Bring Back Pancakes from Scratch
BY ERIC GUIDO | JUNE 05, 2020
One of the first things I was taught when learning to cook professionally is the power of nostalgia. In fact, it was presented to me as more of an ingredient than a response from a client. It’s because of this that I will forever want tomato soup with my grilled cheese, or why a simple plate of Pasta Con Le Sarde will easily transport me back to happy childhood summers and the memories of running through sprinklers on hot asphalt. The same goes for pancakes. I could be in the fanciest restaurant for brunch, at the finest high tea, or just huddled up with a cup of coffee on a porch in Vermont, and what would bring me the most happiness is pancakes.
However, pancakes have changed quite a bit in our modern times. For me, and most other people who are my age or older, they were made from scratch. Of course there were pancake mixes in the early eighties, but you’d never find one in my house. Frankly, there was no reason for one because all of the ingredients you’d need were always right there in the kitchen. Pancakes represent my happiest childhood memories, with my mother at the stove, using a spoon to creatively pour the batter in a way that would cook up to represent shapes and characters.
When I was a teen and young adult, I would often make pancakes for guests – it didn’t matter if it was lunch or dinner. No one would turn them away. Admittedly, I went through some awkward stages, and I had just as many failures as successes while trying to get creative. Finally, the inspiration for the recipe that I still use to this day came from Vermont and Maine, while skipping between bed and breakfasts on vacation with my wife. Those rich, textural and fluffy buttermilk pancakes, served with fresh maple syrup and wholesome butter, brought me back to childhood. I stopped trying to reinvent the pancake and decided instead to go back to basics. Fresh, simple, flavorful, nostalgic…Perfect.
Today, I’m building happy memories with my own kids while serving up buttermilk, blueberry, banana, and chocolate chip pancakes, and I wanted to share a bit of the happiness with you.
The video tutorial is packed full of hints and tips to cook the perfect pancakes from scratch.
Buttermilk Pancakes (serves 5)
The best way to measure your ingredients is by weight. If you have a scale, use it, but if you don’t, dry measuring cups will work as well.
All-purpose flour – 281 grams (2 cups)
Baking powder 14 grams (1 tablespoon)
Baking soda 3 grams (½ teaspoon)
Sugar 56 grams (¼ cup)
Salt 4 grams (¾ teaspoon)
Eggs 182 grams (about 3 x-large eggs)
Sweet butter 54 grams (3 tablespoons)
Buttermilk 2 cups (liquid measure)
Sweet butter for cooking
Toppings and Garnish:
One banana (sliced)
½ cup of chopped Walnuts with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup fresh Blueberries
1 cup dark Chocolate Chips (the darker the better; I prefer 70%)
1. Place the sweet butter from the wet ingredients into a small pot and melt over a low flame, then remove from the stove top and allow to cool.
Run your dry ingredients through a flour sifter or a fine sieve.
2. Measure out all dry ingredients, sift together into a bowl and set aside.
3. Measure out and place the sugar and salt into a clean bowl and then whisk in the cooled sweet butter.
Whisk the buttermilk into the egg, butter, sugar and salt mixture.
4. Measure out and add the buttermilk and eggs.
5. Pour the wet ingredient bowl into the dry ingredients.
Sauté walnuts in melted butter and brown sugar to make a great topping for banana pancakes.
6. Stir this mixture to combine. You’re looking for a smooth consistency with small bumps throughout. (It should look a little lumpy.)
Combine the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth with small bumps throughout.
7. Set the bowl aside to rest for five minutes.
8. Set an electric skillet to 325 degrees or set a nonstick pan of stovetop skillet over a medium flame.
9. Prepare your toppings and garnishes.
10. Brush a small amount of butter over the cooking surface and ladle about ¾ of a cup of batter for each pancake.
Use your hands to push the ingredients into the pancakes, which will prevent the ingredients from burning once the pancakes are flipped.
11. If making only buttermilk pancakes, wait for small bubbles to form around the edges of the pancake and for the edges to brown slightly before checking and flipping. Try not to move them around too much so as not to disturb the bubbles that are forming.
12. If adding toppings to the pancakes, sprinkle the toppings into the batter right after ladling the batter onto your cooking surface. You can use a spoon to push them further into the batter (or your own clean hands). For the bananas, it’s best to flip the bananas themselves so as to coat the entire surface of the banana slices with batter. This prevents the toppings from burning when you flip the pancakes.
Begin flipping once the bubbles start appearing around the sides of the pancake.
13. Whichever kind of pancakes you choose, allow them to cook after being flipped until they are lightly browned.
14. Now the pancakes are ready to serve with a pat of butter and added toppings sprinkled over them.
15. For a tasty banana walnut variation, lightly toast the walnuts in a pan with a tablespoon of butter and brown sugar, and then sprinkle over your banana pancakes.
Add salted butter and desired toppings to the plated pancakes.
Lastly, pancakes can be breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. So, while I enjoy a rich bold cup of coffee, try the fruit-filled pancakes with a Mimosa (half sparkling wine and half orange juice in a champagne flute), or chocolate chip pancakes with a glass of Lambrusco.