But, for those of us with little to no regard for tradition or our waistlines on Pancake Day - let's commence! I should point out at this point that these super fluffy pancakes are also low in fat thanks to the (about to be not so) top secret ingredient which gives them all their fluffy goodness. Read on for the recipe and more mouth-watering-inducing photos.
Yoghurt. That's the secret ingredient, instead of using butter I use lovely, low fat natural greek-style yoghurt. The acidity of the yoghurt reacts with the active ingredients in the baking powder and creates a rising agent which is where all those lovely, fluffy bubbles come from (yes I do my research). Not only does this make for an extra fluffy, extra delicious pancake, but it means that they're low fat too so there's less to feel guilty about.
Ingredients (makes six large pancakes):
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 large eggs
1 cup nonfat greek yoghurt (you can use the fat kind if you wish)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 'flavouring' because us bakers all know 'extract' can be £££, pod seeds if you're posh)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoon of warm water
To Top (optional):
maple syrup (as much as you wish - 1/2 a cup if you're normal, the entire jar if you're me)
blueberries (because they're healthy so they cancel out the calories. P.S. they don't - but we can pretend)
yoghurt (I don't actually put this on top of my pancakes but according to Pinterest some people do and it looks pretty so I thought what the hell)
Nutella (cult fave, can't go wrong)
lemon (to appease the part of you that kinda wanted crepes but lost out to the greedy part that wanted bigger pancakes)
sugar (even I draw the line and putting straight-up sugar on these but hey, no judgement)
Mix. Okay, other recipes may suggest mixing the wet ingredients together first and then whisking them, bit by bit, into the dry ingredients for a smooth, silky batter. If you're determined to get those golden, one-colour pancakes like the ones you can buy from the supermarket then by all means go ahead and do this now. If, however, like me you are more focused on the ultimate in taste sensation then I recommend that you ignore this and just mix all of the ingredients together right away because a) it's just easier and ain't nobody got time for all that 'bit by bit' lark and b) this actually helps to trap air into the mixture which will make for a super light and fluffy pancake. Vigorously whisking the batter will make them look pretty yes, but they will ultimately come out flatter as you will have knocked all of the air out of them.
If you choose to do it
Heat your pan. Put your frying pan on medium heat and leave it to warm up. I have an electric cooker and use mark 6 (out of 9) for cooking pancakes. Once your pan is starting to warm, add some oil. Now, don't try to be clever like I did and only add a tiny spritz of oil or your pancake will come out like this.
My first attempt. I forget and do it ever single year (clearly I am an inherent smart-ass) but maybe now that I have a blog post on my own recipe I will get it right first time. No, you instead need plenty of oil so that the pancake batter doesn't stick to the pan and you don't end up with a gooey, sticky mess. A tablespoon for each pancake should do and make sure to spread it across the pan. Once the oil is warm, spoon in your batter. It should sizzle a little when you plop it in. If it doesn't, let the oil warm a bit longer for the next pancake or try turning the heat up a little.
Cook and flip.
You'll know that your pancake is ready to flip when bubbles start to appear on the topside and the underside is a golden colour. Feeling brave? Go ahead and go for the old air toss, remembering all the while that there is hot oil in the pan so you should hold it away from you. I like to play it safe and use a spatula - I don't take risks that could come between my stomach and food. Cook until golden on the other side. Go on, sneak a peek. Once ready, remove the pancake and then repeat from step one until you have a full stack. Nom.
Garnish. This one is a stylistic selection, purely down to personal preference and, often, mood. Today I went for bacon and syrup. Perhaps tomorrow I'll spring for warm chopped fruit and syrup. Peach slices are a personal favourite of mine. Oh my god, yes, I am soooo getting peaches on the way home tomorrow. SO glad I thought of that! Whatever your combo of choice, maple syrup is always a good idea.
Devour and enjoy.
Quick Tip: Once cooked, eat these right away while they're still fresh. If you leave them in the fridge overnight (like I did before photographing them for this post - d'oh), some of the air will seep out and they'll lose some of that airy, fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth lightness that you're so desperately seeking.
Now, I'd love to claim that, having never cooked a pancake before, I one day took a wild guess at all of the ingredients needed and got it correct - but I'd be lying. Like with most recipes, I researched lots of different versions, did a series of taste tests (strictly necessary of course) and made a hybrid recipe using the best bits of each (in my opinion) with some things tweaked, added and omitted along the way. I believe in giving credit where credit is due so, if you'd like to see where I got the basis of my recipe, Ambitious Kitchen is the one I took the most influence from (though I like to think that mine is the improved, 2.0 version with extra fluffy batter - thanks to the self-raising flour and warm water - and extra syrupy pancakes - thanks to, well, the extra syrup in them tehe). FYI I also omitted the baking soda, fruit and all that smoothing from this recipe as I found them to be unnecessary.
If you love delicious, easy, baking recipes then remember to bookmark this blog! These melt in the mouth, soft fluffy, American-style pancakes are only the second most delicious thing I'll be posting this week... Hint: the most delicious one involves Nutella. Watch this space!
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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x