Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I have been experimenting wildly with pancakes recently, and as a result I have to expand from my one oatmeal pancake recipe to a more useful universal recipe for making any sort of pancake.

Universal pancakes, woo!

Pancakes (quick meal)

Contrary to popular belief, in baking, it is not necessary to measure out ingredients exactly. As long as you don’t mind your baked goods turning out a bit differently from one batch to the next, it is perfectly acceptable (and fun!) to improvise with ingredients and quantities. This is especially true of pancakes. You can use what you have on hand - from leftover oatmeal, chopped or pureed fruits or vegetables.

For best results, mix together all of the dry ingredients first. Then stir in the wet ingredients, just to the point that the batter contains a few lumps, and cook immediately. The batter should be just wet enough that it can be slowly poured. If it is too dry, add more liquid; if too wet, add more flour.

At their most basic, pancakes need only two ingredients, in approximately the following ratio:

1 cup flour (of any sort)
1 cup liquid

For the liquid, milk is traditional. However, you can also use fruit juice, or pureed fruit or vegetables (such as canned pumpkin). Combinations work well.

But by themselves, those two ingredients make tasteless pancakes. For more flavor, add the following:

1 tsp sugar (of any sort)
1/8 tsp salt
a bit of vanilla or pumpkin pie spices

To add protein, add:

1 egg

To reduce sticking on pans which don’t have a non-stick surface, add:

2 tbsp oil or melted butter

For lighter, fluffier pancakes, add:

1 tsp baking powder (or baking soda, if an acidic ingredient such as orange juice or honey is used)

Finally, you can add extra things to the batter for additional taste or nutrition:

Up to 1 cup chopped nuts, chopped fruit, dried fruit, mashed overripe banana, fresh or frozen berries, cooked or uncooked oatmeal, chocolate chips, etc.

Heat the griddle or pan on medium heat. Flick a few drops of water on the surface of the pan to gauge the temperature. When the drops of water skitter around on the pan, the temperature is just right for cooking pancakes. (Water drops that just sit there indicate that the pan is too cold, and water drops that evaporate immediately indicate the pan is too hot.)

Pour the batter into pancake-sized dollops on the griddle. After five minutes, use a spatula to lift one pancake. If the pancake is browned underneath, flip all of the pancakes over, and continue to cook until both sides are browned.

Pancakes can be kept warm on a plate in the oven at the oven’s lowest setting. Serve with butter, maple syrup, honey, or jelly.

Pancakes can also be frozen to save for later. Use parchment paper between pancakes to keep them from sticking together when frozen. Frozen pancakes can be reheated in a toaster or under the broiler.

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