Pancakes

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you’re already longing for Friday by midday on Tuesday?  That was definitely me this week; I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to a lazy weekend.  Even though I’m not generally motivated to make a big breakfast on the weekend, for some reason I envisioned myself relaxing with a big stack of pancakes for breakfast on Sunday morning.  I went digging through my archives for a suitable recipe and was surprised to find a distinct lack of pancake options.  Sure, there were gingerbread pancakes and cake batter pancakes which were both completely delicious, but what I was really craving was just a simple buttermilk pancake.  I remembered Michelle had shared a recipe not too long ago that sounded great so I gave it a test run before the start of the weekend.   

Pancakes

To be clear, the “best” label in the recipe title is Cook’s Illustrated’s, not mine.  That’s not to say I didn’t think these were great, because I did, I’m just hesitant to label anything the best.  The pancakes are really light and fluffy with a bit of tang from the buttermilk and sour cream.  They’re perfect for my lazy weekend – whipping them up is as easy as combining dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, and then mixing them both together.  One thing I didn’t note below in the recipe – the folks at Cook’s Illustrated developed this recipe using a lower protein flour (like Gold Medal) so if you use one with a higher protein content (like King Arthur) and your batter seems really thick, you’ll want to add an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk.  Speaking of buttermilk, if you don’t have any on hand, there are several options for substitutes, a number of which are listed on this site.  I’m partial to the powdered buttermilk – it lasts forever in my fridge and I’ve found it yields similar results to the stuff in the carton.

Hope your weekend is off to a good start! :)

Best Buttermilk Pancakes
from Cook’s Illustrated, July 2009

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1-2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil

{If you aren’t going to serve the pancakes until you’ve cooked all of them, preheat oven to 200 F.  Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and set it inside a baking sheet then place the baking sheet in the oven.}

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Create a well in the center of the mixture.  Add the buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and melted butter to the dry ingredients and whisk gently just until combined – the batter will be lumpy and it’s fine if there are a few streaks of flour.  (Avoid over-mixing or the pancakes won’t be as tender.) Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over medium heat.  Once the oil starts shimmering, use paper towels to wipe the pan so only a thin, even coating of oil covers the bottom and sides.  Use a 1/4 cup measure to portion the batter into the pan.  Cook on the first side until the edges are set and bubbles form on the surface, about 2-3 minutes.  Use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook for 1-2 minutes on the second side, or until golden brown and cooked through.  {If not serving immediately, transfer the pancakes to the wire rack in the oven.}  Repeat with remaining batter, adding the rest of the oil to the pan if necessary.

Makes about 16 pancakes