Friday, January 7, 2011

How to Make Killer Bisquick-Free Pancakes

Two years ago. I was exposed. It was humiliating. I was caught red-handed with Bisquick. So I confessed: I cannot make good pancakes. I use Bisquick.

The good news is that today I can make killer pancakes from scratch. It wasn't an easy journey to this baking success. I went through stages of pancake grief.

First came denial: What?! Boxed Bisquick? No way! I make everything from scratch. Boxes are for semi-homemade Sara Lee, not Food Blogga!

Then came anger: Damn Bisquick. Damn IHOP. Damn the pancake Gods. Damn them all to hell!

Anger turned into depression: I'm such a loser. Every food blogger makes great pancakes. Why can't I? What's wrong with me?

Finally came acceptance: Not everyone is meant to make great pancakes. I make great pizza. Not everyone makes great pizza.

Better Than IHOP Pancakes from Recipes Every Man Should Know

After my acceptance came a request from my editor. I needed to include a pancake recipe for my book, Recipes Every Man Should Know. They would be called "Better-Than-IHOP Pancakes." That was my editor's choice. I would never have so brazenly provoked the pancake gods. So 38 batches of pancakes later, I now have my own Better-Than-IHOP Pancake recipe. They're fluffy and sweet and completely Bisquick-free.

Better-Than-IHOP Pancakes
Makes 8-10 pancakes
Printable recipe.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk (not the powdered variety)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
Maple syrup and melted butter for serving

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, suar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla extract (if using). Add dry ingredients to wet, and whisk until just combined. It's OK if batter is a little lumpy. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

2. Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Splash it with a few drops fo water: When they pop and jump, your're good to go. Lightly grease pan with butter. Pour batter by the quarter-cupful on to pan, being careful not to overcrowd if cooking more than one at a time. Leave each pancake alone until edges start to turn golden and little bubbles form on top Then, using a spatula, give it a quick, steady flip. (Remember, the first two or three are for the dog.) Cook 30-60 seconds more, or until puffed up and golden brown.

3. Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter to the pan as necessary. Serve pancakes right away, or keep in a warm oven (250 F) until you're ready to eat. Top with warm maple syrup and melted butter.

Tasty Pancake Toppings and Add-Ins:
Romantic breakfast in bed: 
*Sweet Berries: Top with fresh berries and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
*Boozy Bananas: Saute sliced bananas in a little butter and a splash of rum for a few minutes. Spoon over pancakes and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

*Chocolate Chip: After pouring the pancakes on the griddle, top each one with a few chocolate or cinnamon chips.
*Cinnamon-Sugar Apples: Cook sliced apples in a little butter and sprinkle with cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins.

*Maple-Bacon-Banana: Place slices of cooked maple-smoked bacon in between pancakes. Cook sliced bananas in a buttered pan until golden. Spoon over pancakes and drizzle with maple syrup.

Have you gotten a copy of Recipes Every Man Should Know? You can purchase one on Amazon or at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere books are sold. You'll also find it at Crate & Barrel.