I have always had a strong dislike for pancake mixes. They often smell stale or rancid and the results are never quite satisfying. These pancakes have a smooth golden exterior with a light fluffy interior that has an aroma which entices you with a hint of toasted flour, fresh butter and a touch of sweetness.
When I was working at Carnegie Mellon University, the catering department had schedule a breakfast for around 450 people. One of the main parts of the menu was pancakes. They asked me how many cases of pancake mix was needed to make enough for this large crowd. I scoffed, “Just get me a case of eggs, a case of milk, a case of butter, a sack of flour, a bag of sugar, some baking powder and some salt. They laughed…”You mean you are going to make them from scratch? Are you mad?” I said, “Trust me: I know what I am doing.”
When the day arrived, I had a crowd of incredulous onlookers, most of whom were well seasoned food-service workers. I had scaled up exactly this recipe…I did have some help separating the 30 dozen eggs and we mixed the dry ingredients the day before….the batter came together perfectly…the food left the kitchen on time…the pancakes were a HUGE HIT!
Naturally, about 3 hours later the leftover pancakes came back to the kitchen. Even hours old and cold, the staff declared them the best pancakes they ever had and to this day those are the comments I get when I serve these to my family and friends.
Pancakes (Adirondack Flap Jacks)
adapted from Gourmet Cookbook, volume I or II (can’t remember which)
- 4 eggs separated
- 2 cups milk or buttermilk
- 4-6 Tbsp melted butter (6 makes it yummier)
- 2 Tbsp sugar divided in 2 equal parts
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- (optional) chocolate chips, blueberries, diced banana etc.
- melt butter in your heavy bottom skillet, griddle, or non-stick pan
- combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl; mix well and reserve
- separate your eggs being very careful not to get any yolks in the whites, otherwise your whites will not whip, reserve the whites and beat the egg yolks with 1 Tbsp sugar then add milk
- very quickly combine egg yolk and milk mixture with the dry ingredients (flour mixture); do not over-mix and do not worry if there are some lumps
- pour all of the melted butter from your pan or griddle into this batter and combine quickly. Again, do not over-mix.
- Wipe out your pan with a paper towel. The worst thing you can do to a good pancake is fry it in excess butter or oil.
- Combine the egg whites with the last tablespoon of sugar and use a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment and whip the egg whites to nice firm peaks. All equipment must be free of any oily substance or again the whites will not peak. They should hold their peaks well but still look moist.
- Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Then add optional ingredients.
Heat your pan or griddle over medium heat. If you have an electric griddle with a thermostat 350° should be good. The pan should be hot but not smoking. Pour a ladle full or about 2/3 cups of batter onto your hot pan. You should hear a nice sizzle when the batter hits the pan. It is important not to overcrowd the pan to leave room for flipping. When the surface is covered with bubbles and the sides begin to look dry it is time to turn the pancake. In one swift motion push your spatula under the pancake lift it and turn it over as close to the same spot it was in before you turned it. This takes some practice and yes, it’s all in the wrist. If you are using a nonstick pan you should not have any problems. If you are not using a nonstick pan and it is properly you should still have no problems (I used a good professional quality stainless steel pan which are notorious for being sticky with pancakes or eggs but as you can see from the photos; there were no sticking problems because the pan was well before hand. We will post the procedure for seasoning any pan separately.) I implore you, do not put any oil or butter or spray in the pan once it has been seasoned. This produces a greasy mottled looking pancake that is better left not eaten, there is plenty of butter in the recipe which will lubricate the pan sufficiently for each batch in the pan. Turn the pancake only the one time, once you see a plethora (a lot) of steam coming off of the top of the pancake and it has risen well, it is done. Remove it from the pan onto a warm plate, cover it with foil and keep making them. If you are using optional ingredients, you may need to wipe out the pan with an oily cloth between each set of pancakes. Once there is enough to give everyone some, serve them at once, I am sure you know how to eat them. Enjoy!
P.S. If this seems like a lot of work for pancakes, they are worth it and after you have made them a few times and don’t have to consult the recipe too much you will see how easy they are and you will wonder why anyone would ever buy a mix. Plus, they freeze well.