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Making Pancakes, need tips

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Yeah, I know. Might as well be asking how to boil water, but believe it or not, I've never made them. I always outsource my pancakes. But my 4 yo has requested that I make her some, so I thought I'd get some tips. I got Arrowhead Mills Buttermilk pancake mix, so I don't need a recipe. I'm wondering how not to make them heavy and how not to burn them, etc. Tips are what I need -- please help! How do you make a terrific batch of pancakes?

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  1. Heat your skillet or pan and when you throw a few drops of water into it and they "dance" (hop around and sizzle), the pan is ready. I always use a little bit of butter or oil in my pan, even if it's nonstick, so the first batch comes out okay. Drop about 1/4 cup batter in the pan, leaving space between the pancakes so you can flip them easily. Keep the heat medium-low (hot enough to cook them, low enough to keep them from burning). When you see bubbles form on the tops and they don't close back up, the pancake is ready to flip. After your first few pancakes, you'll get a feel for whether or not to flip them earlier or later.

    Don't overmix the batter and you'll keep the pancakes light.

    I've been known to use pancake mix at times, but making them from scratch is really easy! I alternate between the Better Homes & Garden recipe and the one from Cook's Illustrated.

    http://threedogkitchen.com

    1. Most importantly, remember to make fun designs in your pancakes. Drizzle flowers, smiley faces, letters (reverse them), let cook a minute or two then pour batter over them. Very fun.

      1. I really like the basic pancake mix (aunt jemima or whatever) but prefer the ones to which you add the egg, water, milk (or buttermilk?), oil etc rather than the "just add water" variety.

        Adding the liquid ingredients to the dry in the right amount so you've added enough but not too much without over mixing the batter is really the only trick...as long as you keep in mind that you want to avoid over working the batter (which produces the toughness), I think you'll do just fine.

        I also like to add some ripe banana to the mix- the sugar in the banana caramelizes with the heat of the pan and is tasty, but bananas are not for everyone.

        Watch your heat- as first responder said, after the first one or two sacrificial pancakes, you'll turn out some perfect ones.

        PS- signed, your pancakes on friday mornings partner, KG

        1. I don't make them very often, but when I do, I use the recipe from the The Cake Bible, which calls for using cake flour - makes them very light. I find I have to cook a batch or two before I get them right.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MMRuth

            This recipe is so time consuming compared to other recipes. They are nice and light, almost pillowy. It's a toss up between that given how much time it takes and the Best Recipe one which is quick and still delicious.

          2. Melt just a little crisco on the skillet while heating pan before dropping the batter making sure it is hot but not too hot. I seem to always sacrifice the 1st small pancake. It primes the skillet.
            Buttermilk always seems to make better pancakes-even if it is a buttermilk mix.
            Practice-you'll eventually find the groove.