Long before I was born, my dad worked as a short order cook at the International House of Pancakes. During each shift, he cooked eggs, ran the waffle iron, and flipped stack after stack of doughy pancakes. While he didn’t mind the work as a line cook, he was singularly dissatisfied with the quality of the pancakes and waffles he was charged with making. He began experimenting with his own recipe for an easily stored baking mix that could be stirred into a batter far superior to IHOP’s.
By the time my sister and I came along, he had perfected his dry mix. The final recipe combines whole grains, a little sugar for sweetener, and just enough baking powder to create lift. Dad’s mix was ever-present during my childhood, always ready to be whipped into action for the griddle or iron.
When I left home, I took the recipe with me and maintained the family tradition by always keeping a jar of dry mix in the fridge (it keeps better there than in the pantry). I soon discovered that in addition to making perfect pancakes and waffles, it also works brilliantly as a base for drop scones. The scones are a particularly handy innovation, as they can be frozen unbaked and then baked off one or two at a time. On chilly fall mornings, it’s awfully nice to be able to pop a scone or two in the toaster oven while the coffee brews.
My dad’s dry mix is a great item to have stashed in the fridge, whether it’s put to use every week or only on those special occasions that seem to call for a fresh stack of pancakes. With its arsenal of whole grains, it’s much better for you than the just-add-water varieties lining grocery store aisles. You’ll soon find that there’s no better way to celebrate a lazy Sunday.
Homemade Dry Baking Mix
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 cups honey toasted wheat germ (or substitute regular toasted wheat germ)
- 1 cup quick oats (or substitute rolled oats pulsed in the blender for 30 seconds)
- 3/4 cup cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight jar or zip lock bag in the refrigerator. The dry mix will keep 6-8 weeks if stored appropriately.
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
- 3 cups dry mix
Whisk eggs, milk and oil together. Fold in dry mix and stir until just combined.
Heat griddle over a medium-high flame and lightly grease with vegetable oil. Drop small portions of pancake batter onto griddle and cook pancakes for 2-3 minutes on the first side, 1-2 minutes on the other side.
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 1/4 cups dry mix
Whisk eggs, milk and oil together. Fold in dry mix and stir until just combined (the waffle batter should be slightly thicker than the pancake batter).
Cook waffles according to waffle iron instructions.
For Drop Scones:
- 1/4 cup cold butter
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- zest of one lemon
- 3 3/4 cup dry mix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Measure mix into a large bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and add to the bowl. Using a pastry blender, blend the butter into the mix until it resembles damp, lumpy sand.
Stir milk into the mixture using a fork until fully combined. Add cranberries and lemon zest.
Drop dough onto a ungreased cookie sheet (this batch makes enough dough for 8 medium-sized scones). Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just browned.
Optional: Portion scones onto cookie sheet but do not bake. Instead, slip the cookie sheet into the freezer. Once frozen, remove the scones from the sheet and place in a zip lock bag. To prepare, replace frozen scones on a cookie sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes.