Check out what’s behind these delectable pumpkin pancakes from the Heartland Spa!


“You are better satisfied with flavor than with quantity,” says Chef Barbara Peters of the Heartland Spa and Fitness Resort, “and satisfying food works better for me.” Case in point: the Gilman, Illinois, wellness mecca’s famed pumpkin pancakes, which feature a tantalizing mix of ginger, cinnamon and allspice. And when topped with a few dense drops of Peters’ homemade maple sauce, they’re the ultimate in healthy breakfasts.

Chef Peters has the pancake-to-syrup ratio down to a science. Substituting just a few thick drops of maple sauce–made of equal parts syrup and water cooked on the stove and thickened with corn starch—helps curb this dish’s caloric impact, as the sauce “stays on the pancakes instead of running all over the plate.”

Served with fresh fruit and a few eggs, these subtly sweet and aromatic cakes are a hit with Heartland guests. “Clients always say it smells wonderful when we make these, no matter the time of year,” Peters reports. Perhaps the path to everyone’s heart lies in a fragrant griddle. “It’s that comfort aspect,” Peters hypothesizes. “Nothing smells better than freshly made food.”

Peters’ final rule? “Be open to different tastes. I find people are more satisfied when they mix up their menus instead of always having the same thing.” We know what that means: pumpkin pancakes for dinner!

Pumpkin Pancakes


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup fat-free milk
2 Tbs. cholesterol-free egg substitute
2 Tbs. canola oil
2 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In small bowl, combine flours, baking powder and spices. In large bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, egg substitute, oil, honey and vanilla. Pour dry ingredients over pumpkin mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened (do not overmix). Cover pancake batter; refrigerate 30 minutes to thicken slightly. Lightly grease griddle or large skillet and heat until hot. For each pancake, spoon 2 tablespoons batter onto griddle, cook until bubbles appear atop pancakes, then turn over and continue cooking until golden. Serve immediately.

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