Perfect Parker House Pancakes

If you’ll recall a few blogs ago I had some issues with that easy breakfast staple, waffles. Aunt Lillian’s waffle recipe had produced a thick, chewy waffle that really didn’t make anyone want to run to the breakfast table. But after reading up on waffles, I did indeed find a recipe that was a winner.

The New England Yankee Cookbook

The New England Yankee Cookbook

So, on a recent morning I decided to tackle another staple – pancakes from scratch. I found loads of recipes in my vintage cookbooks, but decided on one from my very funky The New England Yankee Cook Book, by Imogene Wolcott from 1939. This cookbook is great. According to the cover the recipes are from the files of Yankee magazine and from “time-worn recipe books and many gracious contributors.”

Well, no wonder I like the cook book. As a young girl when we spent our annual summer vacation at the home of friends in upstate New York near the Vermont border, I used to pour over their copies of Yankee magazine. I was obsessed by New England, history, inns, and all things antique! Yankee was my entree into that world. And of course, I still love all things New England. Heck, I married a Bostonian didn’t I?

Which of course brings me to the Parker House Hotel in Boston, scene of one of our most romantic early dates! It was our first Christmas as a dating couple, and we attended the historic Parker House’s Victorian-themed dinner, followed by a performance of Charles Dicken’s great, great grandson’s performance of A Christmas Carol. Oh, it was enough to make this history lovers heart swoon. So how could I resist trying the recipe for Parker House Pancakes on p. 130 of the cook book?

Pancake Ingredients

Pancake Ingredients

Parker House Pancakes (which were Perfect)

  • 2 c. flour, sifted
  • 3 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 3/4 cup milk (about)

Mix and sift the dry ingredients. Combine eggs and milk; add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Bake on a hot well-greased griddle. One tablespoon of the mixture makes one cake. This recipe makes about 24 small thin, delicate cakes.

The Batter -- Smooth, But Not Over Beaten

The Batter -- Smooth, But Not Over Beaten

My notes after a bit more reading on the perfect pancake (in no particular order) which I found interesting and helpful:

  • don’t over beat your pancake recipe – some lumps actually are good
  • if you have the time, put your pancake batter in the fridge for 30 minutes to let it rest, but don’t stir it again once you take it out
  • use very little butter, and best to use unsalted butter or vegetable oil for frying the pancakes
  • don’t stack your pancakes as you cook them. Lay them in a warm oven flat on a baking sheet until ready to serve. Or have your family eat them while you make them. Staking makes them soggy.
  • Use Rumford Baking Powder which doesn’t have aluminum in it. Will make your pancakes taste better and its much better for you!
  • Use a wire whisk to combine the dry with the wet ingredients

The Results – this was an excellent, light, fluffy pancake! Easy to make and really tasty. And so much better than a mix.

The pancakes -- Aren't They Pretty?

The pancakes -- Aren't They Pretty?

Just as a fun side note, the Yankee Cook Book had this interesting tid bit under the recipe:

Our great-grandmothers used hard wood ashes (in place of baking soda) to make pancakes rise. They poured boiling water over sifted ashes in a cup, let ashes settle and used the liquid as we use soda that has been dissolved.

While I don’t encourage this, I do hope you enjoy this recipe! And if your in Boston, do check out the Parker House Hotel downtown, which is filled with wonderful history.

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