I am EXTREMELY picky about my pancakes. I like them fluffy, slightly sweet, and with pancakes and real grade B maple syrup. I do not like them dense, undercooked, with “pancake” syrup (whatever the hell that is), or with fruit.
Because of these proclivities, I rarely ever make pancakes, because I get so disappointed when they don’t turn out right. Better to have them at Tex and Shirley’s, the Old Pancake House, or one of my grandfathers (both of whom mastered the art of pancakes and set me up with a pancake perfection complex as a small child.)
I woke up Sunday morning craving pancakes. Sundays, as I’ve mentioned, are usually spent at the bar at Vinoteca with ADM. Unfortunately, she and I have been there so much we’ve eaten everything on the brunch menu several thousand times over. So we’re boycotting until they change up a little. Anyway, she called and asked about brunch plans, and we decided I would make pancakes, and she would supply maple syrup, OJ, the paper, and a bottle of champagne.
I should stop here to point out that:
1) the bottle of champagne she brought over was probably a little to high falutin’ for mimosas, but that’s how we roll
2) the previous Sunday at brunch, one of ADM’s friends showed up with a tupperware full of spiced nuts (go ahead, get the jokes out now) for each of us.
She came over and the pancakes commenced. I’m sure it doesn’t amaze anyone to know that the winning recipe came from…Cook’s Illustrated! I’ve reproduced it below (shhh, don’t tell them) along with a recipe for spiced pecans. Our friend’s is a family recipe, so the one below is one my grandfather tried out on us over Christmas. The pancakes were fluffy and amazing, and cooked in no time in my nonstick skillet. I’m glad they turned out well, because the cinnamon rolls from the day before were an unmitigated disaster.
(from Cook’s Illustrated)
Note: be sure not to let the batter sit for more than an hour before using. In fact, use immediately if at all possible
1 cup all purpose flour (I used White Lily, the jewel of the south)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup spiced pecans
1. Mix first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix milk and buttermilk in a small bowl and whisk in egg white. Combine butter and egg yolk (stir quickly if the butter is warm, I melted in the microwave and mixed in the same bowl) and add mixture to milks and egg white. Dump into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When a drop of water “confidently sizzles” (actual phrasing from recipe) in skillet, pour batter in 1/4 cup at a time. Wait for the edgest to brown and the middle to bubble (2 min) and flip. Cook 1-2 minutes on other side and serve with lots of butter and maple syrup (Grade B only please)
Sweet and Spicy pecans
From Parade, by Dorie Greenspan (via my grandfather)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 egg white
2 cups pecan halves
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and spray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray. Mix the sugar and spices together in a small bowl. Beat the egg white lightly with a fork in a larger bowl; toss in the pecans and stir to coat. Sprinkle with the spice mix and coat pecans evenly. Using your fingers, one by one lift the pecans out of the bowl and transfer to a baking sheet, separating them as best you can. Discard any leftover sugar egg mix.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer to another baking sheet, breaking pecans apart as necessary; let cool completely. Kept covered in a dry place, pecans will stay fresh for 5 days.