I’m sure I’m not alone these days when it comes to inventorying my kitchen.
Lately, it goes something like this:
All-purpose flour. Oh, thank gawd there’s still some!
A half-pint of blueberries grabbed at the last minute at the grocery store a week ago. Half a pint? That’s it??? Why didn’t I think to get more?!?! What a moron.
Half a gallon of heavy cream that expires in five days. Wait. What??
A bag of walnuts. Woo-hoo, precious protein, baby.
A nearly empty bag of almond flour in the far reaches of the freezer. When did I even open this? (Dips finger in to try some.) OK, I think it still tastes OK. I haven’t keeled over yet.
And so it goes.
That, my friends, is what led me to try making Martha Stewart Living’s “Sheet-Pan Pancakes.”
Because let’s face it, we all need a respite from CNN, daily press conferences, and ever-growing statistics on this pandemic that’s remade the world as we knew it.
What we need is pancakes. Because pancakes have had the uncanny power to put a smile on our faces as far back as, well, the invention of pancakes. When you start the day with pancakes, you know it’s going to be a good day. And we can all surely use more of those kind of days right now.
The genius of this version is that it bakes in a sheet pan. There’s no standing at the stove, pouring, flipping, and stacking over and over again, and wondering just when you’ll finally get to eat yours since you’re stuck making them for everyone else first. Instead, this sheet-pan pancake is done in one shebang, then cut into squares and served to everyone at once.
Of course, these being anything but normal times, I had to make a few substitutions to use what I had on hand.
No buttermilk? Just make your own using regular milk. Looking online, I found several resources that instructed using 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice for each cup of milk. Then, just wait about 10 minutes, and the mixture will start to thicken slightly. It didn’t have exactly the same deep perky tang as real buttermilk, but it will work in a pinch. However, I found that in trying to make 2 cups of buttermilk, I needed to add a little more distilled vinegar before any thickening began. So in the instructions below, I tell you to use 3 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar to 2 cups of milk instead.
Yes, about those berries….Since I had only about 1 cup of blueberries (what a dope!) instead the 1 1/2 cups of mixed berries originally called for, I decided to add a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts instead.
That lingering stash of almond flour? The original recipe called for 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour. I substituted 1/4 cup of that for the almond flour instead, knowing that it would add a little more subtle nuttiness, as well as tenderness to the pancake.
The sheet-pan pancake bakes up with a crisp top. It tastes very much like a regular circular pancake — tender, fluffy, and barely sweet, so you can readily adorn it with a shower of powdered sugar or a drizzle of warn maple syrup.
It’s quick to make yet impressive looking, making it ideal for inviting friends over for brunch. Well, when we can finally do that again.
It also makes for a fabulous dessert with a generous fluff of whipped cream spooned over the top. (Exceedingly generous, that is, when there’s a half gallon of cream sitting in your fridge, if you know what I mean.)
These may be uncertain times, but you can be certain of pancakes always hitting the spot.
(Serves about 12)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or use 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/4 cup almond flour)
1/4 cup sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling if you like
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, store-bought or home-made (see Note)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups mixed berries (or use 1 cup berries plus 1/2 cup chopped walnuts)
Softly whipped cream, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, and/or more berries for serving
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a rack in the upper third.
Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until almost fully incorporated (there should be some small lumps.)
Gently fold in the berries (and walnuts, if using). Pour batter into prepared sheet; spread evenly to edges. Sprinkle with more sugar, if you like. Bake until pancake is set and pulls away from sides of sheet, 12 to 14 minutes. Switch oven to broil; cook, rotating pan once, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream, Greek yogurt maple syrup and more berries.
Note: To make your own buttermilk, pour 3 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to reach 2-cup mark. Stir to combine, then let sit for about 10 minutes. The mixture will start to thicken slightly.
Adapted from a Martha Stewart Living recipe, published June 2019
Another Pancake To Appreciate: Toasted Oatmeal Pancakes