By Carl Weiss
|Image courtesy of Wikimedia|
If you're like most Americans, you get your pancakes from a box. This is a pity, since pancakes are one of the easiest recipes to make from scratch. All it takes is 1 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, a teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, a 1/4 cup of oil (never use butter), an egg and 1 cup of milk and you can make a half-dozen fluffy homemade pancakes. That's all there is to it.
Want to make one pancake that can feed the entire family? Try my Apple Puff Pancake recipe. Start off by coring, peeling and slicing up an apple or 2. Sweat them in a little apple cider and cinnamon until they soften. Then take them out of the pan and set aside. In an oven-safe baking dish or souffle pan spray a little nonstick spray. Then fir up the oven to 425 degrees. In a blender combine 1 and ½ cups of milk, a ½ tsp of vanilla, pinch of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of honey or sugar, a pinch of salt, 5 eggs and 1 cup of flour. Layer the cooked apples on the bottom of the baking dish and pour the batter over this. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes until the mixture puffs up and browns. Remove from the oven, slice and serve with maple syrup.
Putting the Cake in Pancakes
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However, that's not where you need to stop. In fact, if you insist on using a box mix, toss out the Bisquick and substitute Duncan Hines cake mix. That's right, you can turn a box cake into pancakes. Here's how you do it: Take 1 cup of box mix (my favorites are lemon or pineapple), add a third of a cup of flour, a 1/4 cup of oil, one egg and a cup of milk. Stir until blended, then pour and cook for a minute and a half per side. These pancakes will knock your socks off. The best thing is if you only use 1 cup of mix you still have enough in the box to bake a cake.
Variation on a Theme
Feeling French? Then try a variation on the pancake theme by making crepes. Starting with a similar recipe to standard pancakes, but add 2 eggs instead of 1 and 1 and 1/2 cups of milk instead of 1. And eliminate the baking powder. What you have is a runny version of pancake batter. I usually make my crepe batter in the blender. Then I refrigerate it for an hour before use. This helps eliminate the bubbles from the mixture that tend to make the crepes more likely to break. The trick to cooking picture perfect crepes is to heat up the pan, then apply a quick shot of cooking spray. Pour enough batter to form a thin coating, then cook for no more than 1 minute. Carefully use your spatula to loosen the crepe and flip. The second crepe will not require any additional cooking spray.
|Image courtesy of Pixabay|
The cool thing about crepes is you can make them for dinner or dessert. There is nothing better than a crepe warm from the pan spread with a thin coating of jam, then rolled up. What could be simpler. Want to go a bit fancier? Fill the center of the crepe with fruit (strawberries, blueberries and/or blackberries work well). Then add a couple of tablespoons of whipped cream and fold before serving. Yum!
Have some leftover stew, Kung Pao shrimp or Chicken ala King? Don’t toss them away. Recycle them. Putting leftovers in crepes takes it from garbage to gourmet. Nobody in your household will complain about eating leftovers again.
Want to dress up chicken tenders. Below is a recipe for quick and easy Chicken Pesto Crepes
1 pound of chicken tenders or boneless breast sliced thin
1 block of cream cheese
¼ cup of pesto
Let the cream cheese sit out until it softens, then combine it with the pesto until smooth. Take a crepe and layer it thinly with chicken and spinach, then top this with a couple of tablespoons of the pesto-cheese sauce. Fold and serve.
You can also substitute crepes for wraps to make wonderful sandwiches.
The beauty of pancakes and crepes is that they are quick and easy to make that it is a shame to have to resort to a box mix to make them. The next time you are in a rush to make a meal, take pity on the pancake and turn breakfast, dinner or dessert into a party on a plate. Your taste buds will thank you.
To see more recipes and videos, go to Man Cave Munchies