Everyone — particularly those charged with the care and feeding of hungry kids — should be able to whip up a batch of pancakes from scratch. Packaged pancake mix usually contains little more than flour, sugar, and baking powder — making them yourself is almost as fast and easy, and you can’t make a much cheaper, or well-received, breakfast. Best of all, pancakes are completely customizable — if you want to flavor them, add grated lemon or orange zest or a teaspoon of flavored extract into the milk mixture. Of course, pancakes can always be studded with berries, banana slices, nuts-any additions you like, really.
Making great pancakes from scratch is very simple once you get the hang of it – just make sure your skillet isn’t too hot, and flip when bubbles begin to break through the surface. Don’t wait until all of them have made their way to the top and broken through — leaving some still on their way will give your pancakes added lift.
And remember, there’s nothing wrong with a big batch — frozen leftovers are easy to reheat by popping into the toaster on busy weekday mornings.
Classic Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat, half all-purpose)
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) sugar
2 tsp. (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) salt
2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) melted butter or oil
Any additions you like: fresh or frozen (unthawed) berries, sliced banana or chopped or ground nuts
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the egg and melted butter or oil into the buttermilk with a fork or whisk.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture; stir just until the two are combined. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out – overmixing may result in tough pancakes.
Set a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot (you can test it by flicking some drops of water on it – they should bounce) drizzle it with oil and swirl to coat the pan. Ladle the batter onto the skillet, making the pancakes any size you like. If you want to add berries, slices of banana, or any other additions, scatter them directly onto the pancakes as they cook.
Turn the heat down and cook the pancakes for a few minutes, until the bottoms are golden and bubbles begin to appear on the surface. When the surface appears almost dry with lots of bubbles breaking through, use a thin, flat spatula to flip the pancakes over and cook them for another minute, until they are golden on the other side.
Repeat with the remaining batter. If you need to keep the finished pancakes warm, keep them uncovered on a plate in a 200º F oven. If you don’t want to cook them all at once, the leftover batter can be covered and kept in the fridge for several days.
Serve the pancakes with maple syrup, or thaw a package of frozen berries in syrup to top them with.