Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happiness is a warm pancake.

Today is Pancake Tuesday, so for dinner we had, what else?, pancakes! I'm a big breakfast fan... my favorite weekend activity is enjoying a leisurely breakfast with lots of coffee while planning what to do with the rest of the day. Breakfast for dinner is a close second, and these pancakes fit the bill perfectly.

I'd found the recipe in a copy of Chatelaine my mom had given me a while back. It has been bumping around my "to try" pile ever since, and every time I pulled it out to try it, realized I had no milk in the house. (Living with a lac-toad means I don't keep much dairy around) I can make killer crepes with soy or almond milk, but I'm guessing these wouldn't turn out quite the same. When I realized it was almost Pancake Day again, I made sure to get some (or rather, tell B he had to stop for some on the way home from work or else he wouldn't get dinner).

Now, I've gotten used to making crepes instead of pancakes since moving to Montreal... the thin, chewy crepes replace the fluffier, doughier pancake as a breakfast staple in this part of the world. You can still get them at breakfast places, and Bisquick still graces the grocery store shelves here, but they are more the exception rather than the rule. Maybe because of this I have forgotten just how fluffy real pancakes can get... but man, this recipe resulted in a stack of three pancakes that was a good 3 inches thick... they were insane! I'll admit to a small moment of panic when I flipped the first one over and saw it rise dramatically... I gripped my spatula a little tighter, preparing to beat the thing back forcibly if need be. Remind me to tell you about the Sourdough that Took Over the Kitchen sometime... Anyway! They cooked quickly and easily and we soon had a plate full of fluffy, golden pancakes. One thing I ended up forgetting was syrup, but we used a bit of butter and a liberal spread of homemade apple butter and all was well with the world :)

Best Buttermilk Pancakes
recipe from Chatelaine
1/2 cup salted butter, meltded (plus extra for cooking)
2 cups milk plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Now, the recipe gives specific instructions on how this batter goes together. When it comes to this stuff, I don't like to be futzy... I mix the wet ingredients in one bowl, the dry ingredients in another, then add the two. This one was no exception. I mixed the milk and lemon juice first to allow it to thicken and got the rest of the items ready in the mean time. Milk/lemon in the bowl first, beat in the eggs and vanilla then add the dry ingredients* and beat the daylights out of it with a wooden spoon. The recipe warns not to over-mix it or it won't be as fluffy... lemme tell ya, I was not gentle with this batter and the pancakes were still close to an inch thick, so I don't think you need to worry about it. Once you have a thick batter, scoop it (you can use a ladle or a measuring cup, as you prefer) into a heated pan (I used a cast iron skillet at 4 on my stovetop) with a bit of butter or oil and let it cook. Keep an eye on the edges, once they lose their shine and bubbles form it's time to flip. That's about it... serve warm with your choice of toppings.

* whenever you are dealing with a leavening agent in baking, make sure you mix your dry ingredients (usually flour, baking soda and/or baking powder) together before adding any wet ingredients. You'll often see instructions to sift them together, but personally I just give a good mix with a fork and it's fine. The reason for this is it avoids clumps or pockets of dry ingredients ending up in the finished product. Bite into a clump of baking soda once and you'll never forget this step ever again :P

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