Friday, June 14, 2013

Buttermilk Pancakes (Great for Special Days!)



Aside from a well made omelette or maybe some perfectly poached eggs benedict, my favorite Sunday morning breakfast has to be the hubber's scratch buttermilk pancakes. They've been on almost every Christmas morning breakfast table, from the time our daughter was just a wee little one. Let's see... she's turning 29 (and is getting married!) this summer, so yeah, they've definitely been a long standing tradition in our home.



Add in a couple of strips of perfectly crisp, thick cut Oscar's Adirondack Smokehouse bacon, or some of their house made breakfast sausage (they ship... and they're worth it) and I'm one seriously happy camper. And lest I forget, it's never really a true pancake breakfast, unless that fluffy stack of buttery golden goodness is dripping with sweet, warm, pure NY or Vermont maple syrup. (Oscar's sells this too, btw) I might live in NY state, but I was born in VT, so either one of these is A-O-K in my book. If you've never had the real deal, I'd probably suggest a medium amber syrup. That being said... if you're a pure maple syrup aficionado, by all means, go for your favorite grade and color.

So, since Father's Day is just a couple of days away, I got to thinking that these would make a perfect treat for Dad to enjoy before he hits the links, or the tennis court, or the hiking trail, or the La-Z-Boy, if that's more his thing. No matter what Dad does to celebrate his special day, these pancakes won't slow him down either. They're light and fluffy and they don't leave you feeling like some pancakes do. You know... the ones that feel like they've turned into lead at the bottom of your stomach, by the time breakfast is over. Yeah, I think we've all had those. The ingredients are simple and usually on hand in most people's pantry and fridge.



Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes
makes approx. 4 moderate servings
can be doubled or tripled quite successfully
  • 1 and 1/2 Cups *Buttermilk
  • 4 Tbls (half stick) Butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 Lg Egg
  • 1 and 1/2 Cups AP Flour
  • 2 Tbls Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Maple Syrup, warmed, to pass at the table
If you're a first time pancake maker, you might want to take a look at my "Pancakes 101" tips at the end of this post, before you begin. If you are a seasoned pancake chef, by all means, just follow the recipe and do the rest in your normal fashion. :~)

Preheat your griddle or pan on medium to medium high. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and cooled melted butter.

In a second larger bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and give it a quick stir to mix the ingredients together.

Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir them together, just enough to incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry. The batter will be a little lumpy and that's OK. It's what you want. You can set this aside while your griddle or pan is heating up, but not much longer. If it's going to be a bit of time before making the pancakes, wait until you are closer to cooking time to combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Check your pan/griddle to see if it's hot enough. The best way to do this, is to drip a few drops of water on the surface. If it immediately pops or dances across the surface, you're ready to go. Do a test pancake to start and once you're satisfied with the results or have made any adjustments that are necessary, continue on with the first batch.

Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop out about 3/4 of a cup full of batter and pour it onto the griddle. Repeat with as many more scoops as will fit on the pan that you are using, allowing about 1/2 inch of space all around each one. They will (and should) spread out a bit, so eyeball it the best that you can. If your batter is too thick and is not spreading out at all, add a bit more buttermilk.

Some people prefer to mix the batter and pour it directly from a bowl that has a pouring spout. I like the scoop method, because I feel like I can gauge the amount of batter that I'm using more clearly.

When the pancakes begin to form an even layer of bubbles across the top, carefully slide a thin, wide spatula underneath and flip them over. Keep in mind that this step takes practice, so don't feel bad if you have a few flips that flop. Usually, the first few pancakes are a bit messy, but you'll build up a rhythm as you go along.

If you are making several batches of pancakes, you can keep them warm by layering them in a large casserole dish with a cover or some foil and placing them in a warm oven. (about 200 degrees Fahrenheit) A sheet of parchment paper in between the layers will keep them from sticking together.

Serve with butter and warm pure maple syrup and Enjoy!

*This is not a recipe where I would recommend making a "buttermilk substitute". (done by adding vinegar or lemon juice to milk) The buttermilk is too much of an integral part of how the recipe works and tastes, to not use the real thing. So, make sure to go out and get you some the day before, mm'Kay?


"Test" pancake. (see Pancakes 101,  below)


Looks like a keeper!


Use a light oil (like extra light olive oil) to grease the griddle, because if you were to use butter, it will have already started burning by the time you're ready to begin the next batch. That would definitely not make a pleasant tasting pancake.


Remember... Wait for those bubbles!


How gorgeous and golden are these beauties?!


Gently warm the maple syrup before serving. You can do this by pouring it into a small pitcher or other serving vessel and putting it in the microwave for 15 to 20 second intervals, or by placing it in a pan of hot (not boiling) tap water for 5 to 10 minutes.


