I have sought after the most elusive of perfect pancake recipes for some time. We are subscribers to the most WASPy and sometimes obnoxious, but delightful Cook’s Illustrated. We have been fans of Alton Brown’s cooking show on Food Network. So the notion of perfect, or at least immaculately prepared, food appeals to me.
I had the good fortune of growing up in a home with a mom who cooks. My mom makes a lot of stuff from scratch, and a lot of stuff the cheating-scratch way that involves Campbell’s cream soups and packets of Ranch Dressing seasoning.
I’m not sure precisely when it happened, but at some point during my 20s, it occurred to me that the pancake recipe that my mom got from her Home Ec. class in the 70s was not, in fact, the glow-in-the-dark, best! recipe! ever! I thought it was. The batter is too runny, and while here’s the nice touch of some sugar in the recipe, it does too much.
Runny batter in pancakes’s virtue is that it cooks quickly. But I want my pancakes to be heartier, with that amazingly soft, doughy center. So I’ll cook them longer over a lower heat to make them more delicious.
So now I think I did it. I think I discovered the perfect recipe. This is an adaptation of my mom’s old Home Ec. recipe.
2 c. flour
1 T baking powder
2 T sugar
2 T butter at room temperature
1 c. milk
Easy peasy, right? Here’s the magic: Put in the dry stuff first. Push it around with your fingers a bit.
Then just dump in the milk, plop in the butter, and crack in the eggs. If you’re one of those people who likes to be turbo food safe, crack the eggs into a clear bowl, make sure there’s nothing grodie in there, and then dump them on in the batter.
Find your whisk. If you don’t have one, use a wooden spoon or a fork or something. The whisk makes easier work of this, but it is not essential. Mix the batter up quickly, but don’t keep stirring once it’s combined.
Then fry the pancakes in a nonstick pan over medium-low heat with a light coating of the cooking spray of your choosing. We use the store brand of Canola around here.