JeanMarie Brownson: Transform basic pancake mix into a festive breakfast for Mother’s Day

<p>It’ s easy to customize pancake mix.</p>

JeanMarie Brownson/TNS

It’ s easy to customize pancake mix.

We happily tote family-size bags of pancake mix to the fishing cabin and on weekend getaways. These “just add water” mixes prove easy when cooking for a crowd.

Always looking for ways to make meals interesting, I’ve taken to swapping out other liquids for the water in these mixes. Unsweetened oat or almond milk adds subtle flavor and lightens the texture. Pumpkin or sweet potato puree, ricotta or cottage cheese, chopped fresh or frozen fruit, transform basic pancake mix into a festive breakfast.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, I’m using unsweetened coconut milk in place of some of the water called for in a “complete” buttermilk pancake mix. Fresh or frozen diced mango gets gently folded into the batter. Blueberries work here, too. So easy, even young kids can turn out fluffy pancakes with just a little help at the stove.

Serve the pancakes with maple syrup. Or for a simple, less sweet topping, simmer diced mango with a bit of honey and nutmeg. A dollop of coconut yogurt makes the stack extra luxurious. Sunny Sunday morning fare indeed.

Coconut mango pancakes with mango-honey topping

Makes 24 four-inch pancakes, serving 4 to 6

  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh or frozen ripe mango
  • 1 can (15 ounces) sliced mango in light syrup or diced peaches in light syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Grated rind of 1 small orange or tangerine
  • 2 large pinches fresh nutmeg

Pancakes:

  • 1 can (13.6 ounces) lite coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled, mashed
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 4 cups complete buttermilk pancake mix
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) diced ripe mango
  • Vegetable oil for high-heat cooking, such as expeller pressed canola, safflower or sunflower oil
  • Butter, softened
  • Coconut milk yogurt or plain Greek yogurt, for serving

1. For mango-honey topping, combine all ingredients in small saucepan. Heat to simmer and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm. (Or refrigerate up to 3 days and reheat before serving.)

2. For pancakes, mix coconut milk and mashed banana in a large bowl. Stir in 1 1/3 cups water. Add pancake mix. Use a large spoon or rubber spatula to stir mixture gently just until the mix is moistened. Gently stir in 2 cups mango pieces. Add a few more tablespoons of water if needed to make a thick, but pourable, batter.

3. Heat 1 or 2 large nonstick skillet(s) or a nonstick griddle over medium heat until a drop of the water bubbles furiously. Lightly oil and butter the cooking surface. Then spoon out about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Spread the batter with the back of the spoon so it is thinned out into a 4-inch round. Cook until a few bubbles break on top and the bottom is golden, about 2 minutes. Gently flip pancake over and cook until second side is golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Keep oiling the cooking surface and adjusting the heat as you go along so pancakes are golden and not overly browned.

4. Transfer cooked pancakes to serving plates. Serve them topped with warm mango-honey topping and a dollop of yogurt.

(JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods. She co-authored three cookbooks with chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food, travel and dining for more than four decades.)