As I’ve mentioned before, spring is my favorite time for making resolutions. Everything is new in spring! While we’re celebrating the Easter story and it’s significance in making changes and moving forward in our lives, it just feels like the right time to take a good look at life and make a few course corrections. And, of course, it’s my birthday, which means a beginning of a new year for me personally.
One of the little changes I’ve felt inspired to make this year is getting back to making real food for my family.
In a world of convenience and quick foods (and full-time jobs, and part-time school), it’s just so tempting to take the “easy” way out. Food is essential, and it deserves a little bit more attention and respect than I’ve been giving it lately. And real foods, made with love at home, are simply healthier for both mind and body.
So with that spring resolution in mind, you can imagine how thrilled I was at the opportunity to affiliate with Cook’s Illustrated! I’ve been a fan of America’s Test Kitchen on PBS for years, and their recipe magazines are gorgeous. I’m really excited to share some of my favorite things from their shows and websites with all of you.
Pancakes are a favorite at our house for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And snacks. In spring I especially like mine with whipped cream and berries as shown.
When I found the 100 Percent Whole-Wheat Pancakes recipe on Cook’s Illustrated I knew I had to try them. These were absolutely delicious, and quick too! The boys enjoyed their pancakes with butter and maple syrup. As you can see, I enjoyed mine with a bit of whipped cream and berries – in true spring style. Consider serving them for Easter breakfast.
Maybe you should practice a little before then.
Not because they’re difficult to make, but because you will want to taste them over and over again. With Cook’s Illustrated’s permission, I’m sharing the recipe below!
100 Percent Whole-Wheat Pancakes
Shared with permission of Cook’s Illustrated
2 cups (11 ounces) whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 ¼cups buttermilk
5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
INSTRUCTIONS – MAKES 15 PANCAKES
An electric griddle set at 350 degrees can be used in place of a skillet. If substituting buttermilk powder and water for fresh buttermilk, use only 2 cups of water to prevent the pancakes from being too wet. To ensure the best flavor, use either recently purchased whole-wheat flour or flour that has been stored in the freezer for less than 12 months. Serve with maple syrup and butter.
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Spray wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray; place in oven.
2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, 5 tablespoons oil, and eggs together in second medium bowl. Make well in center of flour mixture and pour in buttermilk mixture; whisk until smooth. (Mixture will be thick; do not add more buttermilk.)
3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film on bottom and sides of pan. Using 1/4-cup dry measuring cup or 2-ounce ladle, portion batter into pan in 3 places. Gently spread each portion into 4 1/2-inch round. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
4. Serve pancakes immediately or transfer to wire rack in oven. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining 1 teaspoon oil as necessary.
And as they are famous for, Cook’s Illustrated also answers some of the why’s behind this recipe’s success!
Go Ahead: Beat the Heck out of This Batter
Recipes for white-flour pancakes always warn against overmixing. That’s because it will create a strong, restrictive gluten network, and that makes for tough, dense cakes. But we discovered that the same rule doesn’t apply to pancakes made with whole-wheat flour for two reasons. The first is that cup for cup, whole-wheat flour has fewer gluten-forming proteins than white flour. Second, whole-wheat flour contains bran, which is sharp and will cut through gluten strands that do form. When the gluten strands are shorter, the gluten network is weakened and the pancakes become even more tender. (Courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated)
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! As I mentioned, I’ve recently become a Cook’s Illustrated partner and I’m absolutely in love with their sites. They test every recipe to perfection before publishing. They also share the science behind the success of their cooking techniques. It’s a great way to learn how cooking works, and is especially fun to explore with kids.
If you want to try them out, they have a 14-day free trial (just in time to entertain your kids with kitchen science for spring break)!