When I was a little girl and had pancakes for breakfast at a friend’s after sleeping over, I always wondered why their mom or dad’s version tasted so much different than my mom’s. For the most part, they were exactly the same size, shape, and golden hue (though never as fluffy). Additionally, the syrups tended to be the same, though sometimes I was surprised with a Mrs. Butterworth’s (fancy!) or in the case of Janet Womack’s mom, the use of plain corn syrup instead of the fake maple I was accustomed to.
Finally, after not being able to puzzle it out and always enjoying the pancakes at home over anywhere else (besides Grandpa’s – he used the same recipe), I asked my mom about it the next time she made them. “Well,” she said, “they probably use a mix and mine are from scratch.” “Oh.” “Yeah, it makes a big difference.” Indeed it does. Here is my variation on the recipe that makes a big difference, given to my mom by my Nana, my Grandpa’s mom. I’ve also included myriad variations at the end – they’re all delicious.
Pancakes from Scratch
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, separated
1 cup milk
Sift dry ingredients together, set aside. Add egg yolk to the milk in a measuring cup and stir. Beat the egg white until it is stiff but not dry. Mix the dry ingredients and the milk and egg yolk mixture together until smooth (do not over beat). Gently fold in the egg white, doing your best not to deflate the mixture. This gives the pancakes a wonderfully light texture. I won’t insult your intelligence here. You know how to do the rest.
This recipe makes about a dozen 3″ pancakes, though it is easily doubled or tripled. You can also make a big batch and then freeze the leftovers for a quick weekday breakfast. Lightly toast them and you’re good to go!
You can use any kind of milk here – soy, rice, oat, almond, hazelnut, buttermilk (the pancake will be a little chewier and have a slight tang), whatever strikes your fancy. Today’s photo actually used hemp milk.
I’ve used the Ener-G Egg Replacer with good results. Since there is no yolk, just whip up the mixture like you would the egg white, though it won’t get as stiff.
Use the egg replacer along with the non-dairy milk of your choice.
I’ve made this recipe with brown rice flour, oat flour, whole wheat, all-purpose, buckwheat, gluten-free blends, and every combination. The results have always been good, though if you go gluten-free or all whole wheat, I’d use more baking powder (1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour) for a little extra lift.
Banana? Mash up a banana (small to medium size) really well and add to the milk mixture. You can also slice it like the apple below, but make sure the pan is well oiled. Bananas are sticky.
Apple? Place a slice or two on the griddle just before pouring the batter over the top, or use 1/4 cup applesauce for every cup of flour. You may need to cook them a little longer. Add some cinnamon and ginger, too, they’ll be yummy!
Blueberries? Add some to the batter, or if you suffer from Colleen style anal-retentiveness (eek!), evenly distribute a small handful over each pancake just after pouring the batter onto the griddle.
Mix whole berries, chopped fruit of virtually any variety (fresh or frozen, though not banana), or a combination into a sauce pan. To that, add water or fruit juice (apple or white grape are good neutral flavors, orange for contrast), about 1/2 – 2/3 the volume of fruit. Mix in some cornstarch (usually about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for every cup of fruit) with sugar or whatever sweetener you use (to your liking) and heat until thick and bubbly. Add a little vanilla or almond extract and butter. You can also add a little ginger and/or cinnamon – especially good with plum, peach, and apple syrups.
Spread some on your pancake just before pouring your favorite syrup over the top. This is especially good with the banana variety. Elvis would be proud, too!
Add 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (canned or homemade) for every 1 cup of flour along with cinnamon and ginger, and you’ve got a fall hit on your hands. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and hot damn – delicious!