When it comes to classic staple breakfast foods, pancakes are hard to beat. Something about the pancake is ubiquitous with simple home-cooked foods that aren't amazingly healthy for us yet manage to satisfy sweet cravings better than anything short of a homemade batch of cookies. Good luck explaining the health benefits of starting your day off with snickerdoodles, though!
The absolute best thing about a pancake is how easily it can be adapted to take on new ingredients and twists while still following a base recipe. A no-frill basic pancake is still a delicious syrup or jam delivery device even without fancy add-ins, but taking the extra step and tossing in handfuls of fruit slices, nuts, chocolate chips or any number of stir-friendly and bite-sized tasty treats makes it even better. If you’re not a fan of sweets, you can always go for a healthier recipe, such as potato pancakes.
If you have a picky eater who prefers to skip breakfast, you might be surprised what the siren song of a freshly-cooked confectionery might do to change their stubborn mind. Again, the malleability of the pancake makes it even easier to tempt the choosy chomper into filling up before school. You can even recruit their help in making them! That's another beautiful thing about a pancake; making one can be as simple as whisking together a few ingredients and ladling it into a pan.
Using high-quality cookware is essential
Choosing the right cookware for the job is key to making a perfect pancake, so know what you'll be cooking in ahead of time. Nothing can ruin a potentially sticky food like an old, battered pan that has seen more wars than your entire family lineage!
Cleaning your pans after a nasty burn can keep their linings from falling to bits, but if you find your favorite cookware is in desperate need of replacement, going through a couple of Scanpan reviews and other opinions on top-shelf cooking implements might save you from another sticky situation.
Once you've sorted your vessel of choice it's time to start with the basics: An easily adaptable pancake recipe without fancy frills.
1. Basic pancake
There's no better place to start than a well-reviewed pancake recipe that's been vouched for by almost 10,000 people and counting. The ingredients and instructions are dead simple, simply requiring you to mix your dry and wet goods together separately before introducing them to the heat. Ladle the batter into a pan and cook until one side is browned, then flip and repeat the process. A good rule of thumb is to watch the bubbles that form once you've poured the batter; Once bubbles stop popping and instead leave small holes in the top of the batter, you might be in danger of overcooking your pancakes.
The best part about this recipe is how quickly you can spice it up, and the only limit is your imagination. Adding in finely-chopped fruits, nuts, chocolate chunks or nearly anything you can think of punches up this straightforward pancake recipe into something extra special.
If that's not enough, go for flavored extracts or cocoa powder added directly to the batter before cooking and see what crazy combinations you like best. Your kids will love the mad science aspect of making their own pancake and you'll enjoy serving up a breakfast they can mostly make by themselves.
But if you're looking for an idea on where to start with wild add-ins, why not try something seasonal?
2. Pumpkin spice pancake
This take on a pumpkin flavored pancake adds in a handful of spices to add a toasty pumpkin pie-style angle to the cakes, which is then offset with the slightly sweet addition of pumpkin puree.
The recipe as written serves four, but the average can of pumpkin puree can handle three or so batches of pumpkin pancake applications before running dry, so don't be afraid to bump up the recipe to meet your family's needs.
Feeling brave? Want something that barely resembles the pancake of old? Have a healthy love for cream cheese frosting and cinnamon? Good news, then!
3. Cinnamon roll pancake
This is just about as crazy as it gets. With three separate sub-recipes for the pancakes, the cinnamon mixture and the cream cheese frosting, you're not going to be leaving breakfast without an aching sweet tooth after this one.
Fans of conventional cinnamon rolls might appreciate the caramelization that goes into a pan-fried twist on the baked standby. Your children likely won't complain about how decadently sweet the cinnamon roll pancake is, either.
Ready to get cooking?
There's no excuse to avoid whipping up a batch of pancakes now and then. The flour may get all over the place and you might have to scrub a few pans if the cinnamon glaze gets out of hand, but there's nothing quite like cooking up a batch of smiles for the kids in your life. Showing them how to enjoy the world of culinary self-sufficiency is just icing on the cake, so to speak!