Growing up we had pancakes often on the weekends. I have loved them forever. We would have them plain or mix in blueberries when we had them or finely chopped apple pieces in the fall. I loved them every which way and still do. I have two kids, a son and a daughter, but only my son is pancake lover. My daughter loves to help me mix them up, and she enjoys the taste of the batter raw, but there her love stops. My son will never turn down the offer of freshly made pancakes for breakfast. When he was little he loved mini chocolate chips in them (ok, I have never really liked that combination so much). As he got older (he is 4 months shy of 13 now) he stopped wanting chocolate chips and wanted them plain. So that is where we are at now. Plain pancakes with pure maple syrup (Mrs. Butterworth's is not welcome here). It is part of my east coast upbringing again. We lived in maple country. I love the trees. I love the syrup. I love the candy, the butter, the sugar.....you get the idea. Maple flavored....I don't think so.
So on my quest to find the perfect pancakes I made several stops. I usually loved the stop I was on at any given time. Then I saw Alton Brown do a show on pancakes on the Food Network many years ago and the perfect pancake was found. Homemade pancakes have such pure flavor. When properly baked on the griddle they get a wonderfully toasty exterior which reveals a light and pillowy interior that just yearns to soak up butter and syrup. They are seriously fluffy, not rubbery and dense. I use a cast iron griddle on my stove to make them. It takes a while to heat it up, but it is my favorite griddle for pancakes. I just preheat it on low for a good 15 minutes and then pancake magic happens.That's when I get an almost lacy golden exterior on each pancake with just the very lightest whisper of a crackle to it. I also like to use a combination of regular milk and buttermilk so I get that nice tang from buttermilk, but it's a little mellower. The whole house smells so good while they are cooking, too. You just can't beat it!
adapted from Alton Brown
1 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 c. buttermilk*
1/4 c. milk*
1 egg, room temp (put it in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat your griddle (electric griddle 350 degrees F).
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk together.
3. Combine milks and heat for 30 seconds in microwave. Whisk in egg and vanilla.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the milks and immediately pour in melted butter.
5. Quickly whisk together to moisten all the ingredients, but don't over-mix. Some lumps are ok.
6. Sprinkle a few drops of water to see if griddle is ready. They will bounce about when griddle is hot. Grease griddle with butter or vegetable oil. Wipe off excess.
7. Pour batter onto griddle (I like to use a 1/4 c. measuring cup for this).
8. When edges start to set and a few bubbles appear on the edge, pancake is ready to flip. On my cast iron griddle this happens quickly. So keep on eye on yours.
9. Cook the second side which could take from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes depending on what your cooking implement is.
10. Serve 'em up with warm pure maple syrup and butter and get 'em while they're hot!
* Note: At altitudes hovering around 5,000 ft as I am, I find I need about 2 Tbsp more or so of milk and/or buttermilk for the right consistency.