts of it up as taste dictated. I hope you enjoy. I really do, because this recipe makes a cart-full of pancakes, so you’ll have a lot of them to deal with.
For the Pancakes:
(NOTE: This makes a heck of a lot of pancakes. Way more than even I can eat at once.
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 of a stick) + more to grease the griddle or frying pan
3 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Red food coloring (about 2 mini squeezy bottles worth)
What to Do:
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, blend together the buttermilk, eggs, melted (and cooled) butter, and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing with a whisk as you go. Once this is combined, add in your sour cream, vinegar and red food coloring.
A note about the red food coloring: You actually need more than you think. When I first started, I thought, “hey a couple o’ drops should do the trick.” No. My first pancake was brown with a slight pink tone to it. Throw that dye in there. You can do it gradually, but be generous.
Heat up a non stick griddle or frying pan over medium-low heat, coating it with a little bit of butter. Ladle the batter onto the griddle to create pancake circles about 4 inches in diameter.
A note about cooking the pancakes: It’s better to cook these slowly over low heat. If your pancakes burn, or cook too quickly on the outside, they will brown. You want red velvet, yes? Not browny-red velvet. So go slowly.
While cooking, the pancakes will start to bubble on the uncooked side that’s facing up. This is a sign they are ready to be flipped. Break out your spatula (I love saying that) and flip them over. When you can poke your pancake in the center (GENTLY!) and it bounces back, that means it’s done. Remove to a plate to cool. Don’t shove them in your pancake-hole immediately, because they’re kind of hot. Trust me.
Dust with confectioners sugar, and top with Cream Cheese Frosting.
For the Frosting:
What You Need:
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
What To Do:
Using hand held mixer or a standing mixer, beat 12 ounces cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter and vanilla extract in large bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.
Note: Alternately, I think mascarpone cheese is a nice substitution to the cream cheese frosting.