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California Cottage Cheese Pancakes



– 1 carton (16 ounces) California cottage cheese – 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons orange marmalade (for divided use) – 4 eggs, separated – 1/4 cup all-purpose flour – 1/8 teaspoon salt – 1 teaspoon butter – 1/4 cup pure maple syrup – 4 thin orange slices for garnish (optional) – Mint leaves for garnish (optional)
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1. Combine cottage cheese and 1/4 cup of the marmalade in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

2. Beat egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Transfer the beater to the yolks to save washing in between. Beat yolks until they are light in color. Beat in the cup of cottage cheese-marmalade mixture, reserving the remaining cup of the mixture for the topping. Add the flour and salt, and continue beating until completely mixed. Carefully fold in the beaten egg whites.

3. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Wipe the butter out of the pan with a paper towel. Spoon the batter (1/3 cup for each pancake) into the hot pan. Cook pancakes over medium heat until golden brown on the first side.

4. Very carefully turn the pancakes over to brown the other side. While the pancakes are cooking, combine the maple syrup and remaining 2 tablespoons of marmalade; mix well and set aside.

5. To serve, place 3 pancakes on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 1/4 cup of the reserved cottage cheese-marmalade mixture. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the maple-marmalade mixture over the top of each serving. Garnish with twisted orange slices and a sprig of fresh mint, if desired.