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These tall, tangy cakes raise the bar for your holiday breakfast

Matthew Fairman, America's Test Kitchen on

We wanted to step up our pancake game and create a truly memorable breakfast. For rich, full-flavored pancakes (that tasted good even without syrup), we increased the typical amounts of butter, sugar and salt, and added a good amount of malted milk powder, a toasty, savory flavor powerhouse common to diner-style pancakes.

To ensure that our cakes cooked up tender and fluffy, we carefully stirred together the wet and dry ingredients until they just formed a lumpy batter (so that it didn’t develop too much chewy gluten), and we gave the batter a short rest to allow the leaveners to aerate the mixture.

Finally, we whisked together a simple mixture of Nutella, maple syrup, and salt to make a glossy, decadent chocolate-hazelnut syrup that took our pancakes to the next level.

Malted Milk Pancakes with Nutella Maple Syrup

Serves 4 (Makes 12 4-inch pancakes)

For the pancakes:

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar

1/4 cup (1 1/8 ounces) malted milk powder

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons table salt

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly


1 teaspoon vegetable oil, plus extra as needed

For the Nutella-maple syrup:

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup Nutella

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1. FOR THE PANCAKES: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and place sheet in oven.

2. Whisk flour, sugar, milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter together in a separate bowl (butter may form clumps; this is OK).

3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in buttermilk mixture; gently whisk until just combined (batter should remain lumpy, with few streaks of flour). Do not overmix. Let batter sit for 10 minutes. (Do not stir batter after resting.)

4. FOR THE NUTELLA MAPLE SYRUP: Meanwhile, whisk maple syrup, Nutella, and salt in a bowl until combined.

5. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film on bottom and sides of skillet.

6. Using a 1/4-cup dry measuring cup, portion batter into skillet in three places. Cook until the edges of the pancakes are set, bubbles on the surface are just beginning to break, and the underside is golden brown, about 3 minutes.

7. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until the second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer pancakes to the prepared wire rack in the oven (or serve as they’re ready). Repeat with remaining batter, using extra oil and adjusting heat as necessary if pancakes begin to darken too quickly. Serve with Nutella maple syrup.

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