Today Is National Pancake Day!

In honor of National Pancake Day, which happens to be today, we’re offering an encore feature of our Homemade Bacon Pancakes column and recipe from last summer. We shot these photos on a  beautifully bright and sunny July day, which seems almost like another lifetime ago after this long and particularly harsh winter. I think it’s time to break up with Old Man Winter, but until that happens – Enjoy!

“These might be the best pancakes I’ve ever had.” This was the first comment from our Forum photographer, Logan, as he tasted the featured subject of our recent photo shoot for today’s column. With praise like that, we knew we were on the right course with our recipe for a breakfast specialty we call Homemade Bacon Pancakes.

As a “restaurant family,” breakfast is our special time to sit and eat a meal together.   Tony is usually the master of the breakfast menu, and Gio and I have been only too happy to sit back and enjoy the meal. A family favorite has always been pancakes, and up until recently Tony has been a big fan of Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix.

However, our twenty-year-old griddle quit working several months ago and I finally found a good replacement for it just before Father’s Day. Gio and I wanted to make a special breakfast for Tony, and decided that we would depart from our usual box mix pancakes and attempt to make our own from scratch.

Homemade pancakes are surprisingly easy to make, and the result is a pancake that is superior to anything made from a box. What makes these pancakes even more special is a tip I learned from my cousin, Zack Berger, when he was visiting our family last summer.

Zack made Bisquick pancakes for us each morning, which took on a new identity after he cooked them in a bit of bacon grease. Quite simply, they tasted amazing, better and different than any other pancakes I’ve had. I knew I had to make these one day for Tony.

According to Tony, bacon and pancakes were made for each other, and after enjoying his Father’s Day treat he says he will never use box pancakes again. Bacon fat can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three months, but  if you cook the bacon just before the pancakes you’ll have a proper breakfast waiting for you when you finish.

Our recipe makes about ten medium-sized pancakes, and consists of just seven ingredients, all of which are common pantry staples. I often use sea salt when I bake or make sweet foods, and it’s a perfect fit for this recipe. A touch of vanilla added to the mix adds flavor and depth to the pancakes, and enhances the made-from-scratch experience.

We recently started using Dakota Maid all-purpose flour, which seems to be lighter and better-sifted than other brands, and we truly believe it improved the overall quality of our pancakes.

These pancakes are slightly sweet with a texture that is light, fluffy, airy and soft. To achieve this perfect texture, mix the batter until it is just a little bit lumpy – the lumps should be small but still present.

Bubbly little holes will begin to appear as the pancakes start cooking, but wait about two minutes after they surface before flipping the cake.

Cooking the pancakes in bacon grease doesn’t make them taste like bacon, but it does ensure that each cake has a wonderful, golden-brown crust which doesn’t happen when butter, oil or cooking spray is used.

We’re in Delaware this week, celebrating a family reunion dubbed Schmeckfest by my extended Anstett family (of German-from-Russia heritage), and we can’t wait to make our version of Bacon Pancakes for Zack and the gang. We serve our Bacon Pancakes with a pat of butter, pure maple syrup (Tony is Canadian, after all), a simple fresh fruit salad and, of course, bacon.

Homemade Bacon Pancakes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ Tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 ¼ cup milk or buttermilk (start with 1 cup and add more as needed, up to 1 ¼ cup)
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, 1 cup of milk and vanilla together, then lightly incorporate 1 cup of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Once the ingredients have just come together, stir in the melted butter until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix, and gently stir just until the mixture is somewhat smooth, but still has small lumps. If too thick, add the remaining ¼ cup of milk.

Heat the griddle or pan to medium-high (approx. 350 degrees). Once the surface is hot, lightly grease with bacon fat. Use a ladle or 1/4 measuring cup to pour the batter onto the hot surface, leaving space between each cake.

As the pancakes cook, bubbly little holes will start to appear, but continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer before flipping. Cook for about 2 to 3 more minutes, until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with pure maple syrup and enjoy!

Easy Fresh Fruit Salad Recipe