Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Crack of Dawn Pancakes

I have two distinct memories of eating breakfast as a small child. One involves a poached egg and other cleaning out the inside of both halves of a grapefruit to the pith.

My mom died when I was nine and this is where my breakfast memories really kick in. To keep us feeling loved and, well, mothered, my dad made us amazing breakfasts every morning before school. He made muffins, popovers, French toast, pancakes and - oh, this was good! - broiled grapefruit. I have no clue how he did it, though I suspect waking at the CRACK OF DAWN had something to do with it. I regularly pull off French toast and pancakes, but only developed my method on the latter in past couple of years. I cannot fathom muffins or cornbread on a school morning. I like my sleep too much.

What does the work-week breakfast look like in your house? Is it a free-for-all in the cereal cabinet? We have our fair share of those.

Here's my pancake trick. It's nothing new, really. Betty Crocker has been helping people do it for years with Bisquick.

My shortcut is to sift about 10 times the amount of pancake dry ingredients into a storage container and then, on bleak and bleary school mornings, combine 1 cupful of the mix with 1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk and a few tablespoons of canola oil. Voila. No need to get out everything and start measuring and make a huge mess. This is simple and time saving. I even bring it camping.

Print recipe only here.

Here's what to do:
1. Buy a good storage container. Mine is the stainless steel variety. Get one that holds at least 10 cups.
2. Buy a few boxes of cake flour. Cake flour is a little bit of a sticking point for me, as I prefer to use organic flours. I have not found an organic one yet. Low in gluten and protein, cake flour really is necessary for certain things - it really keeps pancakes light. You'll find it in the baking isle at any grocery store. It's in a 2# box.
3. Make your mix:
Sift the cake flour once before measuring. This is important. Don't even think about skipping this step.

Sift together (yes! again!):
9 cups cake flour
3 T sugar
2 T plus 3/4 t baking powder
1.5 T (equals 1 T plus 1 1/2 t) salt
1.5 T baking soda

You're done. See. That wasn't so bad. Now you can clean up the enormous mess you made on the floor and counter and feel happy that you won't have to make the same mess again until the container is empty.

To make pancakes:
I make half this amount for two kids, but I'm doubling it the first time so you get an idea of the quantity.

Whisk together in a medium sized mixing bowl:
2 eggs

Add, whisking in thoroughly:
2 cups buttermilk
3 T canola oil

2 cups pancake mix

Stir gently but thoroughly with a spoon or spatula. Cook. We like silver dollar pancakes around here. And snowmen. OH! I just remembered! My mom used to put our initials on our pancakes. She'd cook one side, then dribble our initials with batter onto the cooked side, let it set, then flip it over to cook the initial. That took some creative genius, but I can still taste Dad's popovers dribbling with honey-butter.


Unknown said...

Hi. Are you sure that's the way mom formed the initials? I had completely forgotten about that too, but my recollection is that she made the initial first on the griddle (backwards!), let it sit for a minute, then make the pancake on top of it.

Katie Fairbank said...

Hmmm. That's probably right. I surrender my recollection!

Anonymous said...

Yes, George`s pancakes were just great! He made the best pancakes in the world! Mmmm... I missed it! Muffins were great, too! Yes, we were all good

Katie Fairbank said...

We were - and still are - good eaters! I think his muffins were the most impressive.

AC said...

George can cook? Who knew! Next time we're in Katonah, there will be a pancake breakfast.

Katie Fairbank said...

I still need him to send me his recipe for ricotta puffs.

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