Monday, July 12, 2010
Would you bribe your children?
Last Friday, we spent a rainy day relaxing indoors after a series of days playing to the point of exhaustion in the sweltering summer heat. We all enjoyed a break from the heat, but bedtime presented quite a challenge. The girls just weren't "played out" when bedtime rolled around. They bopped out of bed a number of times after I had tucked them in for the night. While the girls didn't seem tired at all, I was beat after a late night of visiting with one of my sisters and a friend the night before, followed by a day of keeping my kiddos entertained and out of the rain. To be honest, the third time they wandered (giggling) down the stairs to ask "one more question", I was DONE with a capital "D". No coaxing, no yelling, no threats....I was too tired. I bribed them. "If you stay in bed, we can make pancakes in the morning." It was a done deal. Very effective. My kids LOVE to make pancakes even more than they like to eat them.
I was awakened with their two sweet morning-fresh faces and not-so-fresh morning breath right on top of me. "Pancakes, mommy! C'mon! WAKE UP!" Once I got the coffee gurgling and dripping into the pot, I reached for the box of Bisquick. I am not a pancake snob. I grew up with my dad's "from scratch" buttermilk blueberry pancakes, but more often than not, in my house we make pancakes from a box. Then it occurred to me that (for once) we didn't have a single place we needed to be this Saturday morning. So I Googled "Blueberry Pancakes" with the notion that I could make ours from scratch. One of the first results that popped up was this post from Smitten Kitchen. Not only did Deb's post include the recipe for Best Buttermilk Pancakes from Martha Stewart's Original Classics Cookbook, it also included 10 pancake tips, which I took to heart as I set about making our Saturday morning breakfast. I have to say, the application of these tips coupled with the use of the Best Buttermilk Pancakes recipe paid off! These were amazing. Light, fluffy, and even a little crisp on the edges, bursting with plump blueberries (or laden with chocolate chips) these pancakes were the best to ever grace our little breakfast table.
The girls pulled up their chairs to the counter and got to work. You might notice from the pictures that my oldest is (logically) still in her pj's while my toddler has opted for a swimsuit. It seems that her self-imposed dress code for the summer consists of dressy dresses or swimsuits. You will find her in either uniform at any given time of day. Functional shorts and tees are strictly forbidden with this child at this time and she absolutely WILL NOT leave her room in the morning until she is properly attired in one or the other...regardless of how much I try to reason, beg, plead, or...bribe.
I love these pictures! It brings back memories of my little sisters and I in my mom's kitchen, once upon a time...
To begin, just mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, and sugar.
Then mix together the "wet" ingredients: buttermilk, egg yolks, and melted butter.
I added the wet ingredients to the dry and just barely mixed them together. From Smitten Kitchen's tips: "This is where the “just barely” mixing comes in: you want small to medium-sized lumps in the batter. No lumps means a dense pancake." Remember, we're shooting for light and fluffy here. : )
To insure a light, fluffy pancake, I took it one step further. From Smitten Kitchen: "If you want your pancakes even lighter, the best way to get that is to separate the eggs, mix the yolks in the with the batter and whip the egg whites until stiff. If you fold them gently back into the batter–this should be your very last step–your pancakes will be unbelievably light, with an extra-crisp edge."
After I folded in my egg whites, I lightly brushed butter onto my pre-heated griddle. In the past, I've just heated oil on my griddle. No longer! Here's Deb from Smitten Kitchen's tip for buttering the griddle: "Once the pan is heated, I like to brush it with a very thin coat of melted butter, which is my tip for Celeste, who says that she struggles with the amount of oil when making pancakes. “I’ve gone with too little and scraped them off the pan, and I’ve gone with too much and been accused of making funnel cakes.” The brush–or even a spray of Pam, though you’ll get less awesome flavor–gives just the right amount of oil, without them tasting fried. They’re not fritters; they’re breakfast, right?"
I poured my batter onto the griddle in 1/3 cupfuls.
Usually, I mix my blueberries into the batter when making blueberry pancakes. But Smitten Kitchen recommends dropping the blueberries onto the pancakes once they are already in the skillet. Since I was doing so well at following directions on Saturday morning, I decided to continue this trend. Dropping the blueberries onto the pancakes does keep them evenly distributed. Good call!
The next step is my tip. I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg, or both onto my pancakes before I flip them over.
I ended up making chocolate chip pancakes as well (at my daughters' request). This was a good picture of the bubbles that form on top of the pancake when it's time to flip. Once you've got lots of bubbles showing up and the edges start to look just a little bit dry....
Pancakes don't need to cook as long on the second side. As long as your griddle isn't too hot, once they're flipped it only takes a minute or two longer until they are done.
As my pancakes were done, I stacked them onto a plate and kept them in a warm oven (170 degrees) until each and ever pancake was done. Then we slathered them with butter and maple syrup and devoured them. I'm tellin' ya...they were perfect!
While blueberry are my favorite, the chocolate chip almost won the title last weekend. Especially when topped with whipped cream!
Best Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Original Classics Cookbook
Yield: Martha says this makes 9 6-inch pancakes; I got about 16
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or slightly less table salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, separated
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon extra for brushing griddle
1 cup blueberries or 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
cinnamon and/or nutmeg for sprinkling
1. Preheat an electric griddle to 375°F, or place a griddle pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the egg yolks, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons melted butter, and whisk to combine. The batter should have small to medium lumps.
2. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.
2. Test the griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If the water bounces and spatters, the griddle is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush the remaining 1/2 teaspoon butter onto the griddle. Wipe off the excess with a folded paper towel.
3. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, pour the batter in pools, about 1 inch apart. If you wish to make blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes, arrange a handful over the cooking pancake, pressing them in slightly. If desired: sprinkle blueberry pancakes with cinnamon and nutmeg. When the pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. If any batter oozes or blueberries roll out, push them back under with your spatula. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.
4. Repeat with the remaining batter. You can keep the finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the oven at 17o°F. Serve warm.
Note: From scratch pancakes are totally worth the effort!