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Water Cooler: Impress Mom with pancakes from scratch

UPDATED: Wed., May 5, 2021

For a bit more sweetness and pretty presentation, use a sieve to sprinkle powdered sugar over the pancakes.  (Pixabay)
For a bit more sweetness and pretty presentation, use a sieve to sprinkle powdered sugar over the pancakes. (Pixabay)

Are you planning to surprise someone with breakfast in bed this Mother’s Day weekend? Although most any mom will appreciate your efforts no matter what, one way to impress is to present her with perfectly fluffy and rich pancakes made entirely from scratch. Nothing against the boxed pancake mix that has become a staple of the all-American weekend breakfast, but going completely homemade is a surefire way to win the most brownie points this Mother’s Day.

Luckily, making pancakes from scratch is almost just as simple as using the box mix, which makes this recipe fairly kid-friendly if you’d like to make breakfast a family effort. Its simplicity is also great for those who don’t usually do the cooking and are intimidated by the idea of “from scratch.” Worry not, the humble pancake is here to make any budding home cook feel like the next culinary hotshot.

Begin by preparing the following ingredients:

1½ cups of whole milk (or buttermilk for extra richness and tang)

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Begin by whisking the egg and milk together in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Use a whisk to stir the dry ingredients to ensure they are all mixed and distributed evenly.

Next, pour in the egg and milk mixture and whisk just until combined. Pour in the melted butter and continue whisking until the mixture looks smooth. Give the batter about 5-10 minutes to rest. This allows the flour to become hydrated and the leavening agent (the baking powder) to evenly activate throughout the batter, resulting in a fluffier and more tender pancake. Resting the batter also lets the gluten relax, which ensures your pancake won’t end up with a chewy texture. If you want to create the heavenly, pillowy pancake that breakfast dreams are made of, resting is key.

Once the batter has rested, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray or a few tablespoons of unsalted butter. To test if the pan is hot enough to start cooking the pancakes, flick a bit of water into the pan. If it sizzles, you are ready to go. Ensuring the pan is hot before pouring the batter prevents the batter from spreading out and resulting in a thin pancake.

Use a one-quarter measuring cup to pour dollops of batter into the pan. This helps keep the pancakes evenly sized so you can achieve a picturesque pancake stack. In a 10-inch skillet, you should be able to fit three or four comfortably, but it’s always a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room for flipping.

Cook the pancakes until they are golden brown on the bottom and seem to be firming up. This should take about 1-3 minutes depending on yoru pan and heat level. Flip and cook for another 1-3 minutes until golden brown.

The pancake should have a nice, bouncy texture. If it’s too firm, the pancake will have a dry texture.

Stack the pancakes, top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup. Seeing as you are already putting this much effort into making pancakes, make sure to pair it with a high-quality, real maple syrup. The rich flavor is worth the price. For a bit more sweetness and pretty presentation, use a sieve to sprinkle powdered sugar over the pancakes.

You can also be inventive with other toppings, such as fruit compote and whipped cream.

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