Thursday, February 17, 2005

Buttermilk Hotcakes

Nothing hits the spot like hotcakes that are smothered with brown sugar syrup, especially if they’re made from scratch. Scratch hotcakes are superior to many of the prepared mixes on the market today. Except for the addition of buttermilk, this is the recipe I’ve known my whole life.

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/3 cup dry buttermilk blend (see note)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted bacon grease

At home -- Stir together flour, sugar, dry buttermilk blend, baking powder, soda and salt. Place hotcake mix into a suitable container. Pack the egg and oil.
For backpacking trips, we place the whole egg inside the dry mix. The theory goes like this: Should the egg break, remove the shell, add water and mix. I’ll have to test it one-day -- we’ve never broken an egg in my memory.

In camp -- Light a campfire and burn until you have a bed of hot coals. (Hotcakes can be cooked over a campstove if desired.)

Pour mix into a bowl. Crack the egg into the dry mixture. Add the water and mix with a wire whip just until the batter is blended. Add the oil or bacon grease and mix again just until the batter is blended. The batter will be slightly lumpy.

When the coals are ready, spread them under a lightly greased cast iron skillet or griddle and heat just until it smokes. For each hotcake, pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot griddle or skillet. Turn when each hotcake’s surface is bubbly and the edges are slightly dry. Cook until golden brown. Serve with butter and brown sugar syrup.

This recipe makes about eight 4-inch hotcakes and can be easily doubled for larger groups.

Buttermilk note: I use Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend, which is sold in a 12-oz. container. Substitute 1-1/3 cups cultured buttermilk for the dry buttermilk and water if desired.

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