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applesauce cake

adapted from Gale Gand's Applesauce Cake 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light), ...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

fluffy, ultra-light pancakes

this pancake batter relies heavily on the interaction between acidic buttermilk and alkaline baking soda for leavening, so it needs to be cooked right away. also, the batter will puff up a bit in the bowl, so be sure to leave a little room for that! they will come out light and tender, like clouds, with slightly crisp edges.

makes approximately 10 pancakes, depending on size

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 cups buttermilk (stir, but don't shake before measuring! if you shake it, it gets bubbly and doesn't measure right)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (less if you're using fine salt -- try 1/2 teaspoon to start)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (measured by spooning the flour into the cup measure and leveling off with a knife -- how you measure the flour is very important! don't dip the measure into the flour and level off -- you'll get a lot more flour and the batter will be too thick)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

either pour the melted butter into a medium-large bowl for the batter, or microwave the butter in the bowl to melt it. whisk in the buttermilk, then the eggs, sugar and salt. pour in all the flour, baking powder, and baking soda at once, then whisk in. the batter will form bubbles and foam up a bit -- don't over-mix! you don't want to lose the bubbles. a few lumps are fine. do evaluate the batter to see if it's the right consistency -- add a bit more buttermilk or regular milk if you need to thin it.

to cook your pancakes, heat a griddle or skillet (I like to do two at a time; you do what works best for you!) over medium heat. quickly run the end of a stick of butter over the surface of the hot skillet -- you don't want a lot in there, just a bit. it should foam up immediately, but not burn (adjust the heat if needed). add a scoop of batter (1/2 cup to 2/3 cup per pancake is what I do) and let pancake cook until the edges are set, the bubbles near the edges are set and open at the top, and you can see bubbles throughout the whole pancake. flip with a spatula and check how brown the surface is -- adjust heat if needed. allow the second side to cook for around 1 minute -- to check for doneness, lightly press the edges and middle of the pancake to see if it springs back a bit. if it does, it's done. remove from skillet to a plate, butter the skillet again and continue cooking, stacking them up until you've finished the batter. relax and enjoy with a bit of maple syrup and fresh fruit.