Few things can coax me out of bed on a Saturday morning before 11 a.m. Ringing phones, jingling text messages, attention seeking cats/boyfriends….all have failed in their efforts to rouse me from that cozy cocoon of fleece blankets and down pillows.

However, there is one sound that will have me leaping out from under the covers regardless of the hour and that’s the whirring of our blender. For many, a blender’s buzz means smoothies and milkshakes or perhaps margaritas (hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere). But in my house, that heavenly morning chorus signifies only one thing…Aunt Hilly pancakes!

This is my family’s signature breakfast dish, the go-to recipe for birthdays and holidays, the one we whip out randomly whenever we want to turn an ordinary day into an extra splendid occasion.

These pancakes are my childhood rolled up in a sugary, crepe-like, roll of joy! I take one bite and suddenly I’m back in my pj’s – 6-year-old feet swinging free of the floor – relishing in every sweet, syrup-drenched bite.

More crepe than Krusteaz, an Aunt Hilly pancake is thin, sweet and buttery, with an “eggy” texture and the slightest hint of warm vanilla.  The ingredient list is basic and everything is mixed in a blender, making prep work a breeze.

The name was inspired by the wonderful woman who introduced us to these delightful bites of breakfast heaven – my Aunt Hilly. I have faint memories of eating these with my sisters at my aunt’s small kitchen table in Staten Island, New York.  She would dutifully stand guard over the two small pans on the stove; dolling out the finished products one by one to our hungry little trio.

However, the rest of their history remains an elusive mystery. My aunt supposedly received the recipe from a friend.  But whether this friend invented the unique butter-sugar-roll-dip preparation method (more on that later), which makes them so unique is unknown.

I suspect my sister (and fellow sugar fiend) Kim might be behind it…

And how do they taste? Simple. Perfect. Divine.

Now, I’ve been enjoying these pancakes my whole life. However, I’ve never actually cooked them myself – that’s always been mom’s job. But this past weekend was my 23rd birthday and I felt it was high time for me to learn the art of the Aunt Hilly pancake.

Making the batter is a cinch. Just mix all the ingredients a blender and you’re done! Getting them into the pan is also quite a breeze…

…but let me tell you right now that it takes a bit of finesse to master “the flip.” My mom has it down to a science, while I…well…I still need some practice. My tip would be to make sure the edges are free from the pan (a knife works fine) and then flip the pancake toward you, lifting the farthest edge first. And be quick! They will tear if left too long in mid-air.

But more interesting than how they’re made is how they’re prepared.

The ONLY way to eat them properly is hot out of the skillet, slathered with butter and sprinkled with a pound or two of sugar. Then you roll ‘em up tight, cut in two and dunk away in little glass cups of warm, maple syrup.

WARNING: Those who would demean our fine pancakes with “jam” and “forks” will be dutifully shunned for the remainder of breakfast.

And no, we’re not kidding.


Aunt Hilly Pancakes

These pancakes are a childhood favorite of mine and resemble thick, buttery crepes. The traditional way my family serves them is rolled with butter and sugar, then dipped into maple syrup. So delicious! They are also a breeze to make since all you need is a blender plus a frying pan or two! A tip: divide the butter and melt one half in each of your two frying pans, cool, and then transfer the butter to your blender. This leaves your pans greased and ready to go for your first batch of pancakes!

You will need:

4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 stick unsalted butter or margarine, melted and cooled
pinch of salt


Blend all ingredients in a blender.

Heat two pans over medium heat, spray with cooking spray if not already buttered (see tip above).

Pour 1/4 cup of batter into each frying pan. Spin the pan to evenly distribute the batter.

Once the edges begin to brown (after 30 seconds or so) use a knife to lift the edge of the pancake and flip quickly. Cook for an additional 30 seconds or until browned.

Roll the pancake, remove from pan and set aside on a serving platter.

How to serve: spread a pancake with butter, sprinkle with sugar, roll up, and dunk in syrup!

Yield ~ 12 pancakes (this depends largely on the size of your pan)