Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Fiction and Flapjacks for Fat Tuesday by Cleo Coyle #MardisGras #PancakeDay

The making and eating of pancakes is an old tradition for Fat Tuesday (aka Mardis Gras) that came from people wanting to use up their lard (fat) and rich ingredients before Lent began.

Because writing fiction with recipes is our business, my husband and I decided to do a roundup of fiction and pancake recipes for you today, one we hope you’ll flip for...

Hey, no groaning. Puns are our business, too.

~ Cleo

* In an 1844 letter to Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne reported that just as he ran out of beef and bread, two local women delivered to him a plate of "specially good flapjacks, piping hot," in what is perhaps the first mention of pancakes by an American literary figure.

Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes with warm
Butter Pecan Syrup

When we think of Mr. Hawthorne, we think of great American writing, which is why we'd pair him with our Pumpkin Pancakes, a recipe that makes good use of a great American squash.

To get our recipe, click here.

* In the 1899 collection In a Far Country, Jack London wrote about the harsh conditions in the Yukon during the Alaska Gold Rush, where he wintered in a log cabin, and subsisted on flapjacks cooked in bacon grease and soaked in sugar water, in lieu of maple syrup.

The Best Oatmeal Pancakes
with a dairy-free option

Mr. London's dietary plight eventually turned tragic. His consistently poor diet is what helped lead to his early demise. During those days in the Klondike, he suffered from scurvy, which is why we'd suggest our nutritious and fiber-rich Oatmeal Pancakes (with a glass of orange juice)!

To get our recipe, click here.

* In the short story "Big Two-Hearted River," Ernest Hemingway’s character Nick Adams meditates upon the proper way to prepare and flip pancakes. 

Buckwheat Pancakes with
gluten-free and dairy-free options
Because the story explores the regenerative power of nature (contrasted with the destructive qualities of war), we would suggest our nutty, hearty Buckwheat Pancakes. Despite its name, "buckwheat" is not any kind of wheat. It's an ancient grain that comes from a fruit seed via a plant related to rhubarb. Healthy and delicious, it's also a lovely example of those rejuvenating powers of nature.

Our recipe (click here) includes gluten-free and dairy-free options.

* In The Maltese Falcon, one of the earliest examples of the hardboiled detective novel, Dashiell Hammett coined the slang term "a stack of wheats" to describe a tough guy’s pancake breakfast.

Buttermilk Pancakes

We think Mr. Hammet and his famous detective Sam Spade would flip for a stack of old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes, the kind you'd down at a diner with a hot cuppa joe.

To download the recipe (below) in a free PDF that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Click for the free PDF or scroll down for the recipe...

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband. 
Learn about their books 
by clicking here and here.

Cleo's Old-fashioned
Buttermilk Pancakes

Yields: 12 pancakes (about 5 inches in diameter)


4 Tablespoons butter, melted
4 eggs
1-1/2  to 2-1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
         (or regular milk with 1 tsp lemon juice)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons white, granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder


Step 1 - Make Batter: Melt the butter and set aside to cool a bit. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and 1-1/2 cups of the buttermilk (or regular milk with lemon added). Add flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and finally the melted butter. Stir together the ingredients into a lumpy batter, do not over-mix. Now consider the thickness of the batter.

Step 2 - Adjust Thickness: 
If you like thicker, heavier pancakes, you may be good to go at this point. I usually add 1/2 cup or more of buttermilk (or milk). Depending on your climate, you may need to add even more to get the batter to your desired thickness (or thinness). Again, the batter should be lumpy, not smooth, and do not over-mix or you'll develop the gluten in your flour and your pancakes will be tough instead of tender.

Step 3 - Ladle, Flip, and Serve: You can either make the pancakes immediately or allow the batter to sit in the refrigerator (and hydrate) for up to an hour. Ladle the batter onto a pre-heated, non-stick griddle or skillet. TIP: If you have a good quality, non-stick griddle or skillet that's completely clean of residue, you will see prettier pancake results without oil or grease. Butter, cooking spray, and oil will all produce mottled surfaces on your cakes. When the tops begin to bubble, flip. Serve with butter and syrup. These pancakes are amazing when served with homemade blueberry syrup/compote. See the recipe below...

Cleo Coyle's
Fresh Blueberry Syrup/Compote

Yields: 2 cups of amazingly delicious syrup/compote


2 pints blueberries
1/2 cup white, granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Directions: Place all ingredients in a bowl and lightly stir until all sugar is dissolved. Allow to stand 30 mintues to an hour. Transfer everything to a saucepan (ideally your pan will have a non-stick surface). Be sure to include all excess liquid that accumulated at the bottom of the bowl. Heat the blueberry mixture to boiling then reduce heat a bit and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. The mixture will thicken and darken, as shown in the photo at right.

Remove from heat and serve immediately over pancakes, ice cream, slices of angel food or pound cake. To store, allow to come to room temperature then pour into an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Pancakes with warm
Butter Pecan Syrup

May you eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * *

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Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

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A Mystery Guild Selection
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Dead to the Last Drop 
is a culinary mystery with 
more than 25 delicious recipes!

See the free illustrated 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

*  *  *

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the 15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
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  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Dee. This was a fun post to put together. May you flip with joy! :)

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. I think your cat editor had too many flapjacks and fell asleep!
    This is a great collection of recipes. Where to start?
    When will we see a new Jack story? Please?!

    1. Libby - We love our Mr. Fellows, a great companion during long days (and nights) of writing. And, yes, we are happy to tell you that the writing includes a new Haunted Bookshop Mystery (starring our beloved ghost PI Jack Shepard). We'll be turning in the manuscript later this year, and we'll have a pub date announcement before next. Jack won't stop haunting us and (thank goodness), neither will his readers. We appreciate it.

      Thanks for dropping in, Libby, it's always a pleasure to see you in The Kitchen!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

    2. Delighted to hear we will have more Jack soon(ish).

  3. Love your collection of pancake recipes! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Kim - You're very welcome. Thank *you* for stopping by to leave such a nice note. Marc and I appreciate it! Have a delicious Pancake Day!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Fabulous photos, Cleo. But, :( now I really want to eat flapjacks!

    1. Krista - The Mardis Gras pancake tradition is one we always enjoy. Of course, everyone worries about pancakes being too rich, and so do we. Try our Pumpkin Pancakes, the pumpkin adds nutrition, fiber, and moistness and our recipe includes an option without syrup that's fabulous. Good eats all around. Thanks for dropping by today, may your Shrove Tuesday be delicious!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. I CLEO'S BOOKS! I LOVE PANCAKES! I love many specialty pancakes, but buttermilk is my go-to favorite...nothing fancy, just topped with butter and warm maple syrup. However, in Hawaii I had macadamia nut pancakes with guava syrup....oh, my! Delicious!