Friday, April 20, 2012

Pancakes

Pancakes are a breakfast staple at our house. If we don't have pancakes, then we eat their cousin the waffle at least once a week.

Sometimes, we even make breakfast for dinner. The kids love it when I do that. I toss some bacon in the oven (yes, I cook bacon in the oven), then whip up some pancakes. Yumm-o!


Pancakes are easy. If you're used to pancake mix in a box, you really have to try these.  They are not any more difficult to make from scratch, but the flavor is so much better. You can control the quality of your ingredients and use all organic (or not).

Justin remembers eating pancakes at Grandpa Tony's house as a little kid. Tony would start putting things in a bowl and they would just turn out, without measuring. Sometimes you can do that, You just know since you've made them so many times.

Just so you know, we always, always call these pancakes. They are also known as hotcakes or flapjacks, but I just don't like saying "flapjacks" or "hotcakes". For more information check out the Pancakes Wiki or the Food Timeline.

Ingredients for 6-8 pancakes
1 cup unbleached AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 extra large egg
1 cup milk (I use 1%)
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
butter
maple syrup
grape seed or olive oil for the griddle (I use a Misto sprayer)

Method
1. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.


2. Combine wet ingredients in a separate smaller bowl. Mix well.


3. Add wet ingredients to dry bowl. Mix well. It doesn't have to be totally smooth. Make sure the big lumps are broken up though. I like my batter to slightly on the thin side. Thick batter makes fat pancakes that are hard to cook all the way through without getting really dark brown.


4. Preheat griddle to 350F. Spray or grease the griddle. Pour about 1/3 cup batter onto grill per pancake.  Cook until bubbles form on the surface and being to pop and set, about 1-2 minutes.


5. Flip pancakes over and cook another 1-2 or until you reach the desired brownness.


6. Serve with butter and real maple syrup. Bacon, eggs, fresh fruit, and juice round this out as a nice breakfast.

For flavored pancakes, you can add cinnamon, or matcha green tea powder to Step 1.  Depending on how strong you want the flavor, start with 1/2 teaspoon and adjust from there. Eric loves cinnamon, so the more the better according to him. I really like the matcha ones, with a good strong flavor. Both flavors go well with maple syrup.

This recipe easily doubles to feed a crowd.  The pancakes also freeze well. I like to make extras, freeze, them and then send them to school for the kiddos so they can have pancakes away from home.

If you want to get fancy, you can put the batter in a squeeze bottle or plastic baggie the corner snipped off and make shaped pancakes like Mickey Mouse, a snowman, a heart, or whatever you can think up.  These are also really good with chocolate chips sprinkled on top of the wet batter from Step 4. You could also mix in some fresh blueberries, if you want something fruity.

Also, they don't have to be cooked on a flat griddle. I've made these using a dual sandwich toaster/maker, which sounds weird, but then you have thick triangles of pancake goodness that you can dip in syrup. They are super for the kids this way.