My pancake-making adventures definitely fall in the no-recipe realm. I started out working from recipes, sure, but at some decided it was more fun to just throw some ingredients together and watch them work their magic. Generally you can test a few and then adjust as needed (unlike with real cakes). Apart from that one time that I added way to much baking soda, it seems to work pretty well.
I really like buckwheat. It’s not actually wheat at all, and is therefore gluten-free for those with sensitivities. In addition to being delicious, it has many health benefits. And, it has a short growing period and grows happily in poor soils. It’s often used as a cover crop, which means replacing nutrients in the soil (although if you are plowing it under as a green manure (green as opposed to brown, i.e. animal manures) instead of harvesting it you don’t get to eat it. Still, I’m pretty sure buckwheat production is better for the environment than other grains/seeds that are used similarly). Buckwheat flowers are great for pollinators, too.
You can add it to all sorts of things. This time it was normal American pancakes, but you can also make galettes/crepes, soba noodles, even chocolate chip cookies (which I did make, by the way, and they were delicious. A little puffier than my usual cookie, but I’m a fan).
Make sure to pour on the maple syrup (the real stuff, obvs. The rest doesn’t bear mentioning. In college I would ask for molasses to put on pancakes rather than use the fake stuff, although we occasionally had real maple syrup (!)*). It may help make antibiotics more effective—although the article that mentions that suggests manufacturing some sort of extract, which I think is silly—why take medicine when you can literally eat a spoonful of sugar to accomplish the same thing?
Also, I’m partial to small pancakes. When I lived in New Zealand we called them pikelets. If you want to make large ridiculous pancakes, do what you need to do (but these cook better).
As you get familiar with the amounts, you’ll be able to throw them together without measuring like I do. I usually mix it all in a measuring cup anyway, melting the butter first and then adding other ingredients as I go, which helps with guestimation.
Pancakes 3 Tablespoons butter or oil 1/2 cup yogurt or milk or milk substitute, plus more as needed 1 egg Vanilla, or other (like almond) extracts 1/2 (+?) cup oatmeal (rolled oats, not quick cooking! Well, whatever you want really. Optional; use less flour if using) 3/4 cup flour: buckwheat, whole wheat, white, or a combination—whatever pleases you! 1/4 cup cornmeal (optional; use less flour if using) 1 tsp baking soda (if using yogurt or buttermilk) or baking powder (if using milk) 1/2 tsp salt Extras: pecans, slivered almonds, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, fruit, coconut! Mashed bananas are also good
Melt the butter in the bowl/large measuring cup first. Let cool for a bit, then add in yogurt/milk, stirring quickly so it doesn’t all seize/solidify, and your egg (you can add the egg right to the butter too but just make sure it’s not hot enough to cook the egg at all!). Mix in vanilla and other extracts, if you like (boozy pancakes, anyone?). Put in the oatmeal, if using, stir, and let sit for a little while to soften (you can also cook the oatmeal beforehand if you don’t want as much texture; not necessary if you’re in a hurry). Add in the flour, cornmeal if using, put the baking soda/powder and salt on top and mix it into the flour a little, then stir it all together. Add in any extras that you want, and mix until the flour is just barely wet (lumps are okay). It should be fairly liquidy and spongy; add more milk/yogurt/water as needed to get the right consistency.
Heat up a pan with butter (or oil) until quite hot over medium-high heat (I think our electric griddle at home was at 400 for pancakes, the highest setting). With a ladle, or small measuring cup (1/3 cup is a good size), measure out some batter and drop into the hot pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip. Adjust temperature as needed.
Flip onto a plate, cover with fruit and syrup and butter and enjoy!
*Side note. This (!) is my new favorite punctuation mark. A subtle often ironic emphasis. I can’t figure out what it’s called though, shouldn’t it have a cool name like interrobang?!