Historically, I'm not a huge fan of pancakes. My partner in crime, however, is...big time. On most sundays, we sleep in a little later than we probably should, and wake up and make a big breakfast. I generally try to convince mames of more savory adventures. she generally tries to convince me to make pancakes. It wasn't until we did some major tweakage to our standby recipe that I started to become a fan.
It should be noted that there are, indeed, some steps that you need to follow to get consistent results.
#1. everyone says don't overmix (but I say don't undermix either), whoever says that it doesn't matter if you have lumps in your batter is sorely mistaken. Odds are that those lumps will be in your finished product, whether in the form of baking powder or flour. not a fun time. I find that if I sift all of my dry ingredients together and then add the wet, I never really have that problem.
#2. heavy pan (I use a well seasoned cast iron) and a 2 oz. ladle. The even heat of the cast iron lets your pancakes cook at a lower temperature, which (I find) leads to more consistent results, and eliminates the chances of your first pancake either being for the trash or your dog. The 2 oz. ladle is the perfect size for a medium sized flap j, and also the perfect tool to place in the middle and swirl to get a uniform circle (see middle photo).
#3.Med-low heat and butter. I always set my burner to med-low (maybe a little closer to low) and let my skillet heat properly (5 min, approx.). Once i can place my hand over the skillet and feel the heat rising, I take a pad of butter and swirl it around the skillet with a spoon until the skillet is pretty well covered, then I remove whats left of the butter for later. I don't want a pool of butter to cook in, just enough to coat the bottom. Only do this once, I never add more and never have problems with the rest of the batch sticking. It's important to be patient on your first one. Let it brown uniformly and you won't be throwing it away. If you find by the third cake, if they are browning too fast, lower the heat a little.
#4 keep them warm. If your oven has a warming option, set it to this first thing, if not, just turn it to its lowest setting and transfer the finished pancakes to an oven safe plate in your oven until you are ready to chow down.
This makes around 8 med sized pancakes (and 1 tiny buddycake)
1.5 c ap flour
3.5 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
3/4 c milk (no less than 2%)
1/2 c sour cream
1 egg, beaten
4 tbs butter (1/2 stick), 3 tbs melted, other tbs. reserved for pan
set oven to warm/ set skillet over burner on med-low heat
Combine the drys (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar) and sift into a large bowl. add your milk and sour cream and stir to incorporate. add the egg and stir a little more. finally, add the melted butter and stir until everything is well combined ( I do things in this order to eliminate lumpage and also so that my butter that was once melted, doesn't hit the super cold milk and eggs and turn into solids). once the pan is hot, add the last tbs. of butter and swirl around just enough to coat. remove whats left and set aside for later. Now, fill your 2 oz. ladle and pour the batter directly into the center of the pan. place the bottom of the ladle in the middle of the batter and swirl from the middle, slowly going outward. You should end up with a pretty good circle. the batter will release tiny bubbles, wait until they become less frequent, and then flip over to the other side (i always peak a little by lifting up the pancake with my spatula:). They should get very puffy, resist the urge to smash them down, I can't explain it, but that seems to be the natural reaction. You don't want to destroy the floofiness. once you are done, place it on the plate in your warmed oven and move on to the next one. These should take about 2-3 minutes per side.
*you can also add ingredients like bananas, bluberries, choc chips, etc. Just sprinkle them on top, after you have swirled the pancake into a circle. I usually just eat mine straight up with some maple syrup. I like grade "b". It's darker and more caramelly