One look at the cover of Richard Blais‘s new book Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate and you know this isn’t your average celebrity chef cookbook.
The photo on the cover (look left) is the first hint that what’s inside is supposed to be fun, perhaps a little silly and totally irreverent. Like Blais, the recipes in the book have a spontaneous energy to them.
Take Sri-Rancha for instance. Mix Sriracha and lemon juice into ranch dressing. Boom – you’ve got Sri-Rancha. It’s the sort of thing you might do on a whim at 2 in the morning but Blais has the smarts to slap a cute name on it and publish it as a recipe.
His recipe for Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter and Coffee Butter is an accessible and fun introduction into Blais’s thought process. If you listen to his interview below, he explains that taking flavors we pair together everyday and combining them in new ways is one of the easiest ways to get creative in the kitchen. We already drink coffee with pancakes…so why not add it to our pancakes?
Keep reading for the recipe…
Pancakes with Warm Maple Syrup & Coffee Butter
Serves 6 (makes about 18 pancakes)
If I entered a competitive-eating contest, it’d be one for pancakes. I like mine crispy edged, yet soft and tender inside. After years of tinkering, I’ve found that the best way to get this texture is to start with a fresh pancake batter, but you don’t even have to make it yourself. (I love the buttermilk-based Robby’s pancake mix available at RobbysPancakeMix.com or Amazon.) If you can, let the batter sit overnight in the refrigerator to hydrate and swell—that extra time makes for the fluffiest pancakes, I promise you. I love the play of the sweet maple syrup with the creamy, slightly bitter nature of the coffee butter in this recipe.
2 cups high-quality store-bought pancake mix (such as Robby’s pancake mix)
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1⁄2 cup brewed coffee
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Pure maple syrup, warmed, for serving
Sliced fresh strawberries or blueberries, sprinkled with sugar, for serving
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the pancake mix, flour, milk, eggs, and melted butter together until smooth. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and as long as overnight.
2. Put the coffee in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook until reduced by about half. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
3. Put 4 tablespoons of the softened butter in a small bowl and whisk in the cooled reduced coffee until completely incorporated. Set aside until ready to serve.
4. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter on a pancake griddle or heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the batter by ¼-cup amounts to make 4- to 5-inch pancakes and cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the bottoms are browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes and continue cooking until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate in a low oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Continue with the remaining batter, adding the remaining butter as needed.
5. To serve, put 3 warm pancakes on each plate. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon of the coffee butter and some warm syrup, garnish with the fruit, and serve immediately.
2.0 Whipped Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is sweet and delicious, but I give it more textural interest by using Versawhip, a soy protein. It’s one of the cooler so-called “molecular” ingredients that chefs play with; it’s probably no coincidence it’s also one of the most forgiving and easy to use. It aerates maple syrup until it’s the consistency of whipped cream, without using any cream. Versawhip is available from the manufacturer Will Powder (WillPowder.net); the online gourmet retailer L’Epicerie (Lepicerie.com); and Amazon.
To make whipped maple syrup, put 1 cup of pure maple syrup and 2 teaspoons Versawhip in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low speed until dissolved, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip until the syrup holds soft peaks. The whipped syrup can be held at room temperature for up to 1 hour.
Makes about 3 cups