Somehow the invention of Bisquick has led several generations, including to a large extent my own, to the conclusion that pancakes are a mysterious and magical food that cannot be made without a yellow box. I have said out loud to my family (in times past, I promise) “No, we cannot have pancakes because we do not have any Bisquick.” Fast forward.
Bisquick has its place in the world, but you aren’t livin’ if you aren’t routinely making homemade pancakes. And, they are easy. Besides which, baking mixes are nothing but flour, baking powder, and salt with a fat, like shortening, cut into it. If you are hanging out with me much, you most likely have at least the flour, baking powder and salt…and I’m not using shortening in pancakes for love nor money. So what am I using? Cottage cheese. It sounds weird but try it. Plus, cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein, and given that I use both cottage cheese and milk, not a bad source of calcium either. It ain’t health food friends…but it could be worse. Someone recently told me on PIE’s Facebook page that sour cream is also great in pancakes. I’ll definitely give that a whirl one of these days.
For now, though, let me tell you about cottage cheese pancakes. They taste as good as regular pancakes (perhaps better) and they have a nice soufflé-like texture. The curds might strike you as unattractive but I suggest that you deal with that in therapy, because I tried a batch with the curds whizzed into the batter with a hand blender, and it is not as good. You must keep an eye on your griddle heat though and adjust accordingly because the curds burn more readily than the rest of the batter. However, if you pay attention it is not an issue.
1) Serve them immediately. Do not put them in the oven to keep warm or try to make 100 for a crowd to be served in some big ridiculous catering pan. I don’t care if you get to play with sterno, I still will not endorse serving pancakes made more than 3 minutes earlier. Pancakes are a short order business. Man your griddle and serve your lucky guests one or two at a time. Or (my mom can do this but I don’t know if I can) put 4 griddles on your stove-top at one time, grab two spatulas and go for 16 cakes at a time. But don’t make them ahead of time.
2) Buy real maple syrup. Period. I buy mine from real people on real farms in Vermont. This tastes better…much better. I also want all of us to do a better job of appreciating the bounty of this country. Is this costly? Sort of. It costs money to ship a half a gallon of syrup from Maine or Vermont or Pennsylvania (or Canada). It is worth it. And you get to meet really nice people. I have now ordered maple syrup (and maple sugar) directly from the Isham Family Farm, the Sugartree Farm, and Hamilton Maple Products. And, now that you are paying up for real maple syrup, go ahead and have them throw in some maple sugar too. That will allow you to make Oatmeal Pecan Maple Coconut Cookies, Chocolate Chip Maple Shortbread, and breakfast oatmeal covered in maple syrup, maple sugar and chopped pecans. I love oatmeal that way and you will, too. I’m all excited now. The syrup on the pancakes in the photo is 100% real maple syrup from the Ishams in Williston, Vermont. If you order from Sugartree, make sure you ask Amy to send you a few pieces of maple candy, as well. So very delicious.
Mix the eggs, cottage cheese, vanilla, and milk in a bowl. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Heat a griddle over medium heat. Spray the griddle with non-stick cooking spray. Using a small measuring cup, pour batter for four pancakes on the griddle. Allow the batter to cook several minutes until the underside of the pancakes are golden brown. Carefully turn the pancakes with a spatula and allow them to cook on the second side until golden brown. Remove pancakes to warm plates. Repeat the process until everyone is rubbing their bellies and suggesting a nap.