Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes with Butter Pecan Sauce for Mardi Gras from Cleo Coyle

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Making pancakes for Mardi Gras is an old tradition, which is why I'm sharing one of my favorite pancake recipes with you this week: Pumpkin PancakesThe pumpkin brings nutrition, fiber, and great taste to these pancakes. You can top them with my Warm Butter Pecan Sauce or try the healthier topping idea I've also included in the recipe.

To download this recipe right now click here. Or read my entire blog post by scrolling down or clicking here and...

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Let Them Eat Pancakes!

This week marks the celebration of Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday. Why "Fat" Tuesday? Because it's the last day to party and eat before Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of Lent.

For those who observe these traditions, Lent begins forty days of modified fasting, which precedes the celebration of Easter.

Making and eating pancakes is an old tradition that came from people wanting to use up their lard (fat) and rich ingredients before Lent began, which is why doughnuts and fried pastries are also popular foods to eat on this day.

Mardi Gras is also referred to as Shrove Tuesday. Have you ever wondered why? Well, shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for sins via confessing and penance. (And please don't ask me to use it in a sentence. Oh, all right. When I burned the pancakes, I cleaned the pan, made a fresh batch, and asked my hungry husband to shrive me. See, I told you not to ask.) 

And so begins today's feasting before the fast...

May you flip with joy!
 ~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle’s
Perfect Pumpkin

Makes 8 – 10 pancakes, depending on size


4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 eggs 

½ cup pureed pumpkin (I use canned)

1-½ cups milk
(low fat is fine)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (double if you like spice)

(optional) ½ teaspoon orange zest (grated orange peel)

¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed

¼ teaspoon salt 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

2 teaspoons baking powder 


Step 1 - Make batter: Melt butter and set aside to cool a bit. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, pureed pumpkin, milk, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and (optional) orange zest. Add brown sugar, salt, and the melted butter that you set aside. Finally mix in the flour and baking powder. Do not over-mix the batter at this point or your pancakes will be tough instead of tender. You can make the pancakes immediately or cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow batter to sit in the refrigerator (and hydrate) for 30 minutes to an hour (or even overnight). 

Step 2 – Cooking the perfect pancake: 

(a) Pre-heat: Pre-heat a nonstick griddle or skillet. If you have a good quality nonstick griddle or pan (and there is absolutely no residue on the surface), you will see prettier results without using grease. Butter, cooking spray, and oil all produce mottled surfaces on your pancakes. If you do have an older pan or it does not have a nonstick surface, lightly grease with butter, oil, or cooking spray.

(b) Pour: Using a measuring cup, pour ¼ cup of batter onto the pre-heated pan or griddle; immediately pour ¼ cup more right on top of the first pour. The pancake batter should spread into a perfect circle, about five inches in diameter. 

(c) Flip and finish: When you see bubbles begin to form on pancake’s top, it’s ready to flip. Cook lightly on the other side and serve with my Warm Butter Pecan Sauce or my Healthier Topping Option, both are below.

Cleo's Warm 
Butter Pecan

Full of buttery sweet caramel flavor, this sauce is delicious served warm over ice cream or pancakes...

Makes 2/3 cup sauce


½ cup butter (1 stick)

¼ cup half-and-half or heavy cream

½ cup dark brown sugar, packed

¼ cup chopped pecans


Quick warning: Do not melt butter first in this recipe. If you do, the butter may separate and your sauce will not thicken properly unless you boil it down. Instead, use this method: In a saucepan, over low heat, combine solid butter, half-and-half (or cream), brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Stir immediately and continually. Mixture should not boil. When butter is fully melted, remove from heat, cover and keep warm to serve over pancakes or ice cream.

Cleo's Healthier
Topping Option

Instead of using butter and syrup on your pancakes or the sauce described above, try this healthier method...

Squeeze juice from the wedge of an orange over the top of your warm pumpkin pancakes and dust with powdered sugar. 

This is a much lower calorie option than butter and syrup and it tastes delicious—almost like a carnival funnel cake, one of my favorite treats from childhood. The orange flavor also pairs beautifully with the light pumpkin taste in the pancakes.

Eat (and read) with joy! 

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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