By Kristin Carden; Coffee and Woodsmoke
Perfect Lemon Zest Pancakes
For Mother’s Day
The rhubarb is always the first to emerge,
ruffled green leaves pushing their way through
soil and remnant patches of snow.
Soon after, the gooseberry leaves, though they hug close the branch—anticipating, it seems, the many spring snowfalls to come. Hints of green appear around trails’ edges; willow catkins, graceful and soft, sway in the breeze. Sandhill song ripples across the sky, notes transportive and transcendent. The robins reappear, red breast against brown grass; two chickadees build their nest in a neighboring pine.
Inside, garden preparations have begun in earnest. Seedlings—cosmos, hollyhocks, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, basil—sprout in a fully contrived environment: in mini-greenhouses, on top of heat mats, under grow lights. Two new raised beds are under construction, and I stick a reminder on the fridge that I need to source some topsoil for fill.
Up north, in zone 4b, our growing season is short. Our first frost comes in early September, and the last in early June. We are advised not to plant our gardens until Mother’s Day. And while a longer season would be welcome, there is something about planting on Mother’s Day that feels so appropriate. Digging our hands into the soil on Mother’s Day weekend; celebrating Mother Earth, and all that she provides.
Spring, the season of new life, of nurturing, of emergence and growth, offers a chance to reflect and thank all the mothers in our lives and in the world. To offer gratitude and love to our own mothers and others who have mothered us; to mothers of all creatures great and small; to Mother Earth.
Nurturing and nourishing, these lemon pancakes are a wonderful way to celebrate the mothers in your life. They come together quickly (in a blender!), and can be enjoyed sweet or savory. Enjoy the toppings suggested here or come up with your own. They are endlessly versatile!
Happiest Mother’s Day wishes to all!
How to make Lemon Zest Pancakes
Serving: 12 4-inch pancakes (recipe easily can be halved, doubled, etc) | Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 20 min | Total Time: 30 min
- Cast iron griddle
- Baking sheet (optional)
- Stand mixer with whisk (optional)
- 4 extra large eggs
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 lemon, grated for zest
- Butter for the griddle
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed & hulled
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil for the grill
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 4 ounces smoked salmon
- Optional garnish: thinly sliced jalapeño, diced fresh herbs (e.g., chives, dill, parsley)
To prepare the lemon zest pancakes:
- Preheat a seasoned cast iron griddle over medium-low heat across two stove burners.*
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
- Place all pancake ingredients (except the butter) in a blender and puree until smooth.
Note: batter will blend most easily by adding liquid ingredients first, followed by oats.
- Grease the griddle with a pat of butter. Pour several tablespoons of batter (straight from the blender) for each pancake. You should be able to fit five pancakes on the griddle per batch. Re-grease the griddle with butter before each new round of pancakes.
- Cook for 2-4 minutes, until tiny bubbles appear and the edges start to curl just slightly. Flip (the underside should be golden brown), and cook for another 2 minutes or until each side is golden.
- Transfer cooked pancakes to a baking sheet. Keep them warm in the oven while you cook the remainder of batches.
- Transfer pancakes to plates and add your desired toppings.
- Leftover pancakes will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for longer storage.
*Note: The stove temperature may vary slightly depending on the type of stove you have. You want the griddle to be hot enough to cook the pancakes through with the sides turning a golden brown, but not so hot that the pancakes scorch while the inside remains uncooked.
To make the grilled strawberries:
- Put on oven mitts and use a damp folded towel to gently (and carefully) wipe off any excess butter from the hot griddle.
- Flip the griddle over so the grill side is up.
- Brush the grill grates with the neutral-flavored oil (e.g., canola or avocado).
- Put the strawberries on the grill for 2-3 minutes. Flip the strawberries and grill for another 2 minutes.
- Remove to a bowl and utilize the extra juice for topping.
To make the whipped cream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the whipping cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Beat over medium-high speed until fluffy and the cream holds firm peaks.
Want more breakfast ideas?
Check out this Savory Spring Herb Tart with Burrata Cheese ➛
Kristin Carden currently resides in the indescribably beautiful Big Sky state of Montana. Her blog, coffeeandwoodsmoke, is her creative outlet. It is her inspiration, and allows her to share the things she loves—food, gardening, photography, art, music, yoga, meditation, nature, wildlife, wildflowers (and, of course, coffee and woodsmoke)—with others. Find more of her recipes here.