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TCP Kitchen

It’s Saturday Morning: Batter Up!

Pancakes and weekend mornings go together like, well, pancakes and syrup

Pancakes and weekend mornings just seem like a natural fit sometimes.

On occasional Saturday mornings during my childhood, I remember my mom standing at the stove—already having made bacon or sausage—cooking pancake after pancake on our old cast-iron skillet and serving them to family members sitting around the kitchen table.

Once everyone had eaten enough to swell their bellies, there would inevitably be enough batter for two or three—or five—more of those delicious golden discs, and I seemed to always be the one enlisted to finish them off. My skill as the human hotcake disposal earned me the nickname “The Great Gut” from my brother.

When I got a little older, I went from pancake devourer to cook, so I’d take my place at the griddle. Somehow, the results of my pancake efforts did not look as good as my mom’s. As much as I enjoy cooking—and, for the most part, I do it well—I still haven’t managed to get my pancake technique down perfectly.

But here are some things I’ve learned over the years:

• Mix batter with a fork or wire whisk until ingredients are just combined—take care not to overmix.

• Don’t get your griddle surface too hot, or the pancakes will scorch on the outside and be gummy on the inside. Medium-low heat usually works best. Before pouring the first pancake, make sure the surface is hot enough by adding a few drops of water. If the water sizzles, you’re ready to go.

• Have patience: Allow pancakes time to cook before the initial flip. (You’ll see bubbles on the surface burst open and not close, and the surface will look less shiny.)

• For prettier pancakes, use a pitcher with a spout to pour batter evenly round, and don’t crowd the cooking surface.

My pancake chef skills could still use improvement, but these days, when I’m in the mood for good ol’ fried batter for breakfast, I’ll most often break out the waffle iron.

Those breakfasts don’t happen as often as they used to. I’ve retired my title as The Great Gut, started running and lost more than 40 pounds in the process. But an occasional carb-heavy treat straight out of the waffle iron is worth adding a few extra laps around the neighborhood.

And when I’m in a really decadent mood, perhaps before a big Saturday of yard work, I dig out this recipe along with the waffle iron. I hope you enjoy these eggy, butter-rich, crispy—but not greasy—treats in moderation.

No Dieter’s Waffles

4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups buttermilk, divided
1 cup butter, melted

In large bowl, beat eggs slightly. In separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add half of dry ingredients and 1 cup buttermilk to eggs and mix with wire whisk. Follow with remaining dry ingredients and remaining buttermilk. Mix again. Add melted butter and mix until incorporated. Drop by 1/3 cupfuls onto waffle iron heated to a medium-high setting and greased with cooking spray. Regrease after every one or two waffles cooked.

Servings: 7. Serving size: 2 waffles. Per serving: 437 calories, 10 g protein, 28.1 g fat, 31.4 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 680 mg sodium, 4 g sugars, 181 mg cholesterol

March 2011 Recipe Contest