“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.” –Cobb, Inception
Have you ever been woken up suddenly, without warning, with an idea stuck in your head? Like it had been placed there by rogue thieves who snuck up on you in the middle of the night and implanted an idea so that it sticks–there’s no forgetting it once you wake up. Besides making for the plot of an amazing movie (seriously, Inception was one of my favorite movies of the summer), that is exactly what happened to me this morning. Last night I went to bed thinking about pizza and woke up this morning positively obsessed with the idea of cinnamon rolls. But not just any old cinnamon roll–I’m talking about cinnamon roll pancakes.
Mmm, who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? You’d have to be insane not to love the little swirls of dough and buttery cinnamon-sugared goodness, all baked to oozy perfection. My Grandma DiMuzio was known for a lot of things in her day, but was positively famous for her cinnamon rolls. She would spend an entire day making dozens of batches of the gorgeous rolls so she could send out packages to each of her TEN children and their families. It was almost better than Christmas morning when we got one of Grandma’s boxes of cinnamon rolls in the mail–all of my sisters would fight over who got to open the box first.
This morning, I wanted to do some justice to Grandma D’s memory by making some cinnamon rolls, but damn it, I’m lazy. Do I want to wait for 4 hours to let some yeast rise? Uh, no. I want to have my cinnamon rolls delicious, but quick. I hope Grammie doesn’t think any less of me. For some reason, I think she’d actually be quite proud of the emergence of this idea…
Behold, the Sourdough Cinnamon Swirl Pancake
In order to achieve the taste of yeasted dough, I mixed together a batch of sourdough pancakes. I happen to be one of those people who keeps a jar of sourdough starter in my refrigerator, just in case I feel the need to knead. I also happen to make awesome puns. Anyway, here’s the recipe as I created it this morning. Typically, you’re supposed to create a sourdough sponge and let it sit out the night before making your pancakes, but as I said before, this idea came to me in sleep. I just had to roll with it.
1 cup sourdough starter, divided between 2 bowls
[the rest of the ingredients are per bowl]
1/2 cup flour (I use King Arthur All Purpose)
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 flax egg (1 tbsp. flax mixed with 3 tbsp. water, microwaved for 30 seconds until gloopy)
A little bit of vanilla
Mix together all ingredients and let it sit there while you prepare the cinnamon swirl mix.
2 tsp. cinnamon (maybe more? I just added some until I felt like there was enough)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Earth Balance, melted
1/4 tsp. cocoa powder (this is mostly just to make the dough a little darker in color)
Mix together (not too much!)
Then the real fun begins! Well, it’s only fun if you consider attempting to do a swirl in a hot griddle/pan with two different kinds of batter “fun.” I just call it “making a mess” but whatever. Try to swirl the two batters together. This is really just trial and error here, my methods were erratic and I mostly just ended up with pancakes that looked like yin-yangs. Which is totally fine.
Makes a whole stack-o-cakes
While your pancakes are cooking away on your pan, prepare the topping. This topping is essential to the flavor and authenticity of the cinnamon swirl pancakes.
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Earth Balance, melted
1 tbsp. flax seeds
1 tbsp. maple syrup
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. When you’re ready to eat, top off your gorgeous (or not) cinnamon swirls pancakes with the brown sugar topping. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Wipe that drool of yo' keyboard. It isn't sanitary.
And here’s one more money shot, just for posterity’s sake.
How bad can that be?
Somehow, I managed to save a couple of cakes for my parents. My mother declared, “Ihop would have a field day with this!” and I had to concur. Ihop, do you see these? Call them Ruth Cakes or something to that effect–just make sure they’re vegan.
My dad’s reaction was…interesting. As Grammie D was his mother, he is a more than a little uncomfortable with the idea of taking one of her most beloved recipes and changing it. He got over that trepidation quite quickly when he took a bite of these pancakes, though. “Close to Nirvana,” he stated. I smiled knowing that I had managed to achieve something close to culinary greatness.
“I want sausage!” was my dad’s next statement. Sorry, pop. Can’t help ya there.