When my mother made pancakes, you knew it was a special occasion.
She’d pull out the heavy-duty stand mixer, separate the eggs and beat the whites until they were cloudlike, then fold them into a batter creamy with cottage cheese. The pancakes would puff when she fried them, each one a tiny, golden soufflé ready to be coated in maple syrup. They were delectable, but as rare as double rainbows: an occasional, birthday-special kind of treat.
My pancakes aren’t anything like hers.
For one thing, mine are easy, stirred by hand, with no stand mixer required. I don’t even need a whisk. A fork can get the job done, so I can make them anytime — not just on birthdays, but on lazy Sundays in that rustic summer rental, or whenever I get the craving for their crisp edges and a hearty side of bacon.
Where the ones my mother made were airy and tangy, these are buttery, hearty and deep in flavor. The combination of whole grains — whole-wheat flour, cornmeal and oats — gives these an appealing earthiness, along with a good shot of fiber and other nutrients. They’ll sustain you all morning, especially if you add blueberries, sliced peaches or other fruit.
[For more on pancakes, go to our How to Make Pancakes guide.]
If you want to embellish these, the best way to incorporate fruit — or chocolate chips, if you’re feeding small children (or sweet-toothed adults) — is to add it to the cakes while they’re cooking rather than mixing them into the batter.
You’ll want to drop the batter onto a hot pan, and let it cook for a few minutes to let the undersides firm up. When tiny bubbles appear on the pancakes’ surface, and just before you flip them, sprinkle on the fruit or chocolate chips. This keeps things tidy and lets you distribute the add-ons evenly. It also offers an opportunity to make chocolate chips into a happy face, should you want to amuse those sweet-toothed adults.
The batter itself is also adaptable. Feel free to adjust the ratio of the flours, or substitute some rye or buckwheat flour for all or part of the whole-wheat. I’ve also made these with coconut milk and coconut oil in place of the buttermilk and butter for the dairy averse in my life, and they’ve come out great.
This is a pancake recipe that’s reliably tasty, easy and forgiving — exactly what you need on any given Sunday morning.
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