Basic Pancakes or Waffles
Pancakes or waffles make the basis for many great meals
because they go together so quickly and they're so versatile. This basic
recipe makes enough for a good-sized hungry family (two or three
adolescents with leftovers to freeze if you are lucky) but can easily be
cut in half to accommodate smaller or fewer appetites.
As with muffins you can actually leave the butter or oil
out of the batter. (just make sure your griddle or waffle iron is well
greased though.) The total calorie count is, of course, dependent on what
you put on top. You can use butter and maple syrup which is traditional in
the Northeast. For a low-calories, calcium- and vitamin-rich meal, try
them with unsweetened yogurt and sliced, slightly sweetened fresh
- 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 eggs
- 1 quarter buttermilk, yogurt or sour milk (or 1 quart
sweet milk with 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice plus 5 minutes to
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter or vegetable oil
Mixing: In a large bowl, mix
the dry ingredients thoroughly.
In a second bowl, beat the eggs and buttermilk together
until they are light and fluffy. Add the butter or oil. Take about 20
seconds and blend this mixture into the dry ingredients. Don't overdo it.
Pancake and waffle batter is like muffin batter; a light hand in mixing
means a light pancake on the plate.
Cooking: For successful
pancakes, use a griddle that heats evenly. Cast iron is particularly good.
Preheat and grease your griddle or waffle iron.
Pancakes: To test for correct
pancake cooking temperature, sprinkle a few drops of water onto your
griddle. The water should "dance." Using a quarter-cup measure or an ice
cream scoop, pour your batter onto the griddle leaving enough space for
each pancake to expand. Turn them when the bubbles on the top surface pop
and don't fill in. The second side takes only half the amount of time
needed to cook the first.
If you are using a well seasoned cast iron frying pan or
"spider", or a non-stick griddle, and if the batter has butter or
vegetable oil in it, it probably won't be necessary to grease the pan
after the first batch. Pancakes can be stockpiled in the oven on
Waffles: Most waffle irons
come with directions, but here are some general guidelines if you don't
happen to have any.
Preheat the iron until it's just beginning to "smoke" and
grease it just before you put the batter on. (A pastry brush is a good
tool for this job.) Unlike a pancake griddle, a waffle iron usually needs
to be greased each time you cook a waffle. To get the batter from the bowl
to the iron, an ice cream scoop again is useful. Place a scoopful of
batter in the middle of the iron. When you close it, the top will force
the batter out to the edges.
Although waffle irons differ, a waffle usually cooks in 2
to 4 minutes. When steam stops pouring out from under the lid, check to
see if it's done. If the top doesn't want to lift up, it probably needs
another minute or two. A well seasoned iron will "let go" of the waffle
when it's done.
Waffles are best eaten right from the iron if you like
them crisp. Even in a warm oven, wrapped in a clean dish towel, they are
apt to soften if you stockpile them like pancakes.
These are written for pancakes but can be applied
to waffle batter as well.
Light Pancakes: Separate the
eggs and add only the yolks to the liquid ingredients. Beat the whites
until they form stiff peaks and fold them in last.
Cinnamon Pancakes: For added
zip, sprinkle a little cinnamon on the pancake before you flip it (or on
the waffle before you close the lid).
Banana Pancakes: Fold 1 or 2
cups of mashed or chopped ripe bananas (2 to 4) into the
Fruit or Berry Pancakes: Fold
1 to 2 cups of washed berries or sliced fruit into the batter. (Try a
combination of sliced applies and grated Cheddar cheese.)
Pumpkin Pancakes: Add 1
teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to the dry ingredients. Told
1/2 to 1 cup mashed pumpkin onto the batter and reduce the other liquid by
the same amount.
Hearty Pancakes: Substitute
1/2 to 1 cup of cornmeal, rye meal, oatmeal, wheat germ or bran for an
equal amount of unbleached flour, and/or add 1/4 to 1/2 cup sunflower,
sesame or poppy seeds.
Ice cream sandwiches made with fresh waffles are a treat.
Frozen yogurt in place of ice cream minimizes the calories but offers the
same combination of textures.