Thick and fluffy gingerbread pancakes are the perfect way to start your Christmas day! These warmly spiced Christmas pancakes are sugar-free, super THICK, and can be prepared as written OR made even fluffier Japanese-style souffle pancakes. Top these holiday pancakes off with some whipped cream and maple syrup or tons of other toppings!
Sift all the dry ingredients (flour, gingerbread spices, baking powder) into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Separate the egg whites and yolks into two separate medium bowls (make sure there is no yolk in with the egg whites, or it will affect the whipping). Then, use a whisk/mixer to beat the egg whites until fluffy (over medium speed; high can cause deflating pancakes), almost-stiff peaks have formed.If you’re adding any sugar, then add it at this point, gradually, to the egg whites while beating them (only a spoonful at a time). Not only does this sweeten, but the sugar will also help to stabilize the egg whites.
To the bowl with the egg yolks, add the remaining wet ingredients (melted butter and milk) and mix well until thoroughly combined.
Step 2: Mix the Pancake Batter
Add the bowl of wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until fairly smooth (try not to over-mix the batter as it will affect the gluten in the flour and your pancake texture).
Gently fold the egg whites into the pancake batter using a spatula, careful not to knock out too much air from the egg whites. It’s best to do this in increments. Mix the first ¼ of the egg whites in without being too "careful" (just mix it in as usual) – then carefully fold in the rest.I’m not sure why this works, but the method makes mixing in the remaining ¾ egg whites easier and yields super fluffy pancakes. This pancake batter needs to be used immediately, especially if you haven’t included sugar. Otherwise, the batter will lose its air and become watery.
Step 3: Cook the Pancakes
There are two methods to cook these gingerbread pancakes. Using a small pan makes very even-sized and shaped thick pancakes with "sealed" sides, so they don’t "wobble." Alternatively, you can cook the pancakes loosely and will create the more jiggly traditional Japanese style souffle pancakes.
Using a Small Pan
Heat a small pan (around 6 in/15 cm) over low heat and either spray with cooking spray or use a drop of oil to grease the pan. Pour/ transfer around ½ cup of batter per pancake and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until the top forms bubbles that are popping on the surface. Then flip it and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.Using the 6-inch pan allows me to make 8-10 pancakes. Of course, depending on the size of your pan, this will vary.Use a toothpick inserted into the center of the pancake (it should come out clean) to ensure it’s cooked through. Then continue this with the remaining batter.
In a Large Skillet
Carefully scoop 1/4 cup portions of batter to your pan (or pipe it), add a tablespoon of water to the pan, and cover and cook for 1 minute. Then add a further 1/4 cup portion to the top of each pancake, cover, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.You could also use small metal cake rings/English muffin rings to add the batter too. However, I haven’t tried this method.Test the underside of the pancakes is cooked and browned and then flip over, cover, and cook for a further 3-5 minutes. Use a toothpick to test they’re cooked through, then serve.With this method, the pancakes will slightly deflate after coming out of the pan, and only the top and bottom become browned. This is normal.
Once the gingerbread pancakes are cooked, serve them with your toppings of choice and enjoy!
Keep the pancakes warm in the oven: as these ginger pancakes need to be made in batches (no matter which method you use), the first lot will be cold when the final batch is ready. To keep the pancakes warm, store any cooked pancakes in the oven (side by side, not stacked) at 200ºF/95ºC until serving.
Be careful not to overmix the batter: or you’ll beat the air out of the egg whites and affect the rise and texture of these Christmas pancakes (not only will they be flat, but rubbery too!)
The cooking time may vary: based on how thick your pancakes are, your pan, and your stovetop. So keep an eye out and adjust accordingly.
When cooking the large skillet souffle pancakes: make sure not to open the lid on the pan too often as it will impact the rise and cooking of the gingerbread pancakes.
Cook the fluffy pancakes over low heat: if the pancakes deflate completely or don't cook properly, this is usually due to the incorrect cooking temperature. Be careful to cook them over low heat. That way, they'll be cooked through entirely without burning the outside.
It's OK if there are some lumps: Combine the batter and egg whites until just combined. Lumps will help to make extra fluffy pancakes.
Make a test pancake (or two): as with all pancakes, the first couple may be liable to coming out wrong while you get the hang of the process and timings.
To make multiple pancakes at once: you can either use multiple pans OR use a large electric griddle (you’ll need a pan or one with a lid to cover the griddle).
Optional Add-Ins:I recommend pressing any add-ins gently into the pancakes in the pan rather than adding them directly to the batter (so they don’t weigh it down). Use around 1/3-1/2 cup of any of the following (chunky) add-ins.
Molasses: for extra gingerbread flavor, you can add molasses. The strength of the molasses will determine how much is needed. I recommend using dark molasses, but not blackstrap molasses (which is more bitter). I usually use 1 tablespoon, so it’s subtle and doesn’t weigh down the fluffy pancakes too much.
Cloves: add about ¼ teaspoon ground cloves for extra warm spices.
Chocolate: feel free to add a handful or two of dark, milk, or white chocolate chips to the pancakes. Make sure to sprinkle them carefully/lightly over the batter when it’s in the pan, rather than in the mixing bowl.
Dates: instead of chocolate chips, you could add finely chopped pieces of date for sweetness.
Other dried fruit and nuts: raisins, currants, cranberries, and dried apricot (perfect for mimicking lebkuchen) will all pair well. Some roughly chopped nuts would also work well: walnuts, pecans, almonds.
Candied ginger: a few pieces of crystallized ginger or stem ginger added to the pancakes will enhance the ginger flavor and add texture.
Orange zest: add a teaspoon into the pancake batter BEFORE adding the whipped egg whites.
Check the blog post for serving & storage suggestions and answers to top FAQs!