Hotcakes. Flapjacks. Pannekoeken. Crepes. Johnny Cakes. Call them what you will, these brunch beauts are darn delicious.
I like my pancakes crisp, crunchy and golden on the outside and soft on the inside. And I like them small, no bigger than my palm. None of this giant fluffy cakey business you get in a grand slam breakfast.
I have come to know through trial and error that the secret to a crispy-on-the-outside pancake is to cook it over medium to high heat, in a cast-iron skillet, using a butter/oil mixture. The butter ensures that golden crispy crust and the oil reduces the amount of smoke coming off the pan, essentially raising the burning temperature of the butter.
I usually set up a pancake station as follows: I preheat the oven to 275 F and place a pizza pan (the kind with the holes) inside. I have my skillet on the stovetop, ready at perfect medium-high temperature. I have a stick of butter and my canola oil on one side, and my bowl of batter on the other. I have my flipper at the ready, and a 1/4 cup measuring cup on standby.
Working quickly, I drizzle a small amount of oil in the pan, then a little tiny chunk of butter. I let it sizzle and spread it around. Then, I plop 1/4 cup of my batter into the middle and even it out carefully. I watch it closely. When bubbles pop on the surface, flip! over it goes. The bottom should be golden brown. I give the second side about a minute, then it is popped into the oven onto the pizza tray. The holes in the tray prevent the pancake from getting soggy on the bottom.
I repeat this process, one at a time, until I have a pizza pan with plenty of pancakes. I lay them out in a single layer to retain the crispness. I know, it seems silly to do them one at a time, but when cooked in this method they cook quickly so it doesn’t really take that long. And when you are seeking pancake perfection, each one needs personal attention.
I find the cornmeal in the batter helps give the pancakes that extra crispyness and prevents cake-ifying. I found a great recipe on the Pioneer Woman‘s blog (where else) that has been my go-to pancake resource.
A little bit of butter, a drizzle of maple syrup, and you will be babbling with brunchful bliss.
Uh oh, can you see who is lurking in the background there? Hoping I will turn my back for a second so he can abscond with my vittles? Fat chance!
So, will you try cornmeal pancakes next time? I promise, you won’t be disappointed!