November 28, 2011

More pancake breakfasts

Sitting down with your family for a nice, leisurely meal has got to be one of the greatest joys of life.  A leisurely Sunday (or any day) breakfast is one of my favorite things.  And with all the hustle and bustle that's bound to come with the holiday season (which I do love), slowing things down with a warm plate of pancakes and a cup of coffee in the morning is a very good thing.   
A few months ago, I discovered the art and reward of making pancakes from scratch.  I've been making these buttermilk pancakes rather frequently, and I just love them.  But as our six-year old sits at the table and chows them down, he keeps telling me how he likes them "just a little bit."  Apparently, he finds some fault in that tang that comes from the buttermilk.  So I tracked down another recipe for "classic" pancakes that's still fluffy and delicious but without that tangy buttermilk flavor.  Again, I have to say that those super soft buttermilk pancakes are so good.  These are very similar and seriously fluffy and yummy but the buttermilk version remains my favorite.   

In my "research" for a good basic pancake recipe (one without buttermilk), the consensus seems to agree that a good fluffy pancake recipe involves folding whipped egg whites into the batter at the last minute.  (It sounds more complicated than it really is and can be done by hand.)  This is one of those recipes and comes from the latest December 2011 issue of the magazine, EveryDay with Rachael Ray (part of an article with chefs offering their spin-off of this basic recipe).  This recipe is going to stay in my files for a long time since I'm very happy with it - you get a soft, fluffy pancake that's very similar to the buttermilk version but without the tang.  Plus, this comes in very handy for all the times when you don't have buttermilk around. 

Unlike the buttermilk pancakes, you don't need to make the batter the night before and can just put it together when you want to cook the pancakes.

I made half a recipe, which yielded 10 small pancakes.  First, I whisked 3/4 cup of flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together.  I used 3/4 cup of whole milk and whisked it together with an egg yolk and 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Then just add the wet ingredients into the dry and lightly whisk together until combined (small lumps are good). 
Now comes the part where you whip the egg white.  You can just do this by hand with a big whisk; it whips up in just a few minutes.  Whisk the white until it just reaches soft peaks.
Gently fold the whites into the batter. 

I've found that cooking spray works really well in getting a nice browned pancake.  Using it adds less fat than butter but you do give up the rich flavor in exchange.  Once your griddle is hot and greased, ladle on the batter and cook for a minute or two on each side (the first side is ready to be flipped once you see bubbles and the second side cooks even faster), depending on their size.
Serve with maple syrup or spread some nutella (and whipped cream) on top.  Thanks to the beaten egg white, the pancakes are nice and fluffy.  You might want to make a full recipe because they'll go quick. 
This recipe is kid-approved!  Our 6-year old was quite satisfied.
Enjoy the holiday season!  I hope you'll find time to slow things down a bit and sit down to a leisurely breakfast.


Classic Pancakes
From the December 2011 issue of EveryDay with Rachael Ray

- Makes approximately 12 large pancakes -

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons butter, melted (more unmelted for cooking, if you like)

In a medium size bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.  In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg yolks, and melted butter.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together lightly until just combined (you should still see small lumps).

Heat a griddle or nonstick pan over medium heat. 

While the griddle is heating, whisk the egg whites together until it reaches soft peaks (room temperature whites whip up faster).  Fold the egg whites gently into the batter.

Grease the griddle or pan with butter or cooking spray.  Ladle on the pancake batter and cook until it begins to bubble.  Flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or so.  Serve with maple syrup or whatever you like!

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