If you're not a fan of maple syrup, you can use your favorite pancake topping instead. Of course, as it is with all of my recipes, you can always omit any of the "extras" altogether. Butter, anyone?


Mmmmmmm.....

Pancakes 101

First things first... In order to make perfect Father's Day pancakes, you'll need the following:

1) a good heavy bottomed non-stick griddle pan, if you have gas burners on your stove.
or,
2) a non-stick electric griddle, if you have any other type of burners.

3) A thin, wide spatula, that will slide easily underneath and then support the pancakes while flipping them and removing them from the pan.

I should add that if you're making these for just yourself or maybe one other person, you can use a good heavy skillet. (cast iron works nicely) But in my humble opinion, it's not a bad idea for any cook who's just starting out, to purchase an electric griddle.

Now, I'm sure that some of you are probably asking, "Why would I want to go out and spend my hard earned money on a small appliance that I'm probably only going to use occasionally, for making pancakes?"

Reason #1, you can usually find a pretty decent brand for a pretty decent price at stores like Walmart or Bed Bath & Beyond and...

Reasons #2 through #100, they're actually an excellent tool to have in your kitchen arsenal. You can make a whole lot more than just pancakes on an electric griddle. Things like, french toast, eggs, bacon, hamburgers, toasted sandwiches, seared fish and seafood, quesadillas and a number of things that you might want to make in larger quantities, in a single batch.

You should always make a "test pancake" before doing an entire batch. This will give you an even better idea of the kind of temperature you're working with on your griddle or pan. Obviously, if your pancake starts smoking the second you pour out the batter, your cooking surface is too hot. lol  But, even if the pancake doesn't start sending up smoke signals right out of the gate, it can still cook too quickly. The first side down, needs to cook slowly enough to turn that lovely golden brown, as the heat rises up through the batter toward the top.

It's pretty difficult to get a perfectly round pancake, so don't get hung up on that. Just try to get them relatively round and far enough apart to get your spatula up underneath each one when it's time to flip them.

That being said, if you're completely new to making your own pancakes, it's probably best to start out with only 2 or possibly 4 on the griddle at a time. This way, you can get the knack of flipping them. If they run together in spots, don't be tempted to separate them right away. You need to give them time to form a crust or skin on the bottom, that's strong enough to keep the edge of the pancake from tearing away or mushing together (technical term, there) when you slide the spatula under it.

Where pancake batters are concerned, a little bit lumpy is actually a good thing. Stirring the batter too much starts to develop the gluten in the flour and that makes for dense, heavy pancakes. Not good. Letting it sit too long is also a no-no. I was never much of a whiz when it came to chemistry, but there is a chemical reaction that occurs when something that is acidic (buttermilk) is combined with something that is alkaline. (baking powder and baking soda) The baking powder is mainly for leavening, which makes the pancakes light and fluffy and the baking soda neutralizes the acid, helps a bit more with the leavening and also adds tenderness.

I hope this helps any of the first time or relatively new cooks out there. If you have any questions at all, just leave them in a comment and I'll do my best to help in any way that I can.

Whether you make them for Father's Day, another special occasion or "just because", I hope you thoroughly enjoy these delicious pancakes!

I'm sharing these at:

Food On Friday at Carole's Chatter - Pancakes, Galettes and Crepes Edition

Don't forget that you can print this (or any) recipe using the "Print Friendly" button at the foot of each post. It's a great little feature that allows you to remove any pictures (or any of my jibber-jabber) before printing. That can save lots of ink and paper & in today's economy, why not save a little bit wherever you can?!

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5 comments:

  1. I love pancakes for DINNER. My mom has a recipe that belonged to my great grandmother. Whenever she makes pancakes for dinner, it is a FANTASTIC night. I am so with you on pancakes. Love love love them.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rob! We had pancakes for dinner a lot growing up, too. My dad loved "breakfast for dinner". Guess it was from his childhood, too. He was a tax man, but the farm boy in him never truly left. Some day, I'll have to get that recipe from you... if your mom is willing to share it, that is. :~) XOXO

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  2. Oh, you got me all excited. I have a quart of buttermilk in the fridge! I had this lovely little moment when I thought about making those pancakes tomorrow for my husband, until I remembered we won't be home for breakfast tomorrow. Boo hoo! We will be home for supper. My daughter has requested buttermilk fried chicken.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh... Buttermilk fried chicken! What time is dinner? LOL Well, even if you aren't going to be home for breakfast tomorrow, there's always another Sunday morning! (or Sunday evening) XOXO

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  3. I hadn't been here for awhile - yum yum pancakes! We don't get to eat them often - very special occasions (carbs) so I am going to use this recipe the next time we get to indulge - YUM. Oh and the Oscar's bacon, too - major yum!

    ReplyDelete

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