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Fancy Beer Pancakes

January 10, 2010
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A couple of months ago Steven and I were about to leave on a trip and thus had emptied our refrigerator of perishables. We both wanted pancakes but didn’t want to go out and buy milk to make them with. It just so happened that we had a couple of bottles of beer sitting around from a party we’d had recently, and somehow I hit upon the idea of beer pancakes. A quick online search turned up this recipe, and a new obsession was born. If you’ve ever had beer-battered fish or beer bread, the taste is similar except, you know, in fluffy, delicious pancake form. Like other forms of baked goods containing beer, however, you don’t have to worry about getting drunk off of your meal–the alcohol cooks off and you’re left with just the beer flavor.

Recently we bought a single bottle of several types of beers at Trader Joe’s. The checker asked me if we were having a beer tasting party, but I explained that we were just trying to find the optimal beer for beer pancakes. After trying several, I’d say we’re pretty damn close to perfection. Today’s beer was “Stockyard Oatmeal Stout,” and it was the best so far. Wheaty, dark ales or lagers also seem to make excellent pancakes, and it’s interesting how different they can taste based solely on the beer. These pancakes also turned out quite a bit darker than previous versions, so the color of your batter will be lighter if you use a lighter beer.

So as not to waste a 12-oz bottle of beer, I scaled the original recipe up, which only called for 8 oz. Inconveniently, now it calls for 1 1/2 eggs, so you’ll have to waste half an egg or save it for something else. Extra pancakes can be very successfully frozen and re-heated for a quick midweek breakfast. I also substituted whole wheat bread flour for part of the flour, but if all you’ve got is white flour I know for a fact they’re good that way, too.

12-oz Bottle of Beer Pancakes
* 1 cup whole wheat bread flour
* 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1-1/2 egg, beaten
* 1-1/2 cups beer
* 3 tablespoons butter, melted

1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in the egg, beer and melted butter; stir with a whisk just until blended – a few lumps are okay.
2. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Coat with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot surface for each pancake. When bubbles appear on top of the pancakes, flip, and cook until browned on the other side.

The ingredients:

Mixing the wet ingredients:

If you want to get fancy, spray a metal cookie cutter with canola oil cooking spray. Place your cookie cutter on the skillet and turn down the burner a bit.

Now pour a thin layer of pancake batter into your mold, as little as will still cover the whole surface of the cookie cutter. It’ll puff up as it cooks, and your pancake will end up being a bit thicker than a normal one (hence the lower cooking temperature).

Unless you’ve desensitized your fingertips, use some tongs to remove the cookie cutter after the batter has cooked through. Then continue as with a normal pancake.

Have fun with shapes–it might be a good Valentine’s Day breakfast-in-bed idea, no?

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