But there's one caveat to this: you really should make them from scratch. I know, I know, using a mix seems easier. A couple cups of mix, maybe an egg, and some water. But those mix-made pancakes just don't taste as good. Plus, you can make your own from-scratch recipe for less money. Enter my new feature: Homemade vs. Pre-made. Every so often, I'm going to feature a comparison between the store-bought mix or frozen food (we will refer to it as the product-that-shall-not-be-named) and my from-scratch recipe. Call me biased, but I think my version is always better. So, I thought it would be appropriate to start the feature with the mother of all mixes.
I don't in any way mean to come down on this generations-old product. Many of you may have grown up with it. And that's totally fine. For a mix, it's pretty good. It's convenient and doesn't have have any super weird ingredients (you know, the unpronounceable ones with a few x's and y's in the word), but it does have one villain ingredient: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/Or Cottonseed Oil. Everyone should be aware of this ingredient because it equals trans fat (the nutrition label says it has 1.5 grams trans fat per serving). Plus, cottonseed oil is a red flag to me. I avoid anything with these ingredients (which is why I haven't used shortening at all in 2009 - that's one one new year's resolution kept!).
You can make your own mix for very little money and at very little effort. It is so easy, so versatile, and, most importantly, so delicious. I always make a big batch of this pancake mix so whenever the urge for pancakes arises (Saturday is always pancake day at my house), I can whip up a pile of pancakes a few minutes. It's definitely a staple in my kitchen.
Here's the pancake mix recipe (I have to give credit where it's due: I got this from Everyday Food magazine. Here's the link for the basic recipe, some variations, and further instruction.):
3 cups of flourAccording to the recipe, this is enough mix to make 12 servings of 3-4 pancakes per person. I don't know about you, but whenever I make a recipe, the yield is always off. So, just use these numbers as a guideline. Also, I always at least double this recipe. As long as your container is airtight and is kept in a cool, dry place, it'll last for a while. I've even made a huge batch of this stuff and have taken it camping.
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Whisk together and store in an airtight container.
On top of my storage container, I've taped a piece of paper. This has the rest of the ingredients and amounts needed to make a batch of pancakes. This way, I don't have to search through my files and cookbooks to find the recipe.
To make the pancakes with the mix (this supposedly makes four servings worth - again, whenever I make things, the yield is always a little less. I guess it depends on the pancake size):
Place 1 1/4 cups mix in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together:
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or oil (Use the butter.)
1 large egg
Add wet mixture to dry mix and whisk just to combine. Do not overmix - the batter should be lumpy. On a hot skillet or griddle, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of batter and use the spoon to make a nice circle shape. Cook for a couple minutes, until you see some bubbles appear, and then flip. Let the other side brown for a couple minutes more.Just say no to the store-bought mix. You'll be surprised at how easy this is. You won't go back. And then you can use the money you'll save and splurge for some real maple syrup.
Enjoy your National Pancake Day festivities!