Tiny Pancakes Have More Flavor.

Tiny Pancakes Have More Flavor. January 9, 2013

Will you help me settle a matter of ongoing debate in our family?

First, confession: I do not really like pancakes. They are all right, I suppose, but unless they are dotted with chocolate chips, I can’t get excited about them. I know how that sounds: like I am a seven-year-old. So be it.

Now, further confession: I do like the pancakes that are known on New York diner menus as “silver dollar” pancakes.

via Sweetipie--from an actual NY diner!
via Sweetiepie–from an actual NY diner!

I cannot really explain why this would be. Perhaps it is because I have always loved miniature things–dollhouses, dioramas, model anything. I nearly teared up seeing the tiny Lego Obama family on the steps of the mini White House at Legoland, Florida, in October. Or perhaps it is because tiny pancakes have a lower center-to-edge ratio, and I really like the edges of pancakes better than the centers of pancakes. That sounds pretty scientific, actually. I’m going with that explanation the next time Dr. Stone tells me that there is no way tiny pancakes taste any different from the big ones.

But why don’t you help us decide? Here is my favorite pancake recipe, and here are a few Pancake Tips to help all your pancakes reach full Pancake Potential:

  • use pastry flour, especially if you want to use whole-wheat flour. Trader Joe’s has whole-wheat pastry flour that’s quite good. What you want is a low-gluten flour for maximum fluffiness and minimum toughness
  • blend all the wet ingredients really well before adding them to the dry ingredients
  • have the skillet/frying pan/griddle/whatever all ready to go before you mix the wet and dry ingredients so that they’re not standing, mixed, for any length of time before you’re ready to start cooking.
  • STIR AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. For real. When recipes say this, they mean it. The more you beat it, just beat it, the tougher your pancakes will be

Whew! Now for the recipe, which, in theory, serves 3-4, but which I double to feed our family of 2 adults and 2 children.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup milk PLUS 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice (mixed so that the milk curdles)

1 large egg, separated

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vegetable oil (for brushing griddle)

In a large bowl, combine (I always use a whisk for thorough combining action) flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
If you are one of those rare creatures who happens to keep buttermilk in the house, by all means, substitute buttermilk for the milk + lemon juice. Otherwise, mix the milk, lemon juice, egg, and melted butter, and set aside. Prepare the griddle by heating it over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles. Brush with a tiny amount of veggie oil.
Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls for normal-sized pancakes. Use a large-ish tablespoon (the eating kind, not the measuring kind) for silver dollars. Either way, flip the pancakes when they are dotted with bubbles and cook for about 1 minute more, adjusting cooking time–and heat–by the appearance of the pancakes. If they are browning too much before bubbles appear on top, reduce heat.
Not to skew the experiment or anything, but I’m still pretty sure the tiny ones have more flavor.
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