When I was a kid I had no interest in learning to cook. My mom would try to teach me but I just couldn’t summon the desire to pay attention. That is, with three exceptions. My mom successfully taught me how to make scrambled eggs, a cheese omelet, and pancakes. Who knows why I paid attention when she went over those dishes, but I did. They weren’t my favorite dishes or anything; they weren’t my mom’s signature dishes. Yet I still remember those lessons. How do I know when to flip the pancakes? She showed me that bubbles would start to appear in the center and the surface would lose its shine and become dull. That’s really all it takes to make good pancakes… well, that and a good recipe.
My husband loves mornings when we make pancakes. It requires everything to fall perfectly into place — we have to be up at the same time, we have to have the time, and we need to have all of the ingredients in the house. As you can imagine, that doesn’t happen too often. Pancake mornings are a special occasion.
Until recently, pancake mornings involved a box of pancake mix. I would jazz them up with a little cinnamon, some blueberries, or mashed up banana. Then one morning we were out of pancake mix. I decided to make French toast… the bread was moldy (oops!). Crap. I needed pancakes. I went to my How to Cook Everything cookbook that I love so much and found the pancake recipe. It didn’t look so hard… in fact, it was downright easy! And that was that. I ventured into the world of made-from-scratch pancakes. I will never turn to the box again.
(In typical eatniks fashion, this is a slight variation of the original recipe.)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1.5-2 cups of milk (I use skim)
- 2 tbsp melted and cooled butter (optional — I opt yes) and some for cooking
- splash of vanilla (as my husband says, vanilla makes everything taste great)
- Optional — mashed banana (this is my favorite — squish it up with a fork), blueberries, or other fruit
Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs into 1.5 cups of milk. Then stir in the cooled melted butter if you’re using it.
Gently stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture, just adding enough to moisten the flour. You might not need all of the wet mixture. You don’t want the batter to be thick and gloppy, but you don’t want it to be thin either. If it is too thick, add more milk. Oh, and getting it totally free of lumps is unlikely so don’t worry about trying.
Add a little butter to your skillet or put a very thin layer of neutral flavored oil like canola. When it is hot, use a ladle to add the batter to the pan. Don’t get crazy making giant pancakes! They aren’t so easy to flip when they’re so big. After about 2-4 minutes, they should be ready to flip. As I mentioned before, they are ready when there are bubbles in the center of the pancake and they look dull. The second side will cook more quickly than the first. If your pan is nonstick, you shouldn’t need more butter or oil with each batch. If it isn’t nonstick, you will want to add more with each batch.
Serve with real maple syrup, butter, or whatever you like on your pancakes.
Aside from needed a few more ingredients than the boxed kind, these are no harder to make than using the box. Give these a try one time and I am certain you’ll ditch the box.