Take Pancakes Up a Notch: 7 Mix-Ins That Make Mornings Brighter

During the summer there are classic dishes that make us all feel like the warm, leisurely season has finally arrived: hamburgers, potato salad, berry pies. Around our house, slow summer mornings mean pancakes. And while blueberries and the occasional chocolate chip pancakes are wonderful, there are dozens of exciting pancake variations and mix-ins that beckon. Mark Bittman just wrote a piece on Whole-Grain Pancakes exploring different grains and flours, and I've kept it up on my browser for days, staring at each fluffy pancake with longing. Bulgar Ricotta Pancakes? Flapjacks laced with cardamom and oats? These are not your grandmother's pancakes, but they're innovative and exciting for their use of mix-ins and spices that we don't typically associate with an adored American breakfast. After reading Bittman's piece, I started talking to family members and asking them about their favorite pancake recipes. Below are their suggestions.

7 Awesome Pancake Mix-Ins

1. Lemon Zest: These Sour Cream Pancakes (pictured above) are a relatively classic recipe, but the grated citrus zest adds a special brightness that make them quite memorable.

2. Oatmeal: Smitten Kitchen's Oatmeal Pancakes rely on oat flour and cooked oats for a hearty and heart-healthy morning flapjack.

3. Nuts & Seeds A little crunch goes a long way, and 101 Cookbooks' Poppy Seed Pancakes are a testament to that. Made with buttermilk, poppy seeds and sunflower seeds, they're fluffy yet toothsome at the same time.

4. Pine Nuts: What caught my attention in Bittman's article more than anything were these Cornmeal Pancakes with Vanilla and Pine Nuts. I imagine the savory crunch lends itself perfectly to a cornmeal batter.

5. Coconut: These Coconut Pancakes by Cookie and Kate utilize not just shredded coconut but coconut water as well!

6. Bacon: I know, I know. Bacon in baked goods is a trend that a few of you are excited to put behind you, while others are holding on for dear life. For all of you folks in the latter category, bacon in pancakes is a pretty big deal. And these Maple Bacon Pancakes from Serious Eats are a fine place to begin.

7. Herbs: Pancakes have a reputation as a sweeter breakfast, drizzled with syrup or jam and served with fruits or honey. But they're quite wonderful savory, too. These filled pancakes from Food 52 boast greens, garlic and herbs and are certainly a departure from more traditional breakfast fare, but in a most intriguing way.

What are your favorite pancake mix-ins? What's your go-to recipe?

Related: Breakfast Recipe: The BEST Pancakes Ever!

(Image: Megan Gordon)

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