Saturday, November 22, 2008

Perfect Pancakes, Happy Hotcakes, Gorgeous Griddlecakes


My husband and I both come from commercial pancake mix families. His mother's mix of choice: Krusteaz. My mom's favorite: Snoqualmie Falls Lodge. I grew up thinking that thin pancakes were good; thick cakes were undesirable. Isn't it funny how you latch on to some random adult comment as a child and that becomes your "FACT"?

After we got married, I searched the Southern California grocery stores for Snoqualmie Falls Lodge pancake mix because, to me, there was no other alternative. We also used to top our pancakes with a mix of "pancake syrup" (aka nearly pure high fructose corn syrup!) and berries which we microwaved to warm berry syrup perfection. My husband, who dislikes most berries on account of their pesky seeds, wasn't thrilled. I'm sure he was wondering where his wonderful mother's perfect Krusteaz pancakes adorned with perfect plain Mrs. Butterworth's were hiding. (I'm counting on being my son's bar for culinary talent someday!!)

But, then we found marital bliss in the form of a beautiful compromise--Alton Brown's "Instant Pancakes". These were so delicious that one could hardly call this a compromise; more like a beautiful upgrade.

Now, for those of you out there who, like me until relatively recently, feel like it might actually be impossible to make the magical formula for pancake mix...I come to preach the message of homemade griddle cakes!

First you make a "master mix" from which you can make approximately 3 batches of (12) pancakes over the next few weeks.

In a container with a lid, combine:

6 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TB baking powder
1 TB kosher salt
2 TB sugar

Put on the lid and shake vigorously. Use within 3 months.

When the weekend rolls around and it's time to eat pancakes:

Heat your electric griddle to 350 degrees and preheat the oven to 200 degrees (to stash the pancakes until you finish cooking all of them).

Gather your ingredients:

2 eggs, separated
2 c buttermilk
4 TB melted butter
2 c "Master Mix" from above

Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter (be careful that the butter is not blasting hot, just melted).

Combine the milk mixture and the butter mixture. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour liquid over the 2 cups of master mix. Whisk lightly until the batter just comes together--don't try to work out all the lumps.

Lightly butter the griddle, wiping off a bit with a paper towel afterwards. Ladle the thick batter onto the griddle (about 1/4 cup). Sometimes I gently "widen" the pancake with the measuring cup since the batter is quite thick.

After bubbles appear, turn and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. Don't smash it with the spatula! Remove to a towel-covered pan in the oven. Serve within 20-30 minutes.

And if you've never tried real maple syrup, give it a whirl. It's a bit less sweet than Mrs. B's. When you feel like you've got these down, experiment with your favorite fillings--blueberries, bananas, chocolate chips (my kid's favorite, of course).

Trust me, once you have these delicious hot cakes, you'll never go back to your conventional store-bought mix again (unless you're out of buttermilk or master mix or lazy, which is why there is still a big bag of Krusteaz in my cupboard).

Happy weekend breakfasting!

3 comments:

Chef E said...

First of all Alton Brown is commercial with his name on a product...I feel disappointment for I am a fan...the other is those pancakes look great! Once I got married a cazillion years ago and had kids, I memorized a pancake recipe, because that became the 'new dinner' in our house, the wanted them almost every day, along with bacon and eggs, ha

What was the outcome of the camera situation???

julie jams said...

Sorry to disappoint! I just like the way he explains things. I've tried other "Master Mix" type of recipes from various cookbooks and we just liked his the best.

Regarding the camera...we've gotten a few donations and are on our way to a new camera (once we factor in some Christmas money!). Still, we miss our old one. The kids were being so cute tonight pretending to do KungFu on each other...we could've used that camera!

Pink Dogwood said...

Thanks for the recipe! Love the blog.

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