Packaged pancake mixes make pancakes easy to prepare with minimal added ingredients, but all-purpose baking mixes are just as easily transformed into light, fluffy pancakes. You can prepare them plain or add extras to the batter, simply top them with butter and syrup, or serve them as part of a hearty breakfast.
Basic Pancake Preparation
Regular all-purpose baking mixes typically include flour, shortening, salt and baking powder. To turn them into pancake batter, add sugar, additional baking powder, milk, eggs, vanilla and vegetable oil. There are variations on the regular mixes, including low-fat, gluten-free and whole grain with directions that vary slightly. Instructions for using baking mixes to make pancakes and other recipes are usually printed on the packaging.
Pancakes are easy to transform into treats that satisfy almost any palate. Fresh, dried, frozen and drained canned fruit all add texture and flavor to pancakes. Favorite fruits include cranberries, raisins, apples, blueberries, bananas and strawberries. Toasted pecans or walnuts add fiber and crunchiness to pancakes. Brighten up the batter with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or cloves. Add extra flavor with maple extract, canned pumpkin, brown sugar, molasses, lemon zest, sour cream or cream cheese. Transform pancakes into a special dessert by adding chocolate or cinnamon chips to the batter and topping the stack with a dollop of freshly whipped, slightly sweetened cream.
Homemade Baking Mix
If you don't have any store-bought baking mix on hand, it's simple to make your own with a few basic pantry items. Start with the flour of your choice or mix several flours together, such as all-purpose white flour, whole-wheat flour or another whole-grain variety. Add flavor and leavening to the mix with baking powder, salt, cream of tartar and dry nonfat milk. Cut shortening or butter into the dry ingredients and you have a perfect all-purpose baking mix that will keep up to three months in an airtight container. It can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Pancakes are traditionally served for breakfast alongside eggs and bacon, sausage or ham. Another combination is pancakes and syrup with a side of crunchy fried chicken, a pairing that highlights the best flavors and textures of both foods. Kids enjoy pancake "sandwiches" made with peanut butter and jelly or whipped cream cheese and sliced fresh fruit. Experiment with your own combinations to create new dishes you can serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner.