Just say the word ‘pancakes’ and all sorts of images pop into our heads.
For some of us, it may be mom or dad standing over the stove on Sunday morning making them as fast as you could eat them. For others, it may be scarfing down a big stack at 3 a.m. after a night out on the town.
For me, I knew I was hooked on these fluffy griddle cakes when I was knee high to a grass hopper and went to my first Rotary Club’s Annual Pancake Day. I remember going to a huge tent (I mean this was really a circus tent) that was set up in the parking lot of the local mall. There before me was a site to behold. About 25 guys flipping pancakes and serving it up with sausage. And although I was only a little guy, I took advantage of the fact this was an all you could eat breakfast. Not even all the smoke filling the tent or the syrup dripping down my chin couldn’t slow me down. From that day on, my fascination with pancakes was born.
Today, Pancake Day is no longer an annual event under a big top. But rather, it’s simply my family and a few close friends getting together for breakfast or even dinner and my job is the official pancake maker. So what tricks have I learned along the way…
- Whether you’re using a mix or starting from scratch, don’t over mix your batter. Over beating it will make your pancakes tough.
- If you prefer lighter pancakes — like who doesn’t — replace all or some of the liquid when making the batter with club soda. Ya see, the carbonation adds little air bubbles and makes the batter light and fluffy.
- Make sure you use a heavy duty griddle. Making pancakes in a skillet is like trying to grill a steak in your toaster over. And yes, the griddle can sit on your stove top or be one of the inexpensive electric ones.
- Make sure your griddle is at the right temperature. It should be about 325-350 degrees. To test it, pour a couple of drops of water on your griddle and if it does a happy dance, it’s ready. I always recommend testing a pancake also to make sure it’s at the right temp.
- Slather the grill with butter, just enough to have it glisten, then pour on your batter. It doesn’t matter if you like silver dollar size ones or big ones, the key is to let the batter spread and not to crowd them. With each batch check to see if you need to add any more butter.
- Be patient. Your pancakes will tell you they are ready to be flipped when the edges begin to brown up and little air bubbles form in the center. Then and only then, grab your big pancake flipper and with a quick flick of the wrist, flip ‘em.
- Another minute or so, breakfast is ready to serve. Of course, if you have a big crowd you can also keep these warm on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven. This works, but there is nothing like eating them hot off the grill.
I don’t know about you, but I know what I’m having for dinner tonight… pancakes and sausage. And knowing me, by the time dinner is over, my belly will be full, my childhood memories will be revived and without a doubt… maple syrup will be dripping off my chin.
Click HERE for delicious pancake recipes you can try your new tips and tricks with!
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