#116 cinnamon roll pancakes

Yep. That’s right, those are two very delicious pancakes!  We are huge fans of the treat, so it’s no surprise this recipe was a hit this past weekend for breakfast.  In my opinion, it might be too intense for breakfast…I’m more of a toast, eggs, & coffee sort of girl…but that didn’t stop me from indulging in this creation, which with its unknown origins has become one of the ultimate Pinterest staples.  Clever & delicious, your kids will definitely love it: the perfect combination of ever-so-perfect pancakes & delicious cinnamon rolls!

After some time of preparing cinnamon-infused foods here in Europe, I couldn’t help but notice that the hard, pungent cinnamon I found in supermarkets here was definitely different from the softer, subtler cinnamon I was used to at home.  Of course it would be different!  Little did I know about cinnamon and its so many variations!  Such a wonderfully complex spice, used in both sweet & savoury food and also in oh-so-many different purposes, it’s actually obtained from the bark of several tree species.

Known from antiquity, cinnamon was huge in places like Egypt & China.  It was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and even for gods!  Today, global production is around 220,000 tons, led by Indonesia.  More simply put, there are four main types of cinnamon: Ceylon, Cassia, Saigon, & Korintje, all identifiable by color, taste, aroma, and appearance.  To further study the complexity of the spice: the Sri Lankan grading system divides the cinnamon quills into four groups, according to their diameter: Alba (less than 6mm), Continental (less than 16mm), Mexican (less than 19mm), and Hamburg (less than 32mm)…that explains so much!  I have a hard time snapping a quill here in Europe, sometimes having to smash it to get only a small dose!  And even though the basic four varieties mentioned above are those used most for commercial purposes, there are so many more species: cassia or Chinese (which is the most common commercial type – and the one I am most used to), Korinje or Indonesian, Saigon or Vietnamese, Sri Lanka or Ceylon, Malabar, & Indian…and hundreds of types in general!

Most of Europe uses Ceylon Cinnamon, primarily because this was the first spice European explorers brought back from their conquests of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).  It didn’t help much that the German government actually banned Cassia Cinnamon at one point due to studies of liver damage & failure!  So, if you want to think healthy, let’s stick with the Ceylon Cinnamon for matters of the body.  And now that we’ve learned a bit about those beloved cinnamon sticks, time to put them to use: desserts, pies, hot cocoa, spicy candles, tea, liqueurs, pickling, soups, and lots of candy!

For the Cinnamon Filling

  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

To prepare the cinnamon filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Scoop the filling into a ziplock bag and set it aside.

For the Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup (55g) of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup (94g) of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the glaze, heat the butter in a small pan over low heat until melted.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until smooth.  Sift in the powdered sugar, stir and add the vanilla extract.  Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.

For the Pancakes

  • 1 cup (128g) of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Prepare the pancake batter in a medium bowl.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, & salt.  Whisk in the milk, egg, & oil, just until the batter is moistened (secret to good pancakes!)…a few small lumps are fine.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray.  Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup, add the batter to the pan, for a circle of about 4 inches in diameter.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Snip the corner of the ziplock bag with the cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner.  When the pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling, starting at the center of the pancake and squeezing in a swirl.  Cook the pancake up to 3 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom and with a thin, wide metal spatula quickly & gently flip it over.  Cook an additional 3 minutes, until the other side is golden.

When you flip the pancake onto the plate, you’ll see the magic swirl the cinnamon filling has created.  Wipe out the pan and repeat with the remaining pancake batter…it’s a messy situation you might get yourself into, but be patient!  Practice makes perfect!  This recipe makes only 6 pancakes, and I would recommend 2 per head!  Serve the pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze & a side of fruit!  Yum!

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