Darn Good Pancakes

  • Serves: Makes 8 to 9, 3-inch pancakes
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Variations: Darn Good Whole Wheat Orange Pancakes; Darn Good Blueberry Pancakes; Darn Good Chocolate Chip Pancakes; Darn Good Pumpkin Pancakes; Darn Good Pancakes Made with Milk Instead of Buttermilk

Pancakes and photo by emmett36 © Sarah Phillips
Making pancakes for the whole family is one of the nicest ways to start the day. (Whenever I have a straggling kid who can't get out of bed, the aroma of pancakes cooking on the griddle rouses him or her in no time). Hotcakes are simple to make, and I have so many variations I can hardly decide which one to make. I hope these pancakes become a weekend event at your house, too. Serve them hot with maple syrup.

QUICK-BREAD RECIPE HELP

Sarah's
Secrets

Spray the griddle with vegetable oil spray between batches.
Try not to stir the batter constantly. Every time you do, you create gluten or toughness and smooth the batter, which you shouldn't do.
If the pancakes are browning too quickly or begin to burn, turn down the heat.
You can keep pancakes warm in a single layer on a wire cake rack or paper towel-lined cookie sheet in a 200 degrees F oven.
Pancakes will freeze, as well. Make sure you have cooled them thoroughly on a wire cake rack before wrapping them in an airtight container before freezing. Reheat in a 300 degree F preheated oven on a cookie sheet or in the toaster.

INGREDIENTS
Nonstick canola oil spray
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, and more if needed (spoon into measuring cup and level top)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tablespoon sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Position a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat until a splash of water sprinkled on the surface turns into tiny droplets.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt until well-combined.

3. In another medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg, sugar and oil until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Using a spoon, stir until just combined. The batter will be thick. If too thick, adjust with milk, added 1 tablespoon at a time. If the batter is too thin, quickly stir in 1 tablespoon or so of flour. Do not overmix; the batter should be slightly lumpy; not smooth.

4. Spray the preheated griddle lightly with vegetable oil spray. Do not use butter because it burns.
For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the hot griddle. For best cooking, pour equal size pancakes, spacing them a few inches apart. I use a small ladle to scoop the batter onto the griddle.

Turn pancakes just once as soon as the pancakes puff slightly and bubbles on top just begin to break, taking a few minutes.


Turn with a pancake turner and continue cooking until the underside is browned, about a minute. The second side never browns as evenly as the first.


Serve the pancakes hot, with butter and pure maple syrup.

Pancakes and photos by Sarah Phillips © Sarah Phillips  

VARIATIONS
Darn Good Whole Wheat Orange Pancakes 
Substitute 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup unbleached flour for 1 cup flour. Add the grated zest of 1/2 orange or 1/4 teaspoon pure orange oil and a few gratings of nutmeg to the buttermilk mixture.

Darn Good Blueberry Pancakes 
If desired, add the grated zest of 1 lemon or 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon oil to the buttermilk or milk mixture.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon fresh or frozen (do not thaw) blueberries on top of each pancake right after it is poured onto the griddle.


Turn with a pancake turner and continue cooking until the underside is browned.


Darn Good Chocolate Chip Pancakes 
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons chocolate chips (the mini ones are the best) on top of each pancake right after it is poured onto the griddle. Turn with a pancake turner and continue cooking until the underside is browned.  

Darn Good Pumpkin Pancakes 
Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional) to the dry ingredients. Add 1/2 cup canned pumpkin to the buttermilk mixture. For a deeper ginger flavor, mix the batter just until moistened, add 1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger, and continue mixing until just combined.  

Darn Good Pancakes Made with Milk Instead of Buttermilk 
INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, and more if needed (spoon into measuring cup and level top)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter, cooled to tepid

NOTE: The batter should be thick. Stir in an additional 1/4 cup flour if it isn't. To thin, adjust with milk, added 1 tablespoon at a time.

Nutritional Analysis per serving (Buttermilk pancakes, each--all others are close): About 96 calories (14 percent from protein; 63 percent from carbohydrates; 24 percent from fat), 3 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fat (less than 1 gram saturated fat), 25 milligrams cholesterol, 112 milligrams sodium

The Healthy Oven Baking Book, by Sarah Phillips, Doubleday, 1999

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