Chai Pancakes Please!

It's a magical moment when you find a recipe that combines two things you love. I don't know how to describe it. The angels whisper hallelujah and you look around the room- 'did that just happen!?' If you don't like chai, and you don't like pancakes- you need to sit down and assess your life.

Chai means tea. When people say, "can I get a chai tea?" I have to fight the urge to kick them. That translates to, 'can i get some tea tea?' I know it's silly to care, but the word is very similiar to the Portuguese version and my language filter sparks. Ahem.

I am a sucker for chai thanks to my girlfriend Sulava. She made some for us one night in her home and I have not been able to look at it the same way since. It put that Starbucks stuff to shame (hey- I worked there for a year so I can say that). Chai essentially is a combination of spices. I don't know the exact break down and there are many versions, but the basic one involves cardamon, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

If you combine this spicy, flavorful drink with some good ol' buttermilk pancakes- there's magic. It is not a super strong flavor. Once you taste the chai though you cannot help but smile. I was immediately smitten for these pancakes and I hope you dig them.

Note: I prepared the chai the night before just to make sure the flavor was at its fullest.

Chai Spiced Buttermilk Pancakes
by Joy the Baker

2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
healthy pinch of ground cloves
scant 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns (or a dash of freshly ground black pepper)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup brewed black chai tea
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
oil or cooking spray (for cooking)

In a large bowl beat eggs. Add buttermilk, chai tea, butter and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Mix well until mostly smooth. Let batter set for a few minutes.

Heat griddle or pan over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan or spray with cooking spray. You can test to see if the pan is hot enough by adding a few drops of water, when the drops start to dance its hot enough.

Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter onto the griddle. Cook on the first side until bubbles that form start to pop. Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook until golden brown. Repeat! Let cooked pancakes rest on a heat proof plate in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.