A good streusel topping is hard to resist. It’s one of the things that makes coffee cakes so popular, and can turn a good muffin into a great one – or at least turn it into one that looks a little more decadent. I’m sure that this is what IHOP was banking on when they introduced some “limited time only” Coffee Cake Pancakes to their menu. The pancakes look delicious on their posters, with layers of pancakes, streusel and whipped cream. As tempted as I was to pull my car over when I spotted a nearby IHOP, I decided to drive on home and put together a completely homemade batch of coffee cake pancakes.
I assumed that IHOP probably used their standard pancake batter for their pancakes, so I set out to base my recipe around the buttermilk pancakes that I usually make. The IHOP pancakes have streusel on top of the pancakes, as well as in the pancakes themselves, so I knew that I would have to make a batch of streusel and bake it off in advance. I modified a streusel that tops one of my favorite coffee cakes, crumbled it onto a baking sheet and baked it in the oven until it was crisp
To make the pancakes, I used a 1/3 cup measure to dollop large amounts of batter onto my griddle, spread the pancake batter (it is fairly thick) gently into circles, and sprinkled some of the pre-baked streusel topping onto the un-cooked side of the pancake. This allows the streusel the chance to cook into the pancake, not just slide off the top. I served these with maple syrup and more streusel topping, leaving the whipped cream to the IHOP version.
The pancakes were soft and fluffy, with a delicious buttermilk-vanilla flavor. The streusel added a fantastic texture and flavor to the pancakes: crunchy, sweet and buttery. It was almost like crumbling up shortbread cookies and sprinkling them into the batter, but probably better because of the spices in the streusel. The pancakes are quite filling – not to mention indulgent – so I would save these for a lazy weekend morning. The streusel can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container if you want to bake it ahead of time and have it on hand.
Coffee Cake Pancakes
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt. Add butter to bowl and blend at low speed with a hand mixer until mixture resembles coarse, wet sand. Stir in pecans
Grab handfuls of the streusel mixture and press them together into clumps. Drop gently onto baking sheet. If clumps are too large (say, bigger than a golf ball) break up slightly.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until firm and light gold. Cool on baking sheet.
Before using, coarsely chop if pieces seem too large to easily use as a topping.
Store in an airtight container if not using right away.
Double this recipe to use up the full batch of streusel, or reserve the extra streusel for another batch
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk until batter is well-combined and no streaks of flour remain. It’s ok if the batter is a little lumpy.
Preheat griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on its surface. Grease lightly if not using a nonstick pan.
Using a 1/3 cup measure, dollop batter onto hot griddle. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of streusel onto the pancake. Cook until bottom is browned, then flip and cook until streusel side is browned.
Serve pancakes with maple syrup and an extra sprinkling of streusel.
Serves 4, with enough streusel to top a double-batch of pancakes and serve 8.