I’ve been thinking about fables lately – those short, sweet stories with a moral tacked onto the end? And I’ve also been thinking a lot about pancakes.
One of Aesop’s fables describes a boy who reaches into a tall jar with a wide base filled with hazelnuts. He grabs a large handful, greedy to bring the lot to his mouth.
But, when his tightened fist won’t fit back up through the container’s slender neck, he bursts into tears and panics, having imprisoned his clenched fingers inside a jar full of hazelnuts, where the solution is as simple as releasing his grip.
I’ve heard that monkeys do this in real life. In tests, they will supposedly leave their fists inside the jars indefinitely, unwilling to release the nuts but also anxious about being caught in the jar. And I am fascinated.
If I’m honest, it’s because I think they sound like me.
Aesop’s intended moral was simple: Do not attempt too much at once. But mine would be more complex: You have got to let go and trust That Which Is Greater – because that is faith, and because gripping things tightly doesn’t really make them yours anyway.
I’ve made slow, small movements towards change in my life recently – a loosening of my grip, as it were.
And that is something. I almost rented a new apartment I loved, I’ve been pursuing some new writing opportunities, and I’ve been daydreaming a lot about what all of this will mean later, what will truly matter 50 years from now.
Of course there has been food, too. That goes without saying. For one thing, there were these pancakes.
I made these the first time for a late breakfast on Memorial Day, when my brother was visiting and before we sat down to a late lunch of fried chicken at a fast-food restaurant because neither of us owns or typically operates a grill.
I’d seen something similar on one of my favorite blogs, a stack of small, silver-dollar-sized circles, topped with jam and butter, filled with coconut and citrus.
And when I woke up late Monday morning, after a previous night spent by a bonfire in the woods, they sounded perfect.
This is what I’ve decided about pancakes: I love them. They are as dear to me as the parts of my life I try so hard to hold onto (though, happily, with flapjacks, there’s no letting go required).
And these particular ones are really light lovely, sweetened with the tart acidity of orange, both zest and juice, and filled with a more sophisticated texture that highlights the bits of shredded coconut.
I’ve tried them a few different ways – with jam, with maple syrup, with with butter on its own, with a homemade strawberry sauce – and I liked them best with salted butter, smeared on while they are still hot, melted into each individual cake. But tell me if you find your own wonderful way to enjoy them.
While I’m learning to let go of things, I may as well start with how I like my pancakes, right? One step at a time.Print
Wake up to a tropical treat with these silver dollar pancakes. Every bite is infused with nutty toasted coconut and sweet, fresh orange.
- 1/4 cup shredded or desiccated unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more as needed
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Spread the coconut flakes onto a baking sheet in an even layer and bake, stirring once halfway through, until golden brown and toasted, about 3-5 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 200°F.
- In a bowl, mix together the toasted coconut, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Whisk in the milk, egg, vanilla, and orange juice. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl with the wet ingredients, and stir to combine. Fold in the orange zest.
- In a large skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat, melt about 1 tablespoon butter and swirl the pan to coat. When the butter begins to foam and sizzle, add a tablespoon-sized dollop of the batter to the skillet, and continue until the pan is filled, but not crowded.
- Cook the pancakes until they begin to bubble on top and are golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip each one over and cook until the other side is golden brown, about another minute.
- Keep the cooked pancakes on a baking sheet in the warm oven, and repeat with the remaining batter. Add more butter to coat the pan as needed.
- Top the pancakes with additional butter, maple syrup, or your choice of toppings. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Pancakes
- Method: Oven/Stovetop
- Cuisine: Breakfast
Keywords: pancake, coconut, orange
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Toast the Coconut
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Spread the coconut flakes onto a baking sheet in an even layer and bake, stirring once halfway through, until golden brown and toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, as the coconut will brown quickly.
Lower the oven temperature to 200°F.
Step 2 – Mix the Dry Ingredients
Step 3 – Mix the Wet Ingredients
Zest and juice the orange. Remove and discard any seeds.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the milk, egg, vanilla, and orange juice.
Have more oranges to use up? Save any extra juice for our strawberry mint orange juice!
Step 4 – Mix the Dry Ingredients into the Wet Ingredients
Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl with the wet ingredients, and stir to combine. Fold in the orange zest.
Step 6 – Cook
When the butter begins to foam and sizzle, add a tablespoon-sized dollop of the batter to the skillet, and continue until the pan is filled, but not crowded.
Cook until they begin to bubble on top and are golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip each one over and cook until the other side is golden brown, about another minute or so.
Keep the pancakes warm on a baking sheet in the oven, and repeat with the remaining batter, melting about 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan first before each time you start a new batch.
Top them with additional butter, toasted flakes, maple syrup, or your choice of toppings. Serve immediately.
She Put the Orange in the Coconut
Forget the lime in the coconut. These silver dollar dreamboats are bursting with orange-y goodness.
If you’ve ever wondered what simple tweaks you can make to give a traditional breakfast item new life, this recipe has got you covered.
Goodbye, plain pancakes. Hello, vacation in my belly!
Interested in other ways to jazz up your morning routine? With these breakfast recipes, you’ll never turn to cereal again:
- Overnight Raspberry & Chocolate French Toast Casserole
- Overnight Banana Bread Yeast Waffles
- Einkorn Rye Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Where else do you like to use toasted coconut? On top of parfaits? Salads? Smoothies? Share where you scatter this nutty treat in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on June 4, 2009. Last updated: October 18, 2022 at 9:41 am. With additional writing and editing by Fanny Slater and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.