Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

When it comes to pancakes I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I’ll take plain old regular pancakes or buttermilk ones over any flavor (i.e. banana, pumpkin, corn, etc…) or additions (i.e. chocolate chips) – although blueberry pancakes are quite delish! A few years ago though I decided to try Lemon Ricotta Pancakes at a wonderful breakfast spot in Brooklyn – Tom’s Diner – and was instantly hooked. I don’t know what it is about this particular flavor that makes them so delicious – the hint of lemon, the swirl of ricotta cheese, or the combination of both – but they are definitely one pancake everyone should try. And while there are recipes for pancakes made from scratch I opted to make these pancakes using store-bought pancake mix… short-cuts aren’t always a bad thing. And with Easter just around the corner these would be perfect addition or main dish for your Easter breakfast or brunch.

To begin I whisked together pancake mix, milk and lemon oil (I didn’t have any lemons on hand to zest.) Some things to note, I used Aunt Jemima Complete Pancake Mix and while it calls for water to be used with the mix I always opt to use milk for richer tasting and fluffier pancakes. Also, the equivalent of lemon oil to lemon zest is 1/4 teaspoon vs. 1 tablespoon.

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I then folded in the ricotta cheese; folding in the ricotta helps to maintain the texture of the cheese and allows the ricotta to swirl into the batter.

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I’ll admit I’m not the best pancake maker. Usually the first one I pour into the pan is my “test” one that gets thrown out. I just haven’t mastered getting the pan to the right heat. This time around I almost nailed it.

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After topping my short-stack with syrup…

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It was time to enjoy them!

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes*

Makes 5 4-inch pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup pancake mix (I used Aunt Jemima complete)

3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)

1 tablespoon lemon zest (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil)

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

Directions:

1. Whisk together the pancake mix, milk, and lemon oil (or zest) then gently fold in the ricotta cheese.

2. Spoon approximately 1/4 cup (I used an ice cream scoop) of the batter onto a lightly buttered pan or griddle heated over medium-heat.

3. Cook until bubbles form on the surface and then flip and cook for another minute or two until golden.

*This recipe can easily be doubled.

Lemon Doughnuts

Who doesn’t love a delicious doughnut? It’s one of the top breakfast items that most people reach for in the morning. Me personally I need protein to get me going in the a.m. so I reserve doughnuts as sweet treats for any time of the day. When I first saw this recipe it was written for mini Bundt cakes, but since I don’t own such a pan I decided to turn the batter into doughnuts instead, and it was definitely a delicious tweak!

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I began by beating the butter on medium-high speed until it was creamy.

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I then added in sugar and continued beating until the mixture was light and fluffy.

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I added in 3 lightly beaten eggs gradually, beating the mixture well after each addition.

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And finally, the lemon oil. If you cannot find lemon oil you can also substitute fresh lemon zest.

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To complete the batter I set the mixer to low speed and gradually added in flour that I sifted with baking powder and salt.

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Next I filled my prepared doughnut pans – I sprayed them with cooking spray – and baked the doughnuts in a 325 F oven for 15 minutes. I still haven’t mastered filling in the doughnut crevices so I did overfill them quite a bit, luckily it doesn’t affect the flavor.

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These doughnuts were absolutely delicious. The lemon flavor is just the right amount and the doughnuts are not overly-sweet. These were definitely a winner that I will be making again… Possibly as cupcakes next time!

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Lemon Doughnuts – Adapted from here

Makes 12 doughnuts

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

13 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon lemon oil (or 1 tablespoon of lemon zest)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray doughnut pans with baking spray.

2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In a large bowl beat the butter on medium speed until it’s smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon oil.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, blending well after each addition.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared doughnut pans and bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.