When I was younger, I was convinced that I did not like sweet potatoes. I am not sure what I didn’t like about them…in fact, I am not sure that I ever even tried them. Perhaps it was the off-putting color that turned me into a sweet potato naysayer. Or I guess it could have been the topping of mini-marshmallows that always accompanied the sweet potatoes that my grandmother served at Thanksgiving dinner (really, the only sweet potatoes I was ever exposed to in my youth). I despise store-bought marshmallows (although I could eat an entire jar of marshmallow creme with a spoon) so the strange orange color topped with melted nastiness was not up my alley.
The center where I worked for my first eight years of teaching provided lunch at no charge to teachers and other classroom staff. We were expected (assuming that we were not feeding children at lunchtime) to eat the same things that the children were eating and be role models for them. The idea was that watching us eat would motivate the children to try new things as well as helping them learn table manners and social dining skills. There were some things on the menu that I just wouldn’t eat (chicken pot pie and turnip greens, anyone? Strangest combination ever.) but I ate most of it. And for the most part, I liked it (now, you need to know that our food was cooked by three ladies that made quite a few things from scratch, so most of it was far from being “school food”.).
One of the things that I learned to like at this job was sweet potatoes. I have to laugh now, but the ones that I first ate there were rather log-shaped and came out of a gigantic can labeled “yams”. But you know what? I liked them just fine.
Eventually I started cooking sweet potatoes at home. Of course, the sweet potatoes I was cooking in my own kitchen were not out of a can…they were fresh, fresh, fresh. Normally, a sweet potato at my house gets topped with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar or maple syrup. Mmmmm. When I saw them a couple of weeks ago at the Fall Creek Farms stall at the Main Street Farmers Market, though, I knew that those potatoes were destined for sweet potato pancakes.
I first had sweet potato pancakes on a mini-vacay that Philip and I took to Asheville, NC a couple of years ago. We asked for suggestions of where to eat on Facebook and several people mentioned a restaurant named Tupelo Honey Cafe. It’s wildly popular, but somehow we timed it just right to just walk right in and have a seat (it’s helpful when it’s just the two of you, though. We sat at the bar.). I decided on a BLT, which was delicious..but it paled in comparison to the sweet potato pancakes Philip ordered on our server’s recommendation (they really are Tupelo Honey’s “signature dish”, and Philip has a hard time passing up a good plate of pancakes). They were amazing, and soon I was searching for a similar recipe online. Ask and you shall receive….there is a Tupelo Honey recipe for sweet potato pancakes on FoodNetwork.com. Here’s my adaptation.
Sweet Potato Pancakes
|Prep time||1 hour, 15 minutes|
|Cook time||20 minutes|
|Total time||1 hour, 35 minutes|
|By author||adapted slightly from Tupelo Honey|
- 2 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/2 tablespoons sugar (I used sucanat)
- 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 3 Large eggs
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 sweet potato (baked & cooled)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
This made a ton of pancakes. The original recipe says 5 servings but I think that might mean 5 lumberjack sized servings. I'd say more like 6-8 servings.
|Whisk the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.|
|Whisk the buttermilk, honey, and eggs in a separate bowl and add to the dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined, then whisk in the butter.|
|Mash the sweet potato and mix it into the pancake batter. Allow to rest for at least an hour.|
|Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.|
|Preheat a cast iron griddle or a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Brush with oil or melted butter. Ladle the pancake batter onto the prepared pan about 1/4 cup at a time. Cook until bubbles pop on the top side and the top looks slightly matte, then flip and cook until golden brown on the other side. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.|
|Serve with honey or maple syrup.|