Posts Tagged ‘pancake’
There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning to the smell of fresh pancakes hot off the stove. My mom used pancakes as a bargaining chip for just about anything she needed done around the house and sometimes even to get us out to the bus stop on time, and believe me her pancake recipe, even when she used any one of the pre-made box mixes, always made the lightest, fluffiest buttery pancakes that I’ve ever tried. IHOP and Denny’s have nothing on my mom’s pancakes.
Her idea behind the pancake had little to do with what mix she used. My mom usually bought whatever was on sale in the Publix flyer that week, so she wasn’t “brand” specific, and even the cheapest “dollar store” mix could be adapted for flavor and texture problems. The key to my mother’s recipe was tasting the batter, time, and bubbles.
You Will Need:
1 box pancake mix (preferably a “complete” or “just add water” mix)
You may need an egg or two, some oil, water, a little bit of milk and/or baking soda
I flat plastic or silicone spatula
1 turkey baster or a small ladle or large spoon
1 electric griddle, large shallow pan, etc )
Butter or cooking spray
A “mix-in” of your choice (walnuts, pecans, almond slices, flax seeds, small bits of chopped apples, blueberries, banana slices, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, etc)
Whipped topping (optional)
After you’ve assembled your ingredients, take a look at your basic recipe on the box, make sure you have everything you need, and set your chosen cooking method on medium high heat, (for my example I used a stove, as I don’t have an electric griddle, so that’s what I’ll say from here on).
While your stove is warming mix together all of your dry ingredients for your pancake mix, and dip a moistened finger tip or spoon into the powder. Taste it. Seriously. If the taste is a bit sour, then you will need to add a little bit of milk along with your wet ingredients when you add them. If it’s not sour, or doesn’t taste at all like baking soda or powder, you may consider adding a half teaspoon of either to the mix of dry ingredients.
(Remember when tasting your batter that if you’ve added raw eggs to your mix you run the risk of consuming bacteria, but I’m just going to state that I’ve been “licking the spoon” for years and never have encountered that.)
Before you add the wet ingredients to the bowl, check your pan. If you rinse your hand with water and shake it over the pan the water droplets that hit the pan should sizzle briefly and then disappear. If they sit and bubble for a little bit it might not be hot enough. Temperature is a big deal, if your griddle is too hot your pancakes might burn before they are cooked all the way. If it’s not hot enough they might be overcooked, or your batter might start to deflate, making the end result a chewy sticky mess, or crepes! But that’s a different post. ON WITH THE STORY!
When you add the wet ingredients time is of the essence. When you mix the water, milk and/or eggs in with your pancake mix the Co2 reaction that is created by the water and the baking soda/powder is what makes your pancakes fluffy instead of chewy. Gently mix the dry and the wet ingredients, and only until combined, a few lumps is okay, and in my house they’re even preferred.
Now this is where my mom’s method comes back in. After you have mixed the wet and dry ingredients and you are positive your stove is hot enough or just about there, cover the bowl with a heavy dishcloth, or piece of plastic wrap. Let the bowl of mix sit for about two minutes, without stirring, so that the CO2 process can get a head start before being subjected to the heat of the stove.
Take a look at your pan and plan your attack. Do you want several smaller pancakes, or those big giant ones that you get at your local breakfast nook? INSERT LINK TO CENTER STREET Nook If your family has littler kids a whole bunch of silver dollar pancakes might be easier than just one or two huge ones. Less “Mommy, can you cut my pancakes?” and no fighting over who’s is bigger. (Can you tell I was raised with a little brother yet?) Bigger pancakes take longer to make as well, so if you’ve got starving kids, you might want to consider the smaller route, especially if you need to save time.
So now you’ve filled your turkey baster with batter, and you’re ready to make some pancakes, right? WRONG! Take another look at your batter. Are there lots of small bubbles all over the surface? Did the batter start to separate in the two minutes of time that you let it sit on the counter without stirring it? If so, add an egg to your batter, scrambling it right before you add it to your mix, then gently mixing it in a few times, but not too much. The egg will solve your texture issues. Eggs are generally problem solvers, unless you’re making a meringue. Then eggs are usually the problem. But again, ON WITH THE PANCAKES!
Fill your turkey baster about a quarter to half of the way with batter and gently squeeze it over your pan so that it oozes into a circular shape.
STOP! Don’t touch the pancake. Just look at it. Don’t even think about your spatula yet, it doesn’t exist. Watch the pancake. If you look closely, you’ll see that it cooks from the outside, where the pancake is thinnest, to the inside, where by now a few bubbles have started to form. As the water heats up and evaporates, the bubbles that are inside the batter stay just as they are, giving you texture in your pancakes. If you lift a pancake before it is cooked all the way, you kill all of the bubbles. Don’t kill the bubbles. Killing the bubbles would be our KITCHEN CRIME OF THE WEEK.
Two or three minutes have gone by, and the bubbles on the top of the pancake have started to burst, leaving little depressions in the surface. That is a sign that your pancake is almost ready to be flipped. If you are going to add a “mix-in” to your pancake, do it now, in a thin layer over the top of your pancake. Then take your spatula and gently lift the edge of your pancake about half an inch. If it lifts but the “flesh“ of the pancake breaks up a little you‘re ready to flip…
Flipping pancakes isn’t a difficult process as long as you’re gentle and at least slightly coordinated. Scoop up your pancake, lift it a few inches, then gently flick your wrist and turn the spatula over, dropping the pancake on it’s uncooked side, and exposing what should be a slightly golden and smooth-looking pancake. Let the pancake cook a few minutes more, and then stack him with a few of his friends, place a small pat of butter on top, and drown the whole gang in syrup (see my recipe below for a great twist on regular syrup). For a slightly healthier option, try a whole wheat or whole grain pancake mix, or add a handful of uncooked oatmeal to the batter, with just a ¼ cup more water than the recipe calls for. Top your ‘cakes with some fresh fruit or jam, or smear some peanut butter or cream cheese on them. I expect that my son will be a big fan of pancakes when he finally gets teeth, his bottom two popped up last week.
*Buttered Maple Syrup
In a microwave safe container, heat 1 cup of syrup and 1/8 of a stick of salted sweet cream butter on High for 15 – 30 seconds. Remove it carefully, then sprinkle a half teaspoon of cinnamon and/or a tablespoon of brown sugar into the hot syrup and butter and mix everything together. Transfer into a small ceramic cup to keep it warm, or a gravy boat, for less mess, then pour all over your Sunday pancake breakfast. Be careful, syrup is HOT.