Most of us think of pancakes as something you’d make for yourself or your kids on a Saturday or Sunday morning, when there’s no need to rush to get dressed, when a marathon Netflix binge is not out of the question. But you can still enjoy pancakes even if you have to be somewhere for a 9 a.m. meeting. OK, you may need to get up 15 minutes earlier to get out the door in time — but it’s worth the trade-off.
It’s amazing how quickly you can whip up this batter — and you can keep it refrigerated for a couple of days before making the pancakes. You can also mix the dry ingredients to store indefinitely (this is, essentially, pancake mix); just add eggs and milk when you’re ready to cook.
I also have a few tips for a super smooth (and still fast) pancake-making session. First, use a nonstick griddle or skillet, or well-seasoned cast iron to minimize butter or oil. Heat until a few drops of water skid across the surface before evaporating. Ladle the pancakes onto the griddle with enough room in between for turning.
The edges of the pancake will set first; when the bubbles appear in the center of the pancake and the bottom is golden brown, it’s ready to flip. Serve the pancakes immediately, if possible — that’s when they are best. And melt the butter and gently heat the maple syrup or whatever topping you’re using — the microwave does a good job here.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
1 ½ to 2 cups milk
2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter (optional), plus unmelted butter for cooking, or use neutral oil
Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Beat eggs into 1 1/2 cups milk, then stir in 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter, if using it. Gently stir this mixture into dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten flour; don’t worry about a few lumps. If batter seems thick, add a little more milk.
Place a teaspoon or 2 of butter or oil on griddle or skillet. When butter foam subsides or oil shimmers, ladle batter onto griddle or skillet, making pancakes of any size you like. Adjust heat as necessary; usually, first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. Flip pancakes after bubbles rise to surface and bottoms brown, after 2 to 4 minutes.
Cook until second side is lightly browned. Serve, or hold on an ovenproof plate in a 200-degree oven for up to 15 minutes.
— From the revised 20th anniversary edition of “How to Cook Everything.”