Heart-Shaped Pancakes Make Valentine's Day Extra Sweet
2024/02/05

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Why are so irresistible? (No need to answer—that was a rhetorical question.)

I happen to be obsessed with them. 

Ladd's grandmother Edna Mae made some of the  and her secret ingredient was . These pancakes also have a secret ingredient and guess what? It's even better than sour cream—it's ricotta cheese. It may sound like a strange ingredient to throw into a batch of chocolate chip pancakes, but it's not. It gives the pancakes a little tang and an amazing light-as-air texture. And if you think making sounds too difficult for an early morning, think again. They're easy and they're exceptionally cute. Sorry to sound bossy, but you absolutely must make them for

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. You really must. 

How do you make heart-shaped pancakes without a mold?

No mold? No problem. Put your artistic skills to work and freehand some heart-shaped pancakes. It's easy... promise! First, you'll need to put the batter into a pastry bag or a zip-top bag with one bottom corner cut off. A squeeze bottle works too, if you have one handy. When your pan is hot, pipe the outline of a heart, then fill in the outline as quick as you can with batter. 

A heat-proof cookie cutter or mold will make more perfectly shaped hearts. To use one, brush the inside of the mold with some melted butter. Place it directly onto the pan and fill it with about 1/4 cup pancake batter. Cook until bubbles form on the outside edge (two to three minutes). Then, remove the mold before flipping. 

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What is the secret to making the best pancakes?

Pancakes are easy-peasy, but the most important rule for light, fluffy, tender pancakes is to never overmix the batter. The batter should still have some visible lumps. When it comes to flipping, wait until bubbles have formed and begin the pop, and the edges look dry before you flip. This will help keep their heart shape. I also love to warm up my plates and heat the syrup before serving so every bite is warm! Goodness, now I'm craving a stack. 

1 lb.

strawberries, hulled and halved, plus more for serving

1/2 c.

granulated sugar

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1 tsp.

vanilla extract

1 tbsp.

freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 c.

all-purpose flour

1 tbsp.

granulated sugar

2 tsp.

baking powder

1 tsp.

baking soda

1 tsp.

kosher salt 

4

large eggs

1 1/2 c.

buttermilk

1 c.

whole milk ricotta

1 tbsp.

vanilla extract

1/2 c.

mini semisweet chocolate chips

Butter, for greasing pan

Whipped cream, for serving

Powdered sugar, for serving

Step  1 For the strawberry sauce: In a small sauce pan combine the strawberries, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice over medium-high heat. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring often, and cook until the strawberries are very soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to mash the berries into a pulp. Pour the mixture into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl, then use a spoon to vigorously stir until most of the liquid has been forced through. Set the remaining fruit pulp aside. 

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Step  2 Carefully skim as much foam off the top of the sauce as you can. Return the skimmed sauce to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the sauce has thickened and reduced slightly, about 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and skim any remaining foam from the surface. If desired, stir some of the fruit pulp back into the sauce, then transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.  Step  3 For the pancakes: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, ricotta, and vanilla. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients until just combined, being careful not to over-mix (there should still be a few lumps in the batter). Set aside to rest for at least 15 minutes, and up to 30 minutes. Carefully fold in the chocolate chips, transfer the batter to a pastry bag, and set aside.

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Step  4 Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Cut the tip off the pastry bag so there is a 1/2-inch opening. Lightly grease the skillet with butter, then, working in batches, pipe freeform hearts with the batter. Cook the pancakes until bubbles are rising to the surface of the batter, the edges are set, and the bottoms are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently flip and continue cooking, about 2 minutes more. Between batches, wipe the skillet or griddle clean with a paper towel and lightly grease with more butter before continuing. Step  5 Just before serving, drizzle the pancakes with strawberry syrup. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, a handful of strawberries, and a dusting of powdered sugar. 

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