Scratch pancakes

I grew up on Bisquick, as I am sure many of us did. Much of the baking my mom did came from a box. Cakes came from no where else, and as April 23rd neared each year my tiny mouth salivated in anticipation of my birthday cake, always cherry chip with pink cherry frosting from the can.

Pancakes came from the same place, a box. So it was quite a revelation when, in high school someone told me her mom made real pancakes, from scratch. I suppose somewhere, I knew pancakes could be made with more than the magic powder in the yellow Bisquick box. Well, logically I could have made the connection, but I never had.

These days, I can hardly fathom not making pancakes from scratch. Bisquick has long since been a part of my pantry, along with other boxes like cake mix and pudding. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the box or those who choose to balance their lives and make their weekend pancakes and birthday cakes from such a source.

However, as my cooking career grew, and I learned to make pancakes from scratch, I learned also that it’s really easy. It’s not that mixing pancakes from scratch is difficult, the box is just really convenient. It can sit in your cupboard for an extended period of time, until the urge for pancakes (or waffles or biscuits or scones or……) strikes. It lies in wait for a simple addition of water and presto! Pancakes.

Pancakes from scratch will require that you have some staple ingredients on hand, flour, sugar, and leavening, and also require your fridge has been stocked with eggs, butter, and milk or buttermilk. Either that or a special trip to collect the list of ingredients.

You also have to measure a handful of ingredients, and sometimes, just after waking and before coffee has fully taken hold, this can be a big effort. But take my word for it, a bonafide coffee addict and someone who is definitely not a morning person, this effort is well worth it.

The flavor of “real” pancakes far surpasses anything made from Bisquick, or any other pancake mix out there. Particularly as you increase the quality of those ingredients mixed in the batter. Organic whole milk, good vanilla, Plugra butter, king arthur flour, rich farm eggs, raw sugar, these all help to make your pancakes, well all your baked goods for that matter, truly stand out.

Currently I am completely taken with a pancake recipe from Veil. When we opened for brunch a couple of months ago (duck confit hash! My buttermilk biscuits in a light sour cream sausage gravy! Killer Bloody Marys and Mimosas!), I was introduced to Ricotta Flapjacks. Moist and rich with ricotta, these flapjacks are lightened with whipped egg whites and seasoned with fresh grated nutmeg. One bite, and I was swooning, dunking the warm spiced disks in the blueberry and star anise compote that is served along side. Fortunately for me, it took making a few pancakes to adjust the griddle properly the first day, and I was a little tipsy, so taken with these flapjacks I was.

These flapjacks welcomed my cyclists today, warm and steaming in tall stacks as they came to breakfast from their early morning core stability class, and I believe more than a few are as taken with these pancakes as I am.

The recipe follows, and makes about 40- 5 inch pancakes, plenty to feed a group. But if you wake up like I do, groggy and not in the mood to measure, melt, separate eggs, whip whites, come over to Veil on Saturday or Sunday and let us make them for you.

Veil’s Ricotta Flapjacks

4 cups flour

1 c sugar

5 tsp bk. pow

1 1/2 tsp bk. soda

1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

1/2 tsp salt

3 c milk

3 c ricotta

4 oz melted butter (one stick)

2 tb. vanilla extract

5 eggs, separated

1. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together and set aside.

2. In a large bowl mix the milk, ricotta, melted butter, vanilla, and egg yolks until smooth and even.

3. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture.

4. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the batter. If you are using an electeric mixer be careful not to overwhip the whites.

5. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake in a skillet or griddle preheated at a medium low heat and lightly greased.

5 Responses to “Scratch pancakes”

  1. Ken Jackson says:

    Hi! I made pancakes for the UK traditional Shrove Tuesday, on the 5th February. I make my own recipe for fluffy pancakes.
    6oz All purpose flour
    2 Tablespoons of sugar
    2 Teaspoons of baking powder
    1/2 Teaspoonbful of salt
    Half a pint if milk.
    1 Large egg.
    A half teaspoonful of Vanilla Essence.

    Sift dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle add the milk, vanilla and the beaten egg. Beat tto amalgamate all the ingredients. Don’t worry about a few lumps. They will disappear during the cooking process.
    Put a little oil into a pancake pan, heat till smoking slightly. Drop quater cupfulls of batter in the pan and twirl the pan to distribute the batter to make a nice flat pancake. Cook until bubbles disaappear then flip and cook until golden brown

    I sure like the sound of your pancakes, I must come and try some when next I am in Seattle. Wth my friends Mr and Mrs David Cowles.

    Thanks for the recipe.

    Ken Jackson.

  2. Jim says:

    If I wanted to halve this recipe; what would I do with the eggs?

    Thanks in advance!

  3. dana says:

    Ken- Thanks for the recipe, it looks like a good standard pancake recipe. And do come in when you are this side of the pond!

    Jim- I would use 3 eggs if halving the recipe

  4. ZoƩ says:

    Your recipe reminds me of one I used to make from the Vegetarian Epicure, Vol 1 (if my memory serves me), only she used cottage cheese and I believe, not the yolks- light and scrump!

  5. sstadnicki says:


    …but seriously. :-) Having finally gotten out to Veil last weekend and tried the ricotta pancakes (wonderful, although for me the real revelation was the oatmeal ‘risotto’ — where’s my recipe for *that*? :-), I couldn’t wait to give these a shot this morning. The star anise compote was a bit too strong for me, so I went with a simple blueberry syrup instead; they came out absolutely fantastic! I also had the ‘how do I halve 5 eggs’ issue, so I just two-fifth’d the recipe, more or less; 4 cups flour became a cup and a half, 3 cups milk turned into 1 1/4, etc. The one thing I discovered when making them was that they were much denser than the pancakes I usually made — I had to run the griddle (well, stovetop) distinctly cooler and spread them out thinner to make sure that they cooked through before the bottoms got too burnt. An easy enough adjustment, though, and hopefully I’ll remember it next time. Thank you so much for sharing this! They made my morning, and my SO’s too…

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