Exercising Memory: Acorn Pancakes

With the impaired cognitive functioning that often comes with certain mental illnesses, exercising our memories is a good idea. Much like the acorn squash bread you may or may not have already seen, making these pancakes requires a bit more attention than your typical pancakes. If you have already made the bread, though, you’re golden – because you can use any leftover acorn puree for these pancakes. Making acorn pancakes exercises your memory because you have to keep up with the steps – and if you decide to break it into two days, then you have to remember where you left off. Pancake time!

Acorn?

You must think I’ve lost it … but we’re not talking about the acorns that fall all over the ground from the trees. We’re talking about acorn squash. It’s just much easier to simplify the name to ‘acorn pancakes’ rather than ‘acorn squash pancakes’. Not to mention, the name is attention-grabbing!

Squash is good for us, but it doesn't taste that great. At least, it didn't ... until we put it in pancakes! Transform your boring (and not so yummy) squash into something slightly sweet and definitely delicious - acorn squash pancakes! (Don't worry, it's easy - and your taste buds will love it :)

 

They were really an experiment. I had some acorn squash in the refrigerator, and I wasn’t sure how to use it. For some reason I thought I’d make a puree out of it, and substitute it for pumpkin in pancakes. Pumpkin and acorn are both squash, right?

I made the puree, and went to make the pancakes .. but we didn’t have any eggs! We’d used them this morning. Oops. Well, I could send my husband to the store, or I could make-do. Guess what I decided?

You guessed it! These pancakes do not use eggs. *See note below for potential vegan option*

For the puree:

  • 1 med sized acorn squash*

Cut the squash in half from stem to bottom, and scoop out the inner goodness ***

Place cut side up in a baking dish with about an inch of water in the bottom. Cover with foil, and roast until easily pierced with a fork in a 375 oven. Roasting two took me about 1 1/2 hrs. If you’re only roasting one squash, I’d start with 40 min and add on from there. The squash should be very soft and easily mashed. When cool, scoop out the squash, and dispose of the outer peel.

  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 3 tbsp butter (or a non-dairy milk if you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp nutmeg

Mash the squash before adding the ingredients .. Our squash was so soft after baking that I didn’t actually have to mash it, I just stirred all of the ingredients together. Voila! You have acorn squash puree – perfect for your pancakes!

For the pancakes:

 (loosely based on this pumpkin pancake recipe from Cooking Classy). I’m sure they’re good with pumpkin puree too!

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

(for the salt and spices I didn’t measure, just used a big dash of cinnamon and some small dashes of ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Whether or not you measure is up to you. It’s really to-taste!)

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

(back to following measurements here)

  • 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup acorn puree *recipe above*
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp oil (I used olive, but you could use vegetable)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together, then add the puree, buttermilk, oil, and extract. Whisk together. There you have your batter.

Do we need to discuss actually cooking these babies? They cook just like a regular pancake (and look just like normal too).

Acorn Pancakes (1)

I’d heat the griddle up to at least 350, but no higher than 375 (unless you’re going to turn it down once you start cooking). If you’re using a skillet, put a small splash of oil in the skillet and heat it up on about 5 or 6. When a splash of water dropped in the skillet sizzles, it’s ready – before you start cooking, turn the heat to about 4 (medium).

They are ready to (carefully) flip when you see small bubbles rising up on the surface (especially the middle) of the pancake. Cook the other side a minute or two more (until golden) and enjoy just like you would any other pancake. We ate ours with butter and maple syrup.

 

* for a vegan pancake, I think it would be okay to leave out the butter in the puree, and use cashew or almond milk in place of the buttermilk. Vegan Food Addict has a recipe for making buttermilk out of non-dairy milk. I haven’t tried it, and the flavor would probably be somewhat different, but let me know how it turns out if you try it!

** I used two squash, and have more than enough … which means acorn puree for something else! Hopefully another ‘acorn’ recipe will be coming soon using the remaining puree.

***You can roast the seeds just as you would pumpkin seeds – spread them out on a cookie sheet, spray with olive oil, and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings. Roast at 350-375 (hotter works better for us) until golden brown (about 10-15 min give or take .. I didn’t really time ours)

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