| about 4 minutes to read
I love to cook. Like, really love to cook. It’s partly getting to come home after work and make something I enjoy, partly just this Zen-like state of creation which I find so relaxing. I thought about this recently and realized that after all this time I’ve written down some recipes I’ve put together on paper, but never shared them with anyone. I am going to gradually start to post them on my blog.
So now to reconcile “cooking!” with something as simplistic as “fried pancakes”, which is possibly one of the easier dishes in my wheelhouse - it hardly merits a recipe, right? I mean, the “perfect pancake” has been completely solved (and if you don’t read Serious Eats already, I can’t recommend it highly enough), so what’s the point of writing a whole post about pancakes?
The actual answer here stems from something I’ve learned over and over again while cooking: mistakes sometimes lead to really tasty things. I spent a very long time making pretty okay pancakes (honestly, I’m not above using the mix out of a box rather than going all out on the mix!), but what really elevated them to the next level in taste, texture, and (unfortunately) caloric impact was a silly mistake.
I usually add some vegetable oil to my pancake batter. Not a lot, just a little. I find it helps the pancake slide off the pan more easily. I’ll usually throw a tiny bit in the pan for the first pancake too just because I am usually impatient with the pan warming up so I start the first pancake early and it sometimes sticks. Well, a few weeks ago I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been when pouring oil into the pan and I ended up adding way more than I meant to. I didn’t really notice until after I started putting the first pancake in the pan when the oil started to pool up around the sides of the pancake batter, at which point it was too late to deal with things, so I kind of just went with it.
Turns out if you do this you actually get an amazing pancake that combines a nice light fluffy center with a slightly crispy exterior. The texture just elevates it way above a standard pancake. It soaks syrup just as well as your standard pancake, so you’re not losing anything from that standpoint. Obviously, you’re frying things now and that’s going to impact the healthiness of the dish, but you’re eating pancakes! Health is already something of a lost cause when we’re just cooking up flour and eggs and milk and sugar and pouring a bunch of maple syrup on them. Might as well lean into it at that point and get the best end result you can - and I firmly believe that’s what I arrived at.
- 1 c dry pancake mix
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for frying
- 1 Tbsp sugar (if not present in pancake mix)
- 1 tsp baking powder (if not present in pancake mix)
- 1 egg
- 2⁄3 c milk (I use 2% but it probably doesn’t matter)
- 1⁄4 tsp vanilla extract
- Cinnamon to taste (use more than you think you need if this is your first time with the recipe)
(This recipe can be scaled - this will make somewhere between 5 and 7 larger pancakes usually)
- Combine dry pancake mix, 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, milk, egg, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl until slightly lumpy.
- Put enough oil in a frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan, and then add a bit more than that. You want the pancake to be sitting about halfway deep in the oil once you put them in and start cooking. Once you’ve got the oil in the pan, turn it on low to medium-low heat.
- Once the oil has heated up a bit (3-4 minutes), start scooping the batter into the frying pan. Use between 1⁄4 c and 1⁄3 c of batter for each pancake.
- Wait until the bubbles that form on top of the pancake start to slow down and stop popping, then flip the pancake. Cook for 30-45 seconds or until crispy and remove from the pan.
- Refill the oil in the pan as necessary. Subsequent pancakes will probably take less time to cook.