The ancient Greeks and Romans ate them and so did the Elizabethans. They are associated with chuck wagons and cowboys. The Dutch and French have puffy and flat versions and they come large or the size of a shiny silver dollar. Nowadays, there are mixes and fixins and add-ins and take outs. There are whole grain and the dreaded 'not my mother's' grain-free versions. Spice them up or add chocolate, fruit and even liquor to the batter. Dress them up with butter and a sprinkle of sugar or let them go naked. What am I going on about? Pancakes, of course! Dah!
Pancakes have been about for millennia. Pancakes are just plain flippin fun!
I grew up in the 70's and 80's. As far as pancakes go, that can only mean one thing, Bisquick. Bisquick is a Betty Crocker brand, made by General Mills and is a pre-made baking mix. Nowadays it comes in the original version, a low fat version and even a gluten-free version. When I was a kid, everyone ate Bisquick pancakes. I used to love them! I used to beg for what my brothers and I called "half-cooked" pancakes. My mean mother, Ellen, would not make them for us but my lovely and sweet grandmother, Mary, would. It was just part of the "Grandma" visit. You would go for a sleepover at Grandma's house. Among all the myriad of treats you got like Greek cookies, candy bars and an entire bag of your favorite potato chips, were "half-cooked" pancakes. The way the batter oozed out of the golden cakes was our favorite to eat pancakes! We devoured those Bisquick pancakes with gallons of, yep, Mrs. Butterworth "maple" syrup too. I was such a child of the times! I didn't even like "real" maple syrup! Honestly, I did not know Mrs. Butterworth was not "real" maple syrup! (I lived a sheltered and innocent life apparently...)
Today, pancakes (and waffles) are a favorite in our home, especially with our daughters, Alyssa and Mia. Pancakes and waffles make excellent vehicles for maple syrup. (You see, I still love most anything maple. Nowadays, I just eat the kind that comes from a tree. Maple syrup is true weakness of mine.) I do not eat pancakes and waffles often (even though I make them often) because of my weakness for maple syrup. I can single-handedly consume most of an entire bottle of syrup with my pancakes or waffle. Enough is not enough when it comes to me and maple syrup. When I was a teenager, I used to make a whole grain variety as a snack after school. After I flipped the pancake, I would pour maple syrup on the cooked side, flip that side over again (to caramelize the syrup) and then pour more maple syrup on the top to serve. Since enough is never enough with maple syrup for me, I would (and still do) pour an extra pool of syrup on the plate for dipping. Heaven! Pure heaven!
The recipe for pancakes we enjoy most is one written by Todd Wilbur for his very fun book series called "Top Secret Recipes." (I have changed his recipe to suit my family's tastes by reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe and adding a pinch of salt.) The recipe is super quick to assemble, and, if you heat the griddle while you're making the batter, you are only about 10-15 minutes away from golden, sweet and SUPER yummy maple syrup! I mean pancakes!
1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 (Heaping) teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 Cup buttermilk
1/8 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup oil
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and cook on a greased, heated griddle, in whatever sized portions you want, to the desired doneness you like. Serve.
How do you take your pancakes? Do you enjoy them "half-cooked?" Do you add in chocolate chips, fruit or whole grains? Please share in the comments section.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor