~ My Mother's Day Tradition: Buttermilk Pancakes ~
Happy Mother's Day to all of you great-grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, stepmothers and/or soon to be mothers. Mother's Day typically denotes a day of rest and relaxation for mom to spend in any manner that makes her happy. When my boys were young, we usually celebrated Mother's Day with Joe either cooking dinner for the family, or, taking the family out for dinner. This year will be no exception. That being said, I like my Mother's Day to start with a pancake breakfast. Why? When I was growing up, on Mother's Day, my dad took the family to Leiby's Restaurant in South Tamaqua for a special pancake breakfast celebration. Leiby's was a dairy as well and they made their own ice cream too. We four ate: buttermilk pancakes plus a scoop of homemade ice cream with fresh strawberry topping and real-deal whipped cream for Mother's Day breakfast! What's not to love about that.
Leiby's Restaurant and Ice Cream House was founded in 1965 and closed its doors in 2007. It was a family restaurant where kids loved to go, and, as teenagers, a parent-approved hangout. A lot of my friends waited tables there during our high school years. While the food was very good, the desserts made the place famous. They had a four-sided rotating billboard that advertised their ice-cream flavors of the day.
I couldn't tell you how many "Atomic" sundaes I "split" with friends over the years (a banana split containing 32 ounces of ice cream piled high with toppings). Leiby's pies were legendary. They were sold out of a "pie room" (containing nothing but pies) and at Christmastime, a section of the restaurant was cordoned off just for pies awaiting pick-up.
Having grown up with that tradition, when I became a mother it was impossible for me to disassociate myself from pancakes on Mother's Day. That being said, Leiby's pancake breakfast would have been a mighty tough act to follow if I did not have my grandmother's (and mother's) awesome recipe for scratch-made buttermilk pancakes in my recipe box. They are light and fluffy with crispy edges, and, easy to make too. Kids love 'em.
The truth be told, in my house, my traditional Mother's Day pancake breakfast gets made by me, but that my choice. It's a happy day and these pancakes are a great way to start the celebration -- and pass on the tradition.
1/4 cup unbleached, white, whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking bowder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1/2 stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
sliced bananas and/or strawberries, or, blueberries, blackberries and/or raspberries, or, chocolate chips and/or cinnamon chips (optional additions)
corn or peanut oil, for frying pancakes
~ Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the two flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Note: The dry mixture can be mixed one or two days in advance and stored in a tightly sealed food storage container or zip top bag. How convenient is that.
~ Step 6. Gently fold the egg whites into the flour/buttermilk mixture. Again, do not overwork the mixture.
~ Step 7. In an electric skillet, heat a thin coating of oil to 325 degrees. This would be medium-low heat if your making them in a conventional skillet on the stovetop. Note: I really prefer to use an electric skillet to cook pancakes because it is super-easy to constantly control the heat.
~ Step 9. If you want to add any fruit, berries, or chocolate chips to your pancakes, now is the time to place them on the top. Cook until golden on both sides, turning only once, about 2 1/2 minutes on first side and 2 minutes on second side. It is time to flip the pancakes over when bubbles appear on the surface of the first side.
Note: When extra oil is added to the pan, bring it up to temperature (325 degrees) before adding more pancake batter to it.
Special Equipment List: whisk; hand-held electric mixer; rubber spatula; electric skillet or large nonstick skillet; 4-ounce ladle; spatula
Cook's Note: The stack of pancakes pictured here today are topped with my ~ Orange Cinnamon & Vanilla Bean Breakfast Butter ~. This super-flavorful compound butter is super-easy to make, and, I make it a couple of times a year and keep in on hand in my freezer. You can find the recipe by clicking into Categories 4, 8, 20 or 22.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)