Saturday after a week of unpacking and resettling seemed like a good time to celebrate with a hearty breakfast. While Joe lined a baking sheet with foil and a rack to bake a pound of peppered bacon, I pulled out ingredients for pancakes. I enjoy Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog and television series so I try her recipes often and thought I would try her recipe for Perfect Pancakes!
Now that there are 5 of us regularly around the table again (and soon to be 6!), it is necessary to cook quite a stack of pancakes, so Pioneer Woman’s method fit the bill. I did not vary from her offering except for using regular unbleached all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. I could have made a substitute cake flour by substituting part of the flour I used with corn starch, but silly me, I did not look that up until after we had eaten the pancakes and declared them delicious! I thought they were a tad dense, so I checked and sure enough, that was the reason. The main difference in the 2 flours is the protein content (which becomes gluten). The protein content of cake flour is about 8%, while the protein content of flour is about 10-11%. Next time I will either have cake flour on hand or try this simple substitution: For each cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons and add back in 2 Tablespoons of corn starch!
When we were clearing the table, my son declared these pancakes the best he had ever eaten! Thank you, Ree Drummond! And next time I will do it right!
3 cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Cake Flour
3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Milk
2 whole Large Eggs
3 teaspoons Vanilla
4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
Butter for the table
Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl.
Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined.
Melt butter and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine. Stir in more milk if needed for thinning. Batter will not be smooth. Do not overmix.
Ladle about 1/4 cup for each pancake onto a greased or sprayed griddle over medium-low to low heat until golden brown. The pancakes will brown too quickly if the heat is too high. When they dry slightly around the edges and begin to bubble, turn and cook a few seconds more on the other side. Serve with a pat of butter and maple syrup.
I have a confession to make. I did not make Thanksgiving Dinner. This was a first for me, but seemed a wise choice as we busy ourselves getting ready for Joe’s next big surgery. I opted to order a turkey baked in a brick oven from a Turkish grill near us. Stuffng, potatoes, green beans, shepherd’s bread and baklava rounded out the menu! Our son brought his homemade blackberry pie and I added some Pumpkin Cranberry Spice Haagen Daaz. That was it. I didn’t make pumpkin and pecan pies. No focaccia bread. No sweet potato balls. Nary a green bean casserole. And we loved it! We relaxed, had more time for putting up the Christmas tree in the afternoon, and enjoyed each other. That is not to say I will do it that way from now on, but it was a good choice this year. No, I did my cooking AFTER Thanksgiving, getting in some kitchen therapy with leftovers.
First, I made Shepherd’s Pie using gravy, turkey, vegetables and a small amount of stuffing for the filling. Topped with cream mashed potatoes and baked until brown and crusty, it was delicious. Then, a turkey bake with layers of stuffing, turkey and cream of chicken soup dressed with cranberry sauce. Yummy. But my favorite idea came from remembering how I loved for Daddy to make me fried mashed potatoes when I was a little girl and he had a cafe in the bus station in Jacksonville, Texas. He would simply spoon up some potatoes, add some chopped onion and brown it on the grill. Later, potato pancakes, German style, became a favorite. The big pancakes I created for this dish are a mix of the two. To make them, I added 2 eggs to roughly 2 cups of mashed potato and chopped green onion, browned them in butter in a cast iron skillet. Topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, I can tell you they didn’t last long!
Our go to recipe for pancakes for a crowd at breakfast was given to us many years ago. It is typed on file card sized paper that has been dog eared, is as aged as parchment, and is brown-spotted. There are three things that make it unusual. One is that it is named for Edith Brown. I never met her and don’t know the story of how these pancakes became “hers”, but have had fun imagining how she became famous for her pancakes. Also, the ingredients leave you guessing. How much flour is “for proper consistency?” For that matter, what is proper consistency?” Experiment by adding the flour gradually and being ready to add more if you find it too thin when pouring the first pancake. The last thing that makes this a different recommendation? There are no directions for cooking! In the spirit of adventure….
Favorite breakfasts at the Parker house may include different dishes according to which family member is asked. But this easy to make and bake pancake is on everybody’s list! It is also one of my favorites to make for holidays and house guests, so it was previously featured on my blog www.mappingsforthismorning.blogspot.com when I made it for a Fourth of July breakfast!
A Dutch Baby is a puffed pancake with blueberries, rasperries, and strawberries. We enjoy a variety of pancakes of various origins, but this is voted family favorite. Nearly 25 years ago, our friends Bob and Dorothy Thomas made one for a dessert. Once I tasted it, I hastily scribbled the bones of the recipe on a torn piece of paper, which is still the one I pull out when I get ready to make it. Even though I know the simple ingredients and preparation by heart, I like to connect with the memories by handling this tattered little note. It may be simple, but because it rises and puffs and is always beautiful with any assortment of fresh fruit, it is a great way to make guests feel special, whether served at breakfast, brunch, or a lovely dinner dessert.
1/3 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
Begin heating oven to 425 degrees. Put butter into an 8 inch round iron skillet and place in oven. While butter is melting, put eggs, milk, and flour into blender jar and mix throughly. Take hot skillet out of oven and pour batter directly into melted butter. Do not stir. Place back into oven for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and browned. I cut it into fourths and top with fresh berries or peaches and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. If you wish, add a dollop if whipped cream. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Optional: Add vanilla or a dash of nutmeg for flavor. We like it plain.