Here’s the secret of our pancakes. Neil discovered early on in the bakery’s existence that if he applied his French techniques — that is, you make a batter lighter by folding in whites — the batter gets lighter but retains the springy resiliency that makes for a proper pancake. Another key to magnificent pancakes is to avoid overmixing, which makes them tough.
A common mistake many cooks make is they don’t heat the griddle enough, which is why the first pancake is usually a dud. Make sure the griddle is very hot, then put the butter on. Use just enough so that the pancake doesn’t stick. Either a teaspoon or a tablespoon is fine.–DeDe Lahman
LC Better than Buttermilk Pancakes Note
We swoon to these ethereally light, slightly sweet, burnished brown hotcakes for many reasons, among them the lovely traits we just mentioned. Yet there’s another crucial reason to keep this quite memorable recipe from the venerable Clinton St. Baking Company handy–at least if you, like us, tend toward a little a.m. laziness. And it has everything to do with buttermilk–or rather, the lack thereof. We’ve got nothing against the slight tang buttermilk imparts to pancakes, although we do groan at the thought of running out to the market those mornings when the craving strikes and we’ve forgotten to replenish our stash of powdered buttermilk. The fact that this recipe relies on regular milk rather than buttermilk is just one more reason to love it. We don’t miss the buttermilk at all. Honestly.
Clinton St. Baking Company Pancakes Recipe
Hands-On Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes | Makes 18 to 20 3-inch pancakes
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, unmelted for the griddle and lots more for serving
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Maple syrup, for serving
- 1. Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl.
- 2. In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Slowly whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture just until combined. The resulting should be slightly lumpy yet still combined.
- 3. Whip the egg whites by hand with a whisk or in the bowl of an electric mixer until they reach medium peaks. You can whip them by hand with a whisk or place them in the bowl of an electric mixer. (Peaks are “soft” when you put your finger in the whites and they fall over. Peaks are “medium” when you put your finger in and they drip over a bit and stand up. “Stiff” peaks develop when you whip the whites longer and they stay up.) You don’t want to overwhip the egg whites.
- 4. Gently fold half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Then gently fold the remaining whites into the batter. Remember, this batter should be slightly lumpy and have large parts of egg whites not fully incorporated and should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top. (The batter will last a few hours in the fridge without deflating too much.)
- 5. Heat a griddle — either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat skillet — over medium to medium-low heat. Grease the hot surface with a teaspoon or so of the remaining butter. Drop 1/4 cup of pancake batter on the griddle. Now let it set. When you see bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crisp at the edges. If it is, flip the pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a plate with a spatula.
- 6. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, adding more butter to the griddle as needed and cooking several pancakes at a time. Serve immediately with ample butter and maple syrup.
- If desired, you can sprinkle 1 tablespoon fresh or frozen blueberries or a couple slices banana and 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts onto the pancakes before turning them. Never add the fruit to the batter; always add the fruit to the pancakes once they’re on the griddle. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar for the blueberry pancakes, cinnamon sugar for the banana-walnut.
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Clinton St. Baking Company Pancakes Recipe © 2010 DeDe Lahman. Photo © 2010 Michael Harlan Turkell. All rights reserved.