A tutorial on making them fluffy.
Because, though the old saying goes “Flat as a pancake” really you want them fluffy. I promise, you do.
I never thought there was an art to pancake making until I worked at the group home and then they taught me a thing or two.
Here are the how-to’s of successful pancake flipping and freezing (yes, freezing, if you’re going to all this trouble you might as well be done with pancakes for good long time, right?). With a couple creative ideas added just for fun!
Take a deep breath, get as many skillets or griddles as you own out, grab a huge bowl, and get ready to make the entire box at one time. Yes, you are. Yes, you can. The kids are playing Wii, watching a movie, doing SOMETHING, baby is sleeping, you can do this, I promise. Measure out the ingredients by the directions. Then keep measuring them out until the whole of the mix is there. Then just multiply your wet ingredients by how many times you measured the powder. For instance, if it calls for 2 cups dry mix and 1 cup milk, 2 eggs – then, if the whole box has 6 cups dry mix, you use 3 cups milk, 6 eggs – got it? Remind yourself you can do this!
For these I used Bisquick. They’re my favs (fluffier), but I usually buy the off-brand boxes to save money. The off-brand boxes usually just call for water, I add vanilla (just put a little in – a tablespoon for the whole box, maybe more? – I don’t measure) and an egg or two for good measure. The Bisquick actually does call for eggs. The main thing here is that whether you use off-brand, Bisquick, or a complete “from scratch” recipe you need to mix the dry ingredients in a bowl separately from the liquid ones. Beat the eggs well, add the milk and vanilla all in one bowl and then add to the dry ingredients.
You do this because with pancakes (and muffins and quick breads) you don’t want to over mix – it makes them tougher and less fluffy – you want fluffy, remember?
After you add the liquid ingredients to the dry mix stir just until moistened. This is important. Don’t over mix.
Now, spray with cooking spray (or when we don’t have it I just use a stick of margarine and rub it right on the griddle) heat your griddles on medium high (or about 375 for the electric griddle) at first. I usually lower that once I start cooking them, because I’m distracted by little people around me and I don’t want to burn them. During this time you’re letting your now blended mix set there. Untouched. Also important. By the time the griddles heat the batter should look a little different.
You know your griddles are ready when you drop a little drop of water on them and the water “dances” and disappears.
Pour your mix by spoonfuls (however big you want them, for the longest I made little bitty ones because my kids liked them, now we’re back to more “normal” sized ones) onto the griddle. And wait.
When they look like this:
with dry edges and bubbles in the middle, it’s time to flip them. You’re only going to flip them once. I spray my spatula before flipping.
When you wait until they are truly ready to flip, then you don’t have much gooey mess to contend with. Let brown on the second side (this takes much less time than the first side did) and remove from griddle.
This is the entire box of pancakes minus the 8 or 10 I served to the kiddos while finishing up the others. That’s the beauty of this freezer meal – you can hand out the goodies while still cooking. Keeps them busy, lets you finish the rest of the cook-ahead meal.
Yes, that’s a Waffle House plate. From my husband’s lawless college days. Let’s not talk about that, okay?
I cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in fridge. When they are fully cooled I label gallon freezer bags and put about 10 – 12 pancakes into one bag (that’s how many we eat at one meal – do what works for your family). When you want pancakes just pull them out of the bag, arrange on a plate, microwave for a minute at a time, rearranging and checking for warmth. Butter, syrup, serve!
Now, for the fun stuff!
Sometimes we serve Seussian pancakes (as in Dr. Seuss, get it?) When I do that I mix all the ingredients together and then break my don’t over mix rule. I separate the batter into smaller bowls and mix in food coloring – a different color for each bowl: pink, green, blue, purple, whatever! You can take the fun a step further and make polka dotty ones by swirling and dotting the batter when you drop it onto the griddle. My kids beg for these every time.
I saw on the Bisquick site that you can write your child’s name in pancake batter if you have an empty squeeze bottle. Put the batter in a bottle and draw out their name on the griddle. I haven’t try that yet, but I really want to now!
Okay, last time we talked about freezer cooking I talked you into just browning a bunch of ground beef all at once. How’d you do with that? Have you tried it yet? You mastered it, right?! Now you’re ready for step 2 – mix up a bunch of pancakes and try it once. See how it goes. I wanna know.