Baking for Bookworms: Coconut Pancakes from Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones


This was actually one of the hardest books to choose a dish from. There were so many good options from nachos and guacamole to mu shu pork, to an apricot-plum smoothie with wildflower honey. But ultimately, it was the coconut pancakes that called to me because, I mean, how could they not? There is nothing better than a delicious pancake at any time of day.

The food in the book is used in an interesting way; it tends to be found in scenes of tension or potential tension and offers a way to diffuse difficult situations, much like the way food is used in real life. The coconut pancakes are served in a diner with fairly strange clientele and a fairly exotic menu. They all meet up to discuss new information and eat. Clary is advised, as a newcomer to the world of vampires and werewolves and shadow hunters, not to eat the faerie food, so she settles on something a little more mundane.

“At that moment the waitress arrived to take their order. Up close she was still a pretty blond girl, but her eyes were unnverving–entirely blue, with no white or pupil. She smiled with sharp little teeth. ‘Know what you’re having?’

Jace grinned. ‘The usual,’ he said, and got a smile from the waitress in return.

‘Me too,’ Alec chimed in, thought he didn’t get the smile. Isabelle fastidiously ordered a fruit smoothie, Simon asked for coffee, and Clary, after a moment’s hesitation, chose a large coffee and coconut pancakes. The waitress winked a blue eye at her and flounced off.”                                                                 194


Coconut Pancakes–recipe slightly adapted from She Wears Many Hats

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut (if you wanted to use a less refined-sugar heavy sweetener, you could also use unsweetened coconut flakes)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or to make this recipe dairy-free, you could use coconut oil/butter or another dairy-free substitute like Earth Balance)
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Using a wet measurement cup, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the egg and beat the two together before adding the coconut milk (I’m advising using just the wet measurement cup to do all of this in because less dishes=more fun cooking).

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine the two, but just combine them, don’t over beat the batter.

Make the pancakes, like you normally would, watching for the bubbles in the middle to pop before flipping.

Serve with syrup or anything that strikes your fancy! I tried to make a pineapple syrup (which you could definitely do, with pineapple juice and some chunks) but I didn’t give it enough time to reduce. However, I served the pancakes with the chunks of pineapple and used the juice diluted with some hot water to create pineapple “tea,” which was quite delicious.

Have you had a time where a kitchen “mistake” led to a new discovery?

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