Nonna’s Classic Pancake Recipe

Pancakes are the perfect weekend brunch food! I have been craving pancakes for almost a year and decided, gosh darn it, I’m going to make them. If you’re looking for the perfect pancake recipe, well, you’ve come to a place that has a pancake recipe.

When I was little and spent the night at my grandparents, my nonna would make us pancakes for breakfast. I’d watch, peering over the counter, as she assembled all the ingredients and mixed it all together in the bowl. Sometimes she’d even shape the pancakes into the letter “M” for Maria, and they always felt extra special. 

My parents never made pancakes from scratch. When we had pancakes at home, they would be from Aunt Jemima instant mix. The commercialization of racist iconography didn’t have quite the same feel of the flour-milk-egg-combo of my nonna’s recipe. She found the recipe from one of my dad’s home-ec classes back in the 70’s. It’s ironic because my dad has never made these pancakes more than once or twice, instead deferring to the steadfast assuredness of powdered pancake mix. I mean, to be fair, my family operates under the patriarchal customs in which the woman does most of the cooking, so like, my mom is the one toiling away at the stove on a Sunday morning, despite also working a forty-hour workweek. 

So how do you make these classic pancakes from my childhood?

Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt) and optional spices to a bowl. I added cinnamon and nutmeg for a little extra zip! In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (milk, egg, vanilla). I used a measuring cup to make clean-up easier but didn’t bother to measure out the milk properly. Also, I used almond milk, which turns out, not a good substitute for actual milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. In the words of Alton Brown: there should be lumps. If the batter is too thick, add more milk to thin it out. All this time, we’ve been crucifying people over lumpy pancakes, but if you let that baby rest, any flour clumps will absorb the wet ingredients. Trust the process. Obviously, I did not do that, and overmixed. One of my many mistakes. 

Heat a pan on medium heat (or maybe medium-low or medium-high? Definitely not straight high or low though; you’ll have to change it six different times during the cooking). I greased my non-stick pan with margarine and cooking spray because non-stick is a lie. Pour in batter, using a ½ cup measure, because obviously this is the point to start measuring, and then realize that is not near enough batter, so add more willy-nilly. The measuring cup is now an inefficient ladle. This is also where you will realize that almond milk was definitely a mistake and the batter is far too thick, but you’re here and there’s a blog to write. Plus, you really want pancakes. To get the whole experience, have your brother on the phone while you’re cooking, so he can tell you all the things you’re doing wrong.  

Flip once the edges turn slightly darker and there are lots of bubbles on the surface. Press down on the cooked side of the pancake with your spatula, until you can hear the air escaping like the screams of your victims. Keep squishing until desired thinness is reached, flipping every now and then. I hate fluffy pancakes, always have, and we never could figure out why. Until I visited my nonna as an adult and she made me pancakes and squished the hell out of them. Delicious. 

I added fresh cut strawberries and maple syrup from the local farmer’s market. Because I’m cool. Stage the plate next to the dead plants in your living room with a glass of chocolate almond milk to keep the theme going, and enjoy!

Recipe

Prep Time: Depends how tired you are; like 5 minutes?
Cook Time: 5 minutes sounds rights
Total Time: 10 minutes + extra time to clean up the spilled flour

Ingredients:
1 cupish flour
1 cupish milk (I used almond milk; don’t do that)
1 egg
1 tablespoonish sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoonish salt
Glug of vanilla

Optional:
1 tablespoonish cinnamon
1 teaspoonish nutmeg
Cut strawberries for topping

The “ish” is because I don’t actually measure things properly. It’s a thing. I know baking is a science. Things often don’t turn out, and yet, here we are. Follow your heart. Do what feels right. Eyeball those ingredients. Unleash yourself from the constraint of measuring cups. Fuck you chemistry, Imma do what I want.

Steps:

  1. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt) and optional spices to a bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (milk, egg, vanilla).
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. If the batter is too thick, add more milk to thin it out. Let sit for 10 minutes to rest.
  4. Heat a pan on the perfect pancake heat. Grease with butter, cooking spray, or margarine, or all 3, or none at all if you want to play fast and loose with stickage. 
  5. Pour in batter, as much or as little as you want. The first pancake will suck no matter what, so might as well enjoy the freedom. Flip once the edges turn slightly darker and there are lots of bubbles on the surface.
  6. For fluffy pancakes: cook until both sides are browned to your liking. For delicious, flat pancakes: after you flip, push down on the cooked side of the pancake with your spatula. People will make fun of you for this, but you deserve the flattest of pancakes. 
  7. Serve warm with the toppings of your choice.

Thank you for trusting Citrus Rose with your pancake needs! Remember to like and share this classic pancake recipe with all your friends! 

This is obviously meant to make fun of long-winded food blogs, but for the most part, that is my nonna’s pancake recipe. Ignore all the sarcasm and satirical wit, actually measure out the ingredients, and you’ll have yourself some yummy pancakes.

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