Growing up in Small Town USA there were only really two things to do on Sunday. One was put on your finest Wal-Mart Sunday best and head on down to the center of town to sing praise unto the Lord Jesus Christ or stay home and relish in the fact that you don’t have to put on pants at all and you get to eat breakfast at a normal hour in front of your television while watching PBS or Hercules or Xena Warrior Princess. When Rev. Danny Miller would come calling to fetch our souls to be saved my father would kindly smile, say fuck you and close the door in his face before looking at my sisters and I who would be rolling in fits of laughter on the floor declaring that Sunday would be Pancake Day. Cheers and accolades would ring across the valley as we eagerly sat at the table, knife and fork posed at the ready to devour homemade pancakes with butter and syrup. If my father was feeling particularly generous, and growing up in the insipid Reagan era sometimes generosity was a luxury, we got fried potatoes and scrambled eggs. Needless to say Sundays were always a fun day in our home and with our bellies filled with pancake goodness we would do our chores with moderate grumbling and a hell of a lot of complaining. We were kids. It’s like part of the code. You do chores, you bitch about it and then you still do them. No privilege here folks.
As my adolescence waned and I found myself locked in the doldrums of adulthood, the Sunday breakfasts shared with my family soon became nothing but a faint memory in my brain as I now woke up on Sundays to serve fried chicken to those lovely church folk who wandered into KFC in their Wal-Mart Sunday best at 11 am. I hated it. I wanted my weekends back but working in the fast food industry you don’t always get the luxury of having a set established schedule and you do what you gotta do to make the monies to pay the bills. It wasn’t until I found myself in corporate America working a rather white-collar type job that I started to enjoy my weekends. But being single, somewhat anti-social I still didn’t bother making breakfast and resorted to bowls of cereal or whatever leftovers I had in my fridge at the time. Queue the introduction of friends and Kyle into my life in my mid twenties and I now had places to be on Sunday, people to see and yes breakfast to make. Pancakes, biscuits and gravy, SOS, french toast. All the wonderful things that happen when you actually leave your apartment and go socialize with other human beings who aren’t just disembodied voices on the other side of your computer monitor :O HALLELUJAH THEY DO EXIST IN NATURE! Breakfast will probably always be to me the most important meal of the day. And I will have it any time of the day.
Another thing that I enjoy is a good beer. Kyle and I on a random road trip through Minnesota and Wisconsin wandered across a small little town called Chippewa Falls which is home to Leinenkugel Brewery. After playing a rousing game of winner take all rock, paper, scissors I lost and instead of going to some random zoo we ended up going to the brewery to see what it was all about. Probably the best loss ever because both Kyle and I fell in love with the brewery and their beer. If you notice them in your grocery cooler please give them a try they are an amazing beer. Plus they rip on Anheuser Busch which to me, living in St. Louis is pretty fucking awesome because that beer is piss.
This morning I woke up and the desire to go into the office for overtime was not there. Plus I had to wait for the DirecTV guy to show up for our installation so I decided what better thing to do then make breakfast, drink some coffee, maybe play a rousing hour or two of For Honor or Assassins Creed. I looked for the maple syrup and realized that I had used it a few weeks ago for a different project and that I didn’t have any artificial fake Aunt Jemima crap and the craving for pancakes deepened and became hard to ignore. After looking around I decided to crack open up our Explorer Sample pack of Leinis and see what we had stowed away. Heart of Oak, IPL, a Pale Ale and the Big Butt Dopplebock smiled back at me from the cardboard box. It was the Doppelbock that made me smile because well, it’s called Big Butt and I have a big butt.
It just seemed appropriate. Into the kitchen I headed with my spoils of war to make syrup for my pancakes. Making syrup is simple it just can take a while and has to be babied because it is a volatile little concoction of melted sugars. If you turn your back at the wrong time you can return to a frothy mess all on your stove that will take an act of God to clean up. One mistake I habitually make every time I make a syrup or a reduction is for some unknown reason I ALWAYS pick the tiniest pan possible and after about 30 minutes of going “OMG ITS NOT THICKENING UP” I always transfer it to a larger sauce pan and within 3 minutes it’s the consistency I want. I don’t know why? I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of insanity and I embody chaos.
