25 January 2008

King Arthur Flour & The Quest for the Perfect Pancake

Last weekend (before attempting to remove my finger) I decided to surprise J and whip up pancakes for breakfast. Neither J nor I are big sweets people - we especially aren't morning sweets people. However, I think we both agree that a little bit of sweet with a well-made pancake nicely complements our savory breakfasts. J doesn't believe in box mixes for pancakes. Unfortunately for me, I haven't had any Bisquick in the house for a couple years so I haven't really tested his taste buds. I am dying to know if he could really tell the difference. Regardless, it is good for me "cook outside the box" and try recipes I wouldn't normally notice.

When I am searching for a recipe for a classic but simple baked good, I almost always first look to my copy of The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. I find it to be incredibly reliable and informative. It also covers every single baked item I could imagine, which makes it a nice starting point (especially for a somewhat inexperienced baker, like me). I know the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book has garnered a ton of attention, but I still like starting with the original book. Besides, I have no use fgor whole grains in my pancakes. Since I only eat them once in a blue moon, I figure I can splurge with the AP Flour.

Sadly, it didn't occur to me to take a picture of these pancakes. I can tell you that they were very fluffy and thick. The vanilla flavor was subtle but delicious. For the record, I highly recommend eating pancakes slathered in butter and sprinkled with brown sugar (none of that horrible syrup stuff for me!) with some form of breakfast meat (sausage patties are my personal preference). Gramma W. would be proud to know that I am sharing her brown sugar method with the world.

The Simple But Perfect Pancake
from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion

makes 16 3-inch pancakes

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
2 t pure vanilla
3 T butter, melted or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups (6.25 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
2 t baking powder
2 T sugar or 1/4 cup malted milk-powder* (I used the sugar)

Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla until light and foamy, about 3 minute at high speed of a stand or hand mixer. Stir in the butter. (I did this all by hand)

Whisk the dry ingredients together to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and sweetener. Gently and quickly mix into the egg and milk mixture. Let the batter relax while griddle is heating (or overnight in refrigerator). The batter will thicken slightly while resting.

Grease and preheat the griddle. The griddle is ready if a drop of water will skitter across the surface, evaporating immediately; if you have an electric griddle, set the temperature between 325 and 350 F. Drop ¼ cupfuls of batter onto the lightly greased griddle. Cook on one side until bubbles begin to form and break, then turn the pancakes and cook the other side until brown. Turn over only once. Serve immediately.

* Malt, rather than sugar, is what sweetens most commercial pancake mixes. For the typical "diner" taste, try malt in your pancakes instead of sugar.


Erica said...

I think I got you that book. Pancakes sound tasty!

Josie said...

Erica- you are so totally right! Well aren't you happy to know that it is one of my favorites?? :)