Tuesday, December 27, 2011

pancake accessories

I don't know anyone who doesn't love a pancake every now and again. They're a perenniel favourite for me, as I always used to make them Sunday mornings growing up. Every week. When I was little, my mom always had boxed pancake mixes on hand, ususally Aunt Jemima but sometimes other brands.

As I started to spend more time in the kitchen, I really realized that I wasn't always entirely happy with boxed pancake mixes. There's never enough baking powder in the mixes and the pancakes don't bubble properly, which is a constant annoyance to me. I like my bubbles damnit! I later realized that this is an easy enough fix (add your own!), but I also came to another realization.

It's just as easy to make your own pancakes from scratch as it is to use a mix.

Hear me out here. I know there's lots of recipes out there that call for whipped eggs whites and other craziness. I've never bothered with these, I'm sure they make lovely pancakes, but I certainly don't want to spend all that time getting a batter together in the morning! I do fully intend to try these sometime in the near future (with the help of the new KitchenAid!!!!), but they aren't necessary. If you have the Good Housekeeping cookbook (my first, and my base cookbook for most traditional recipes), the recipe in there is great. Almost equal portions of flour and milk, some oil, an egg, and a touch of sugar, baking powder and salt.

Easy peasy.

Even easier? Making custom pancakes. Everyone knows of course the standard blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes, which are perhaps the easiest. But why stop there? Banana can be added, either smushed and beaten into the batter, or sliced and placed into the cooking cakes. Apples and pear and great when shredded and mixed in, especially if you add some cinnamon and nutmeg. Those are the obvious ones, though. Just adding fruits, or sweets to the batter.

My favourite pancake customizations all involve actually changing the batter itself, the proportions and ingredients to really transform the pancakes. Whipped egg whites, to me, fall under this category, as does the classic: buttermilk pancakes. Other great ideas I have heard involve different types of flour, or adding cottage cheese (that's courtesy of Oversized Cliches). My favourite, though, addresses Bunny's most common pancake complaint:

He says they are like Chinese food, in that he's hungry again in an hour.

So, add some bulk. The cottage cheese would work, but I like adding some bulkier grains to the batter myself. My favourite: the oatmeal pancake. Replace about half of the flour with rolled oats. This bulks up the pancakes and makes it a lot more filling, with fibre. You can really use any sort of grain, I'm just partial to oats. In my experience, though, you do in fact need to leave some flour there.

In bullet form, your pancake tips are:
  • Additives - add fruits or other lovely bits to your batter
  • Basic recipe changes - buttermilk, whipped eggs
  • Change the flour - oat flour, rye flour, whatever you like
  • Add a grain - Swap half the flour in your recipe for something more fibrous and filling, like oats
  • HAVE FUN! If you can think of a simple swap, add it or switch it up

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