I fucking love pancakes. I hate mornings, so this is a grumpy morning post. My mood will be dramatically improved once the pancakes are made!
Growing up, my mom would sometimes make pancakes during the school week for breakfast, and my father loved to make a massive production of making Saturday morning pancakes. My father followed this recipe to a T (tee? tea?), my mother was more freewheeling in her kitchen style.
As a family, we concurred that Bisquick was an abomination and IHOP was to be avoided at all costs. I come from a hockey family, and the pancakes from both of those sources my mother referred to as “hockey pucks.”
Some things are perhaps easiest from a mix or from a professional baker, such as macaroons, croissants and eclairs; basically anything French, but pancakes are American and they are bloody quick and easy to make.
This is THE MOST BASIC recipe. I will give you ideas to jazz it up, but literally, even the sorriest cook can make these in like 15 minutes.
My Grandma’s Recipe for Basic-Bitch Pancakes (she definitely did not call them that):
1 cup flour
**Basic, plain, white, ordinary flour. Don’t use that self-rise shit, and this is not the recipe to try out gluten free. Cheap, white flour. Go organic if you want to spend more money.
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
**Look, if you have one and not the other, who fucking knows the difference? Just use 1 1/2 of whatever you have. It will be fine. We are not launching rockets here. It’s just breakfast. Don’t run to the store in your PJ’s. It’s not worth it, man!
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour milk (cow, almond, soy, rice, I think they’re all fine. I usually use soy, but I admit that I think dairy is best here.)
*THIS IS IMPORTANT. Sour milk does some science shit with the baking soda and helps keep the pancakes light. It’s early, I dunno, Google it. What I do know is there are many ways to get sour milk:
– Use the sour milk that you really have been meaning to throw out. I PROMISE IT WON’T HURT YOU. Chunks and all. Delicious! My college roommates used to watch aghast as I did this! LMAO!
– Use buttermilk, if you are like Laura Ingalls Wilder or whatever and you have that hanging out in your fridge. I definitely do not.
– Use 1/4 cup of yogurt or sour cream plus 3/4 cup milk. (This can also be off if you have had it for like 6 months, since it is like already spoiled technically.)
– Or what I do is what my dad does, so I guess Grandma must have: add a splash (like a teaspoon if you must measure everything) of vinegar to your milk. I would maybe not use balsamic, but white, red, apple cider, that rice wine vinegar you bought for that one stir fry dish you tried, whatever you have in the back of your cupboard. It doesn’t matter.
- Mix the dry ingredients.
- Add the egg and 3/4 cup liquid. Yes, for this photo, I just dumped it all in. This is not my first rodeo people, but I want you to go slowly!
Look at the gross curdled milk. Perfect!
- Mix and stop. Do not beat your kids and do not beat your pancake batter. I like to use a whisk to get it mixed quickly without over mixing, but a wooden spoon or any large spoon will do. It should run off the spoon or whisk, but slowly. You don’t want it runny, but it should be thinner than say brownie batter.
- Add more of the milk as needed. Is usually find I need the full 1 cup for this recipe, but if you have a crowd, usually 1 3/4 cup suffices for a double batch. I don’t know why. Is my name Alton Brown? OMG. Also, if you all fancy and try any of the options below, you may need to adjust your liquid. Put on your science goggles and go for it!
- Heat a pan on the stove. Flat is easier, clearly, but if you have a regular like omelette pan, that’s fine too. My father scoffed at my mother’s electric skillet with its pool of corn oil. He preferred his mother’s cast iron pancake pan lovingly greased with butter. One of many points they differed on. You need a flat surface that heats. Surely, you have something.
As the batter sits, the science shit I mentioned will happen and little bubbles will appear. That means it is ready. On a gas stove, it’s like less than 5 minutes. This morning I made my coffee while I waited for the stove to heat and the batter to bubble, so I will be less cranky now. I almost have breakfast!
The heat can be tricky. If it is not hot enough, you will get anemic-looking pancakes (that means not golden, colorless). If it is too hot, it will smoke and you may burn them. It needs to be a steady medium-high heat. Try a test pancake. Even if not perfect, it will be edible and you can adjust accordingly.
