What's Going on Today: Up earlier, sun is brighter, playground more active - everything is better in springtime. Off to the farmer's market to pick up fresh veggies and all of my favorites from Ronnybrook Farm.
Naptime Goals: Make big batch of Pancake Mix for pancake breakfast on Saturday.
Tonight's Menu: Leftover Browned Butter Asparagus Risotto. Leftover Easter candy dessert.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: The bigger the stack of pancakes, the happier the kid.
Tonight there are delicious leftovers in the fridge for dinner so this afternoon I am going to use naptime to stock up on my pantry basics. There many times I do this throughout the year like when I make large batches of pesto, Apricot Jam, Meatballs or Tomato Sauce. It makes so much sense to make these delicious basics in bulk, that way I can always have them on hand instead of making them from scratch every time I need them. Furthermore, I enjoy making them, I am always excited to set aside a naptime or two each month to replenish my supplies.
Today I am making a fresh batch of homemade pancake mix. I know that there are a lot of Bisquick devotees out there, but I am not one of them. I prefer this homemade version to anything store-bought - plus it is much less expensive. I got the idea to add malt powder from my brother, the infamous Uncle Will. He spent a summer working in the kitchen at the Otesaga Hotel and had a chance to tap the Chef for many of his secrets. The key, he told Will, to delicious Belgian waffles and sweet pancakes is malt powder. We took his word for it, tried it in our parent's kitchen and, wouldn't you know it, Chef was right! The malt powder gives the pancakes a nice texture and slightly sweetened flavor, erasing any trace of flour or baking soda on the palate.
These days I make my pancake mix in a big batch and keep it in a glass jar with a scoop. This way we have it on hand anytime we need it. Some weekdays, when I have slept especially well, I do a pancake breakfast with my daughter. But, admittedly, I mostly do them on the weekends. The beauty of this pancake mix is that it keeps for several weeks so you can easily whip up a stack anytime you want.
I often take the traditional route when serving pancakes, opting for real butter and delicious homemade maple syrup. But, when I want to change it up I add a dash of almond extract and some lemon zest to the batter to give it lemon almond flavor. Recently I even topped a stack with creamy homemade ricotta and some fresh berries - it was delicious! Any way you like to eat them is fine with me, just make sure the maple syrup is real - not imitation. Also, I think pancakes are best eaten when everyone is still in their jammies.
Homemade Pancake Mix
4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c. malt powder (like Carnation or Horlick's)
1 t. cinnamon (optional)
3 T. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
2 T. sugar
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. Kosher salt
1. Mix all ingredients in a big bowl with a whisk. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
1 c. pancake mix (above)
1 c. whole or 2% milk
1 T. unsalted butter
1. On a skillet or wide, shallow sauce pan heat the butter over medium heat and swirl so that it covers the bottom of the pan.
2. Ladle the 1/3 c. of the batter into the pan and let it warm until bubble starts to show on the surface. Flip quickly with a thin spatula and allow to cook on the other side until golden brown. Serve hot.
Naptime Recipe Ideas and Variations: The key to this recipe is a malt powder. If you don't add it your mix may seem a little bland and basic. But, no matter how you make it, be sure to have fun dressing up the pancakes once their made. My favorite toppings are sliced fruits, maple syrup, fruit syrup and sweet cheeses like ricotta or mascarpone.
Naptime Stopwatch: Make the pancake mix takes all of 5 minutes! Making the batter and enjoying the pancakes takes about another 10 minutes.Naptime Reviews: My daughter adores pancakes, especially when they are cut up in little triangles that she can dip into a ramekin of warm syrup! My husband likes these too, often served with a side of bacon.