There’s magic in the chemistry of pancakes; a few simple ingredients - butter, flour, eggs, and milk - puff themselves into sassy little cakes in a matter of minutes.
The speed of the transformation always astonishes me. I stand, mesmerized, watching bubbles form, watching edges crisp, savoring the drama of the flip and the generosity of the scent that surrounds me. There may be a better way to start the day; I haven’t found it.
If your pancakes aren’t this much fun, it’s time for a change. My favorite basic pancake recipe, below, is so delicious you could easily forego the syrup. But what I love most about them is that, unlike most pancakes, they respect syrup and do not behave like floppy sponges. Whatever recipe you use, however, it will be better if you remember the Better Pancake Rules.
The first rule of pancakes: Don’t use a mix. Let me repeat that: Don’t use a mix. It saves no time, it tastes no good - and it costs more money.
Pancake Rule Two: Don’t even think about using inferior maple syrup. A good pancake deserves the very best.
Pancake Rule Three: Don’t skimp. I know my recipe has a lot of butter, but where pancakes are concerned, more is always more.
Pancake Rule Four: You can always put anything you want into your pancakes. Blueberries, chocolate chips, pumpkin puree... use your imagination. But when pancakes are this good, you probably won’t want to.
Here’s my basic recipe. I’ve made this so often that I can pull it together in under a minute. After you’ve done it a few times you’ll be able to do that too. This is not diet food, but I promise that these pancakes will make your family very, very happy.
Melt a stick of butter. Whisk together a cup of milk, 2 large eggs and a tablespoon of vegetable oil, then add the butter.
In a small bowl whisk a cup of flour with 4 teaspoons of baking powder, 4 teaspoons of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Whisk that into the milk mixture just until it’s combined. Add a bit more milk if you think it’s too thick.
Skim a good pan with butter or oil and start pouring in some batter. The size is up to you; sometimes I make them tiny for children, sometimes I make them ludicrously large. Watch as the bubbles appear in the batter, grow larger, and then pop and vanish. When they’ve all popped, carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side.
Rush the pancakes to the table as each one is finished. You want them hot, sweet, salty and a little bit crisp. You want the memory to linger with your family as they move through their day.
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