Last Sunday, Xavier called me on the way home from walking Rose and asked if I’d make pancakes. I don’t need much of a push to make pancakes, especially when there’s fleur de sel butter to slather on top, which there always is around here, so of course I said that I would.
After all, if there’s any day that’s perfect day for eating things drenched with maple syrup, it’s Sunday.
Nearly every Sunday while I was growing up, Mom would pull out the well-worn griddle, big enough to cover two burners, and ask if we wanted pancakes or French toast. Perhaps this was foreshadowing in some way, but I always chose French toast. It was crispy. Cinnamony. And the perfect foil for the strips of bacon floating in the maple syrup moat.
Eventually I came around to loving pancakes too, and over the years, I’ve tried more recipes than I can count. I have let the batter rest for up to a half-hour. I have made pancake batter in a tall, thin “bowl,” to allow for more air bubbles. I have made pancakes with blueberries and without. I have tried them with whipping cream folded in at the end. All disappointments, in their own special way.
Then one morning, everything changed in my pancake-challenged world.
My sister-in-law Wendy served up a stack of pancakes that were absolutely perfect. Light toasty brown on the outside, fluffy on the inside. After all of my lost years of experimenting with pancake recipes, more than one written by a well-known chef (names are being withheld for obvious reasons), my sister-in-law had been making the best, easiest pancakes all along.
Had I opened up my cheerful red and white checked “Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook,” I would have been, too.
Here’s my version, based on the BHandG recipe. Oh, you may want to double this if you’re really hungry. It makes anywhere from 8-12 small pancakes. (I could eat them all myself.)
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Sift together dry ingredients.
2. Melt butter over low heat. Remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
3. Combine egg, milk and butter and add to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened; don’t overmix. Batter will be slightly lumpy.
4. Pour onto a hot, buttered griddle, and flip when holes appear.
See how perfectly brown they are? Slide those babies onto a plate and enjoy!