On a nonstick surface may not need any grease, but you may like the taste of cooking them with butter. You can use a spray oil, butter (it may burn, but that is not necessarily a bad thing), cooking oil. You could use avocado or corn or soy, but olive oil is probably not a good choice. You just need enough so that they don’t stick, but I used to have a boyfriend that liked his basically fried in a pool of butter and that created crispy edges. That’s cool.
Use a large spoon or ladle or a measuring up to put the batter on. Decide what size you like. My family made small ones. Plate sized ones are harder to flip and can be runny in the middle.
Cook till the bubbles (tiny bubbles…) appear. Probably 2 minutes or so.
Flip. Cook about a minute more.
That mottled coloring is from the butter. If you prefer that even, one-color look, use a paper towel to carefully sop up the excess grease before you put the pancakes on, or use no grease if your pan doesn’t need it. The second side is usually more uniform when done this way.
I like mine with with butter and maple syrup (hockey family), but you can use anything: Nutella, jam, molasses, apple sauce (That’s another topping my family used. I don’t know, my mom was weird. My father called it an abomination.) Get creative!
This made 12 of my size pancakes.
I promise that these are lighter and fluffier and leave you feeling less like you ate a bunch of lead than any frozen, mix or restaurant pancake. And SOMEONE will love that you took the time (don’t tell them how little time it was; let them think you labored for hours while they slumbered) to make them something so perfect and loving and you will be rewarded!
Of course if you are me, and the spot next to you looks like this:
You may want to store some. I may be basic, but I am also a skinny-bitch, and I cannot eat 12 pancakes. Nor should you. Don’t be gross. Let them cool and then freeze them. If you separate them with wax paper, you will be spared trying to separate them later and getting all pissed off. Do like I did below and then stick that in a plastic bag or a container or whatever, and put it in the freezer. Then you can take out as many as you want and pop them in the toaster or microwave to reheat. They aren’t as good, but they only take like 30 seconds, so it’s a trade off!
– 1 teaspoon vanilla. For me, this is not optional, but I didn’t want any scaredy-cooks not making this because they didn’t have vanilla.
– Cinnamon, nutmeg or other spices.…which reminds me…
– Pumpkin. You can go all PPS on your pancakes. You can add pumpkin puree and/or just the pumpkin pie spices for a fall treat.
– 1 teaspoon sugar (My father did this. I literally have no idea why? The gallon of maple syrup he poured on top wasn’t quite sweet enough!?!??!)
– Butter or oil. Many recipes call for oil. My mom used corn oil because she is Midwestern and basic as hell. My dad used to melt butter. I see no difference and it just adds fat with no benefit. Save those calories to melt the butter on top!
– Healthy shit. I have found you can successfully add about 1 tablespoon of flax or hemp or even chia seeds. I have a mix of the three that I have ground up and add randomly. More than that effects the texture.
– Whole wheat flour. You can definitely go halfsies with the WW flour. 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup, and I think it actually improves the flavor and you’re getting fiber and can feel virtuous.
– 1/4 cup oats. I have also successfully added oats. Quick work a bit better, but I have used whole and even steel cut. It’s best if you let them soak in the milk for a few minutes before mixing in the rest. You’ll have to reduce the flour, but maybe not by a full 1/4 cup. Experiment. It will depend on what kind of oats and if you use WW flour too.
– Blueberries, raisins, chocolate chips, bananas, etc. I do what my other grandmother used to do for me and make gingerbread person shapes with raisins as the eyes and buttons for my nephews and niece. You can slice bananas and put them on while the one side is cooking and then when you flip, they get kind of caramelized.
– My grandfather used to add cornmeal and buckwheat and wheat germ and oats and made the most horrible pancakes. The memories of his breakfasts can still crack-up me and my cousins. If you like to experiment with grains, go for it, but the variations in gluten and the texture of the grain will alter your pancakes, so try at your own peril, you unbasic bitch, you!
Have fun and enjoy!!!
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