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Kim Sunée: Leftover pumpkin pancakes offer plenty to be thankful for

Before the big holiday meal, we're all so busy shopping, prepping and cooking that often by the time we sit down to the table we're too exhausted to eat. So some of you cooks out there might agree that one of the most enjoyable parts of the festivities is the after-party, which for me is that moment when everyone is fed and happy and I have a moment to breathe.

Usually, while I'm packing up the remains of the day, I find myself -- preferably in looser pants -- tasting a spoon of this or that dish I didn't get to fully enjoy at the table.

I have always loved Thanksgiving leftovers, especially as they transform into so much more than the sum of their parts. Think roast turkey in a warming bowl of Vietnamese pho or layered with ham, Swiss cheese and pickles for a Cuban-inspired sandwich grilled to crispy perfection.

But even after I've fed a crowd of 20 or so and packed up goodie bags for all my guests, I still seem to have an abundance of food, including those wayward bits and pieces that don't quite amount to an entire meal. I've found everything from leftover pureed pumpkin and a quarter cup of sour cream to some bread cubes, a stray roll or two, a whacked off end of butter and more.

So, for a midnight snack or brunch the morning after Thanksgiving, I often make these pumpkin sour cream pancakes with the odds and ends. As much as I'm a buttermilk pancake kind of gal, I love this sour cream version I made once when I was low on buttermilk. The result is a moist and tender cake, with the added oomph of pumpkin. I just use vanilla extract but you could always add in some cinnamon or nutmeg or even some nuts. Any way you make them, they're a lovely reminder of the larger feast the day before and a second chance to be grateful.

Pumpkin sour cream pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whole or 2% milk (or buttermilk)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, plus more as needed for cooking the pancakes

For serving: maple syrup, fruit jam, leftover cranberry sauce

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, milk, pumpkin purée, egg, vanilla and melted butter together and stir until just blended. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir a few times but just until blended; it's OK if the batter is a little bit lumpy. Over-mixing the batter can result in a tough pancake.

2. Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. If your griddle is truly non-stick, you won't need to grease it; otherwise, lightly grease with an oiled paper towel or brush with a light layer of melted butter. Wipe away any excess. Spoon batter (I use a 1/3 cup measure) onto the griddle or skillet without crowding the pan; you don't want the pancakes to touch, and you need to leave enough room to flip them. Let cook until bubbles start to form around the edges; gently lift and flip to the other side. Let cook another 1 minute or so until golden and cooked through. Note: If pancakes start to brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium.

3. Serve warm with maple syrup, fresh fruit jam or leftover cranberry sauce.

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