Cheers to Pumpkin Beer Pancakes

Now that it’s October, you’re probably prepared to face an overabundance of pumpkin-themed posts and photos in your blog readers and on social media. For me, the pumpkin craze is a reminder of the impending doom that is winter, which makes me swear, every year, that I need to move far away from the Midwest ASAP and never experience seasons again. But if there’s one thing I enjoy about fall and winter, it’s snuggling up with a blanket, a fluffy animal, and a hot beverage while reading a book or watching TV. I guess pumpkin fits right in that picture in the form of tea, baked goods, or one of my personal favorites: pancakes.


What makes pumpkin pancakes even better? Adding pumpkin beer to them. I made them for breakfast earlier this week, and have been eating leftovers for the past few days. They taste like pumpkin pie, and the beer adds fluffiness and flavor. The original recipe is from Cheers to Vegan Sweets.

I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin ale this time, but I’m waiting to get my hands on Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager from Milwaukee, which I bought every year when I lived there.

Pumpkin Spice Beercakes

Adapted from Cheers to Vegan Sweets


2 cups white flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cornmeal
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces (one bottle) pumpkin beer
1 tablespoon margarine


Combine the flours, baking powder, cornmeal, brown sugar, spices, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir together the dry ingredients with a whisk.
Make a well in the middle and add the pumpkin, agave nectar, vanilla, milk, beer, and lemon zest. Mix until just combined.
Preheat your pans at medium heat. Rub some margarine on one of the pans and melt the rest in the other. Pour melted margarine into the pancake batter and stir until combined.
Pour about ¼ cup of batter (or any size you’d like) onto each pan. Flip when bubbles start to form and hold their shape. All pancake batters cook a bit differently, so feel free to check the underside of your pancakes while they cook so you can brown them to your liking. Repeat until all the batter is gone.


In other news, Cheers to Vegan Sweets is starting to ship out this week! If you ordered a signed copy from me, or pre-ordered on Amazon, you will be getting your book very soon. There is also an upcoming opportunity to win a copy, and a book party in Chicago next weekend…read on!

Cheers to Vegan Sweets

Want to win a copy of Cheers to Vegan Sweets?

Join me for a Twitter chat through @QuarrySpoonBlog on Tuesday, 10/15 at 1 p.m. EDT. Follow the conversation by searching #spoonchat, and ask all of your cooking and baking questions! The #spoonchat will last one hour and one participant will leave with a brand new copy Cheers to Vegan Sweets*.

*Well, you’ll get it in the mail a few days later.


Come to the book party!

If you’ll be in Chicago on October 19th, come to a book release party at Upton’s Breakroom at 2pm! Have lunch at the cafe (check out the menu…you can’t go wrong with Chicago-style Italian Seitan sandwich or Bacon Mac!) then come sample some desserts and get your very own autographed copy of Cheers to Vegan Sweets! RSVP on the Facebook event page. See you there!


“I made French toast.”

Don: “What’s on this?”
Sally: “Mrs. Butterworth’s.”
Don: “Go get it.”

Don: “That’s rum. Read labels.”
Sally: “Is it bad?”
Don: “Not really.”

This exchange between Don and Sally happens in season four’s ‘The Beautiful Girls’ when Sally Draper proudly presents homemade French toast to her father. (“Oh daddy, I do it all the time. And there’s no shells in it.”) This episode serves a generous helping of seemingly lighthearted situations that are immediately qualified with some of Mad Men‘s signature dark humor. Like many a character in the show, Sally’s attempts to prove herself end with her falling flat on her face. Literally.

*Warning: spoilers ahead in this post and most other ‘Mad Men’ MoFo posts. Spoilers are often necessary to provide context and write freely about the show. I’ll make a note in future posts when they are spoiler-free!


Sally Draper’s coming-of-age story begins in the latter half of the 1960s, where the way the world works, and her world, is shifting. A precocious child from season one, she’s now a child of divorce (cue hysterical Betty: “She’s from a broken home!”) in an era when such a topic is taboo, and carries a longtime insistence that she is, in fact, an adult.

Sally’s role in ‘The Beautiful Girls’ begins when a woman finds her on a train to Manhattan, specifically Don’s office, trying to avoid the fare collectors. Sally expresses her hatred for Betty, back talks Don’s fling of the month Faye Miller, and begs her father, in the thick of his season four downward spiral, to let her live with him. When Don’s secretary suddenly dies at her desk, the employees of SCDP attempt to take care of it without alerting Sally (or their clients), resulting in a darkly humorous series of events. Faye takes Sally back to Don’s apartment, where stilted conversation ensues.


Photo credit: AMC

In attempt to prove her adulthood to Don, whom she places on a pedestal for the greater portion of the series, she makes breakfast for him. The fatal flaw of her plan is when she mistakes rum for Mrs. Butterworth’s, revealing that she still is very much a child. While that metaphor was likely in place for viewers, Sally would not appreciate it.

If Sally photographed her food in 1965 with her brand new Kodak Instamatic 404 (that’s Instagram for those of you born in 2001), her set-up might look something like this. A disregard for the subtlety Betty attempts to epitomize, mod patterns, and audacious colors. Groovy.


Sally’s story in this episode ends when Betty comes to SCDP to retrieve her runaway daughter. Sally’s immediate response is to RUN (I can’t say I blame her). Unfortunately, Sally’s escape is stopped by a trip and fall, but she finds comfort in a hug from Megan Calvet. With Faye’s stature unmoved and out-of-focus in the background, the Mad Men creators foreshadow Don’s abrupt transition from Faye to warm, kind Megan as a wife and mother figure for his children. Sally gives up momentarily and returns to Betty with her bruised knees and ego, not for the first or last time.


Photo credit: AMC


Take a page out of Sally’s book and make The PPK’s Fronch Toast, then “mistake” rum for maple syrup. It’s not bad; take Don’s word for it. Or you might take a more palatable route and add the rum (or rum extract) to the batter prior to cooking, or make a maple butter rum sauce in lieu of syrup.