The joy of pancakes

24 Mar

I didn’t post about pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, aka stuff your face full of pancakes day.  (Although: we did.)  But this morning when I woke up at 5am — I’ll tell you about my ongoing love/hate relationship with the sun later —  it just seemed natural to make up a batch of our favorite pancakes.

Here’s a not-so-secret secret: my favorite cookbook is the Joy of Cooking.  When my great aunt passed away she left a house full of odds and ends, and somehow I ended up with her well-loved edition of the Joy of Cooking.  I must have been a pre-teen at the time, with no particular thought for cooking, much less the “joy of”.  But here I am, thirty-some years later, having brought this cookbook with me from state to state to country to country.  It’s my go-to for everything from how to skin a rabbit (seriously, see page 514) to how to make classic french sauces to how to develop a menu to, well, pancakes.  So here you are, courtesy of Irma Rombauer and M’tante Lucy:

Sift before measuring:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Resift with:
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 or 2 slightly beaten whole eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 to 1 1/4 cups milk
Mix the liquid ingredients quickly into the dry ingredients.  [Here the recipe directs you to see the page — yes there is a whole page — on testing the griddle and cooking the cakes.  I’m going to hope you can figure that out, or find a copy of this lovely classic for yourself.]  This recipe makes about fourteen 4-inch cakes, and suggests serving with sausages and syrup.

Being who I am, I modify the recipe a bit.  A bit of lemon juice for a certain yummy tenderness, some vanilla extract for that delicious aroma, and, depending on mood, maybe some cinnamon.  I’ll also replace the all-purpose flour with bread flour for some extra poof, or replace some of the flour with whole wheat or whole grain flour for extra bite.  And here you go:

What could be better for a lazy, sunny Saturday morning?  We had ours with local bacon, confectioner’s sugar, and big cups of tea (for me) and hot chocolate (for the kids).  Now that’s some joy.  Happy weekend!


8 Responses to “The joy of pancakes”

  1. Erin March 24, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    OMG The Joy of cooking, YES! My mom has a beaten up old one I learned to cook with. When I moved out on my own I bought my own, now its “well loved”. I really like how it has how to steps for idiots, (how to bake a potato) to thinks like making gravy you may have forgotten from last thanksgiving. I especially like the meat cook times and temperatures. I think when my kids move out I might buy a copy for them I think it’s a must have in the kitchen!

    • Monique March 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Yes, I completely agree! There’s never any need to fear when a copy of JOY is near — no matter what strange ingredient crawls up on to the kitchen counter — even a potato. =) I have other cookbooks but this one is like the backbone of the kitchen.

  2. our cutting board March 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Great post! It’s always good to hear multi-generational JOY stories. What edition do you have? Sounds like a 1946 or 1953.

    • Monique March 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

      Not nearly so old, but still loved! I also have a 75th anniversary edition but it just doesn’t have the same soul.

  3. Zazzy March 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    They look absolutely delicious! I love pancakes and I very rarely eat them. I think I’ll put these on my “treat” list, since I’m currently cutting way back on the carbs. I am, by the way, opposed to pouring syrup all over pancakes or waffles so your powdered sugar looks especially good.

    And “How to Make Everything” is also a good go-to book if you’re not already carting enough books around with you.

    • Monique March 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      You know, every time I make these I only end up getting to eat one or maybe two … make them for friends and spread the carbs around. 😉 I admit I’m not opposed to syrup but I’ll only accept the real stuff, which is harder to get here in the UK. I haven’t seen that cookbook, thanks for the tip!

  4. lizzybradbury March 26, 2012 at 7:17 am #


  5. satnavandcider March 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Mmmmm….pancakes! (a la Homer Simpson). How could you possibly eat only one or two? Thanks for sharing your modifications. I’ll have to try them out.

    I am a purist, too. I only use real maple syrup, but I dip rather than pour so as not to ruin the fluffy pancake texture. I bought a large jug of maple syrup at Costco in November and it’s already gone 😦

    My go-to cookbook is also the Joy of Cooking. I wanted my mom’s copy, but she wasn’t finished with it, so I bought my own. I guess it’s my mom’s go-to cookbook, too.

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