Friday, February 27, 2009

Some Tips On Pancakes!

We eat a lot of pancakes around here. In fact, when Kendall was little, we had pancakes almost every day because they were her favorite - just ask Aunt Jessie! To keep life from getting too boring (because we hate that!), we tried all kinds of pancakes - some good, some not so good. But rest assured, the only ones we will be sharing are the ones we like! Tomorrow, we will be sharing the best blueberry pancakes EVER...and in preparation of that, I'd like to share with you some tips for primo pancakes!!

1.) NEVER over mix your batter. For fluffy pancakes that your family and friends will rave over, only stir your ingredients until they are just incorporated together and then STOP!! Yes, we know you will be tempted to keep stirring...we always used to be. But trust us on this one. There is a very complex and drawn out reason having to do with giving gluten proteins too much time to organize and baking soda releasing carbon dioxide, but hey, we're not really into details like that. All we really need to know is when to stop mixing. So put all of your ingredients in the bowl, give it a stir or two to incorporate them and then just push the bowl away. You'll thank us for this later.

2.) Don't let your batter sit for more than an hour. Always make your pancake batter fresh and use it immediately. When you let it sit, the baking powder is sitting there doing it's work, releasing carbon dioxide when you finally go to use the batter, there are no bubbles left, resulting in flat pancakes. And NOBODY likes flat pancakes! Now, we have read that if your batter sits too long, you can try to add a stiffly beaten egg white to try to get some of your fluff back, but we can't say for sure, because we haven't tried it. I mean, we just can't figure out why you'd let your batter sit for over an hour anyway!!

3.) Make sure your pan is heated to the right temperature. This one can be tricky! But finding the perfect temp for your skillet is a must, because we don't like pancakes that are runny in the middle, or burned around the edges. Heat your skillet or griddle over medium heat and place a bit of oil or butter in it. After a few minutes, get your fingertips wet and flick the water onto your skillet. Does the water dance and spit? If it does, we're on our way! Next, take a small spoonful of batter and pour it onto the skillet and wait for about one minute. Check it, and if it's not golden brown, it's not hot enough. If it's black, it's too hot. We have a wonderful way of stating the obvious, don't we?? Anyway, you get the picture.

4.) Only flip your pancakes ONE time!! This is one reason to make sure your skillet is at the right temp before you start. If you keep flipping your pancakes over and over, they get flat...and decidedly UNfluffy. And you know how we feel about that, don't you?

5.) Serve ASAP!! The longer a pancake sits, the grosser it gets...The End. So, to keep your pancakes warm, we find that the best thing to do is to put them in a single layer on a cooling rack (sprayed lightly with PAM) in the warming drawer of my oven. If you don't have a warming drawer, you can set your oven on low heat, like 200, and place them in it until you are ready to eat. This will keep them from getting flattened from being stacked or soggy from being steamed under foil.

7.) Real Maple Syrup is a must. Ok, we realize that there are a lot of people in the world today who don't realize that Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworth's, and Hungry Jack are not maple syrup. No, REALLY!!! People...please take a moment and look at the ingredients sometime. Then do yourself a favor and look past the price tag on the real stuff and buy it anyway. You need far less of it than you do the thick, fake stuff. And there is no comparison. None. Corn syrup will never measure up to maple syrup, no matter how much crap they add to it. And if the price is just killing you...try to find a deal at Sam's Club, Costco, or a local farmer's market. You just may be surprised to find that you never want to go back to the fake stuff!

6.) Always, ALWAYS heat your syrup!! Nothing ruins pancakes for me like cold/room temperature syrup. WHY would anyone do that to their warm, fluffy pancakes??? One of the most rewarding moments of eating pancakes is when you put that beautiful pat of real butter on top and then pour on warm maple syrup...and the butter melts and runs all over and down the sides of your pancakes. Why, oh WHY would anyone want to miss that part, we ask you??

7.) Freeze the leftovers. If you followed all of these directions, you probably won't have any pancakes left. However, on the off chance you do, freeze them for the next day! We almost always double the amount we need so we'll have pancakes for another breakfast or two. Just make sure you don't stack them! Leave them cool on the cooling rack in a single layer. Then just place your cooling rack right in the freezer until they get nice and solid. By doing this, you are making sure that when you take them out of the freezer, they won't be stuck together. When they're ready, stack them up and put 'em in freezer bags. We prefer to heat them up in the toaster/toaster oven or oven instead of the microwave, because they will stay a little crispy...but do whatever floats your boat!

Peace, Love, and Pancakes!!!

Coming Tomorrow..... Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes!!!!


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