Hot pancakes right off the stove with fresh fruits and sweet maple syrup – sounds like heaven, right? Pancakes are undoubtedly one of the most famous and earliest known food types. Whether you call it flapjack or crêpe, the idea remains the same. One cannot simply ignore a nice plate of pancakes on any given Sunday.
The history of pancakes goes as far as 30,000 years. An analysis of the ancient grinding tools suggests that cooks would use flour out of cattail and ferns. Researchers guess that the flour was most likely mixed with water and baked on a hot, greasy rock. As a result, flat-breads were formed.
Ancient Greek and Romans used to eat pancakes sweetened with honey. British would cut fresh fruit with them. In America, the earliest cookbook to mention recipes for pancakes was published in 1796. Amelia Simmons wrote two recipes – Johnnycake, which used milk, and Indian Slapjack, which had eggs. The concept remained the same throughout history.
The Basic Batter
Our favorite American home cook, Martha Stewart, tells us a pancake recipe that only needs a handful of ingredients and less than 30 minutes to cook. This recipe can be followed blindly, and you’ll be sure to please everyone at the breakfast table.
- One cup all-purpose flour
- One large egg
- One cup milk
- Two tablespoons of sugar
- Two teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Two tablespoons of unsalted butter or vegetable oil
- Toppings of your choice, such as maple syrup, crushed sugar, honey, or jams.
- Preheat your oven to 200°. Have a heatproof platter ready to keep the cooked pancakes warm.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, butter, and egg. Add the dry mix in this mixture, and fold. Do not over-mix.
- Heat a skillet on medium flame. Take the batter in a spoon, pour and spread with the back of the spoon. A large skillet takes 2-3 large spoons.
- Let it cook for about 2 minutes or until you see bubbles start to burst. Flip and let it cook for another 2 minutes.
- Assemble on a plate with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
The best thing about it is that you can also add variations to this recipe according to your likings. Replace the 2 cups of milk with 2/3 cups of low-fat yogurt and 1/3 cup of milk. This will give your pancakes a fluffy texture. You can also use whole-grain wheat flour for a healthier breakfast.
Got Some Batter and Leftover Pancakes? No Worries!
Let’s face it. Home cooks make meals on an industrial scale. While most of them are enjoyed by the gang, many are left for waste. Making pancakes is no different. We often make a massive amount of batter and then cry over the left one. Instead of wasting the batter, there are smart ways to save it for later use.
1. Refrigerate It For The Next Day
Of course, all the leavening material will be gone by the next day, which means that you will get flat pancakes instead of fluffy ones. You can fix this by adding baking powder before you start making pancakes again. For every 1-½ cup of leftover batter, add one teaspoon of baking powder. You will get fluffy pancakes again.
2. Freeze it
Eggs, flour, and milk usually last for three days in the refrigerator, but you can freeze them for longer preservation. Take out small portions of the leftover batter and fill freezer bags with them. Take out the bags according to your requirement and defrost them a day before using the batter. Make sure that you do not freeze it again after defrosting it once.
3. Use It as a Coating
The raw pancake batter is almost the same as the one used for deep frying chicken. Add herbs and some spices, and your batter is good to go.
4. Share it With Your Dog
Not exactly a healthy treat, but you can add your pet dog’s favorite food in the batter and feed that to him. Just make sure that the batter does not contain any chocolate or blueberries.
5. Reuse it
Apart from making pancakes, there are many ways to use this batter. Read on to know what we’re talking about.
Already Made a Lot of Pancakes? We’ve Got You
The possibilities are endless with something as versatile as pancakes and pancake batter. Turn those sad-looking leftover pancakes into an exotic breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. You will be surprised to know how much everyone will love your creativity.
1. Pancake French Toasts
A classic breakfast item loved by everyone. Regular pancakes can be transformed into French toasts by merely treating them as bread. Dip your pancake in a mixture of eggs, sugar, and cinnamon and fry them until golden. Serve them with berries and your favorite syrup.
2. Savory Wraps
Pancakes are great to add fillings and roll them. Take your leftover pancakes and spread your favorite sandwich fillings – chicken, veggies, and sauces. Wrap and enjoy it for lunch.
3. Italian Pasta
Use the pancakes just how you would use lasagna sheets. Spread them in a baking dish, generously spread tomato sauce, add cheese and meat, load it with veggies and bake it till nice and golden. This can be served as a core item of a dinner menu.
4. Pancake “Cakes”
The batter is literally for cakes. What’s stopping you from layering a bunch of pancakes and frosting them? Devour this multilayer pancake “cake” with a frosting of your choice. It can complement beautifully with a nice cup of tea.
5. Pancake Bread & Butter Pudding
For this easy and delicious dessert, cut your pancakes into smaller pieces and assemble them in a deep dish. Pour your custard on it and add your toppings such as raisins and chocolate chips. Bake in an oven on low heat (160-180° F) for about 30 minutes.
6. Pancake Shake
Make yogurt or milk-based shake out of your leftover pancakes and add maple syrup for an extra sweet taste.
7. Sweet Sandwiches
Instead of bread slices, make sandwiches out of pancakes. Make it sweet by spreading Nutella or jam between the pancakes or make it a classic grilled cheese. The sky is the limit.
8. Pancake Taco
Why bother making taco shells from scratch when you can use your leftover pancakes for the same purpose. Fill your pancakes with fillings of a regular taco and drizzle all your sauces. Your pancake taco is ready to be devoured.
Food is a way to unite people. Fresh food consumed at tables comes from a long process of growth and nurturing. Therefore, it should be loved and valued.
Wasting a leftover food item, such as pancakes, is easy – you probably won’t even remember it after a day or two. But if you use it smartly, you can create so many beautiful dishes from the same ingredients. Why not make your kids happy by feeding them a pancake sandwich instead of a regular one? Surprise your grandma with a lovely, easy-to-chew pancake pudding on her birthday. There are so many ways to save food – all we have to do is make a start.