Making syrup normally only really requires 2 ingredients. Your liquid of choice and sugar and normally its a 1:1 ratio so if making a simple syrup for tea you would use 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar. With simple syrup you want to combine the water and sugar until dissolved and then transfer to a container for later use. These can be used to flavor cocktails, iced teas (because normal white sugar doesn’t dissolve in cold water) or even
your coffee. For the purpose of turning this into a sort of pancake syrup we want to take it a step further. We want to reduce the volume of the liquid ala evaporation to thicken it without needing to add a crap ton of syrup and intensify the flavor of the beer. For this recipe you will need beer (preferably a stout or a lager), sugar & vanilla
Pour your beer into a medium-sized sauce pan and then add your sugar and vanilla. I didn’t know this when I started but adding sugar to a freshly foamed beer causes some massive foam head to happen. It’s kind of like vinegar meets baking soda only not as violent and a little cooler. Take your pan to the stove and put over a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar to discourage burning. NO BURNING NO BAD..NO. Like I said earlier you’ll want to make sure you watch this to make sure it doesn’t bubble up and get everywhere. I got distracted by my cats in the window but was quickly reminded that I had something cooking, turned around and it was quickly creeping up the side of the pan. None of that nonsense dammit! While stirring isn’t really required for non alcohol simple syrups it is for when using beer as your liquid because of all the CO2 that is in it. It creates a lot of foam that needs to be tamed. After about 45 minutes (keep in mind I was using a tiny pan at first) I was rewarded in my quest for beer syrup with a caramel vanilla Bavarian syrup to go on my oatmeal pancakes. It set up pretty quickly once removed from the pan so I can see me needing to gently warm this to make it fluid for any additional
applications. But I think it’s pretty bad ass and will definitely be a motivator for me to be more of a social breakfast day drinker. I mean what can go wrong with drinking alcohol at like 10 am. They do it all the time for brunch in the version of bloody marys and mimosa and I’m a huge advocate of drinking bloody marys before noon any day of the week. Especially on Mondays.
So since this adventure was all about breakfast and originally I was wanting to make a coffee stout pancake type syrup I was wanting to pair it up with oatmeal to keep that whole “no occifer I’ve only had breakfast today..I don’t drink and drive” mentality going. Because I’m a law-abiding citizen who would never drive will under the influence of any sort of substance…..*nudges the reader…did you buy that?*. So oatmeal pancakes. Pretty simple and straight forward and doesn’t require a whole hell of a lot of time or planning. Basic homemade pancake ingredients with oatmeal tossed in for shits and giggles.
In a large bowl you’ll want to place your rolled oats (don’t use quick cooked they will get soggy) and pour your milk over them and allow to soak for 5 minutes. This will give you plenty of time to yell at your cat no he can’t go outside or to remember that you were brewing coffee, or to finish off a bottle of beer because you may have “accidentally” not poured all of it into the saucepan for the syrup. “accidentally” no I’ve got a drinking problem and I’m not ashamed of it. Because you know acceptance is the first step to self-awareness or is it self awareness is the first step to acceptance…I dunno I started drinking at 9 am. I’m a winner! To your soaked oats you’ll want to add all your other ingredients and mix. It will be a thin batter because of the fact we only are using 3/4 of a cup of flour. And then you follow pancake protocol. Spray your griddle with cooking spray or lightly coat with oil. Pour, cook on one side till brown and flip over repeating process until ALL your little pancakes are finished.
Toss on a plate with some homemade honey butter (check out my post about kinky baking weekends 2 weeks ago) and drizzle on your beer syrup and enjoy. You can share if you want to but I’m a sad non social drunk so I prefer to eat these alone at home with nothing but guilt to keep me company and regret that I’m hurting my family hanging over my head. Pretty sure this is also okay for the kids considering you will cook out any alcohol in the beer and leave only the taste of it and even then the sugars have caramelized that you don’t even realize that it’s beer. But if that isn’t your thing because well you’re one of these old-fashioned individuals who frowns on contributing to the delinquency of a minor just serve up the pancakes with normal syrup or honey. Still great no matter how you spin it. Serve with honey butter, beer syrup (honey, maple syrup, etc) maybe a link or two of sausage if you have it, some scrambled eggs or simply a cup of coffee or a bourbon..whichever you have lying around 🙂
Now since I’m all carbed up with my morning fill of alcohol I’m going to go wait for the DirecTV guy to show up and give me full access to the wonders that is satellite television. MA IVE MADE IT!!!!
Bavarian Beer Syrup
- 2 cups beer (any kind probably will work)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium size saucepan pour in beer, sugar and vanilla and stir till combined. Bring to a simmer and allow to reduce till a thick syrup forms. Stir often to discourage burning and to stop it from foaming over. Transfer to your serving dish and enjoy (wow so complicated!)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/2-2 cups rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
In a large bowl allow oats to soak in milk for 5 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients and allow to sit while griddle heats up on a medium heat. The batter will be thin. Pour 1/3 cup of batter and allow to cook till top set and then flip over cooking till done. Transfer to a warm oven until complete. Serve with honey butter, beer syrup (honey, maple syrup, etc) maybe a link or two of sausage if you have it, some scrambled eggs or simply a cup of coffee or a bourbon..whichever you have lying around 🙂