Happy (Fluffy) Pancake Day 2015!
Admit it, a world without fluffy pancakes would be bleak, maybe not even worth living in. You love pancakes, don’t you? You do. It’s okay, I do too. My favourite thing about pancakes (other than eating them, of course!) is watching maple syrup drip off the edges of my pancake tower, like some sort of sun-kissed waterfall.
Fluffy pancakes are one of my all-time favourite Sunday morning breakfast treats. The problem is that a lot of great pancake recipes call for buttermilk. (Honestly, who keeps buttermilk at home? Is that a North American thing?) Otherwise, you end up with a flat, lifeless pancake that looks too much like some sort of confused crepe. Here’s a quick and easy recipe to make fluffy pancakes with ingredients you (should) probably already have at home (no buttermilk required!). Never buy that horrid box of premix again. Please.
What’s the deal with buttermilk? It’s terribly in vogue when it comes to baking. And there’s a reason for it. The acidity in buttermilk helps the pancakes rise. On the flip side (get it?), I’ve never known anyone to regularly stock up on buttermilk. In fact, until I moved to Canada, I had never even seen buttermilk… not even at a supermarket! You won’t need any for this recipe but, if you’re ever in a real pinch – you can create your own buttermilk alternative by mixing a cup of milk with a tablespoon of white vinegar and letting it sit for 10 minutes. Perhaps less conventionally, you could also use a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice instead of vinegar. Neither option tastes as good as the real thing, but they’ll do the trick.
Alternatively, you could check out my Lemon Mascarpone Pancakes recipe for an elegant twist to your standard weekend brunch (it doesn’t use buttermilk either!). Or if you DO happen to have some buttermilk lying about, you could try my Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes. And if you want to turn a few heads, check out this gorgeous Dutch Baby Pancake recipe!
1 cup All-Purpose Flour, sifted
2 tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
2 tbsp White Sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Milk
1 Large Egg, beaten
2 tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Canola Oil (or any other vegetable oil), for cooking
Prep Time 15 Mins, Cook Time 15 Mins
Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk, vanilla, and melted butter together. Be careful not to use hot, melted butter, as that may end up cooking your eggs!
Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredients and stir till mostly incorporated. The batter should be thick and a little lumpy, but without any visible streaks of flour. If it is too thick to work with, add a little milk. Be sure to not overwork the batter as this will result in tough, chewy pancakes. Set the batter aside for 5-10 minutes – just a little time to let the ingredients in your batter get to know each other. This is completely optional, if you can’t bear to wait 10 extra minutes, go ahead and start cooking – you’ll still get pretty fluffy pancakes.
Heat a heavy-bottomed, non-stick pan over a low-medium heat and coat it with oil. We’re cooking these on low-medium as opposed to medium/medium-high for the simple reason that these pancakes get SO fat that you run a good chance of burning them before they’re cooked through if you use too much heat. Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop and drop the batter into the pan so that you get evenly-sized pancakes.
Cook until the first side is golden brown, or until the top surface forms bubbles. Flip and repeat on the other side – be warned! The second side cooks very quickly! Adjust the heat accordingly. Serve while still hot. If you do end up burning your first pancake, just remember what they say: “Le première crepe est pour les chiens!” (A French saying meaning, “The first crepe is for the dogs!”).
Okay, I have a little confession to make. I do know of another wonderfully fluffy pancake recipe that doesn’t require buttermilk. It’s actually the recipe a good friend of mine showed me, her pancakes are glorious. She’s known for them. But her recipe doesn’t work for me, or rather – I think her recipe is delicious whenever she cooks it, but it doesn’t look or taste the same when I use it. And that reminds of me a conversation she and I had a while back about Michael Pollan’s book, ‘Cooked’.
Pollan writes that a meal “bears the unmistakable signature of the individual who made it – the care and thought of idiosyncrasy that that person has put into the work of preparing it.” He says that this “hand taste” is the ‘taste of love’ – and that’s an incredibly interesting concept to me. Growing up, ‘hand taste’ was a concept that came up over and over again – for example, the idea of the taste of ‘your mother’s cooking’; food cooked with love. Interestingly enough, it’s standard in South Asia to literally feel your food as you eat with your hands.
Maybe that’s why my friend’s pancake recipe just doesn’t work for me. Maybe I just don’t feel it like she does. Maybe I do feel it when I prepare pancakes my way? What do you think? Can love and feeling be transferred into our cooking?
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- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour, sifted
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 tbsp White Sugar
- ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp Milk
- 1 Large Egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- Canola Oil (or any other vegetable oil), for cooking
- Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk, vanilla, and melted butter together. Be careful not to use hot, melted butter, as that may end up cooking your eggs!
- Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredients and stir till mostly incorporated. The batter should be thick and a little lumpy, but without any visible streaks of flour. If it is too thick to work with, add a little milk. Set the batter aside for 5-10 minutes.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed, non-stick pan over a low-medium heat and coat it with oil. Use a ¼ cup measure to scoop and drop the batter into the pan so that you get evenly-sized pancakes.
- Cook until the first side is golden brown, or until the top surface forms bubbles. Flip and repeat on the other side. Adjust heat accordingly. Serve while still hot.