I’ve always loved pancakes. Growing up in the Philippines, we called them “hot cakes.” It was always a treat when we had them for breakfast, and it was always made with a mix. I still remember the red and white hot cake mix box, and I’m not even sure now if it was mixed with water or evaporated milk. I doubt we used fresh milk, since cow’s milk wasn’t really the childhood staple there that it is here.
And maple syrup? Finding out that “maple syrup” and “regular pancake syrup” were not interchangeable came as a big surprise to me. Then again, half the time, I used condensed milk on my hot cakes anyway, so I didn’t feel like I missed out.
I’m easy to please when it comes to pancakes. I just want them fresh, warm, and slightly sweet. I’m not picky when it comes to texture, because hey, I grew up on hot cake mix and water, remember? My son, on the other hand, sometimes has specific pancake needs. There was a time when he preferred them half-cooked (don’t ask). Then, all of a sudden, half-cooked was no good, and now he wanted the edges crispy. Then he started requesting pancake change-ups. “Surprise me,” he’d say.
Then I’d surprise him with toast instead.
Maybe that’s why he stopped requesting them. Hmmm. Anyway, I hadn’t made pancakes in a while, so I decided to whip up a batch this weekend. Nothing fancy, just your basic buttermilk pancakes. I made a huge stack that should have been enough to serve about 6 people. Instead, two boys inhaled every single one in about ten minutes.
Which left me with nothing for breakfast but toast. Ah, the irony of it all.
So I thought I’d share my go-to basic pancake recipe with you. It’s incredibly simple and easy, and a breeze to customize for any of those surprise “pancake change-up” requests. But trust me: as is, with no other adornment but perhaps a pat of butter and some syrup, this pancake can certainly stand proudly on its own.
(Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 tablespoons sugar, to taste
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a dash of salt
2 cups milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, left sitting for five minutes
3 tablespoons melted butter
Mix the milk and lemon juice together and let sit for a few minutes to thicken. In the meantime, whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
Whisk the egg and the cooled melted butter. Add to the milk and lemon juice mixture. Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until combined. Do not over mix.
Cook pancakes as you normally would, using 1/4-cup scoops of batter.
- Replace the sugar with a couple of tablespoons of jelly or jam to flavor the pancakes.
- Sprinkle fruit onto the pancake as the first side cooks. Flip and finish cooking.
- Roll up the pancake and fill with whatever you feel like stuffing in it. Whipped cream and fruit, peanut butter and honey, coconut jam and butter, Nutella …
Yes, I make talking pancakes.
Apparently, I’m going to have to explain the whole “hot cakes” concept to these clowns.