Thursday, September 26, 2013

Easy Brown-Butter Oven Pancakes

So, there are some things that I just can't cook.
Like, I've tried and I've tried and I just can't cook it. I decide to cook it and it turns into the food equivalent of bowling. Have you ever seen me bowling? It's hilarious. I never get more than 50 points, and my bowling ball either stops halfway down the lane or ends up hitting people 2 lanes over.

Yes, I'm that lady, the one who throws the bowling ball sideways.

Have you seen me cook rice? I throw my rice sideways too. We have a rice cooker, for crying out loud, and it's wonderful and perfect and so easy to use ("add one scoop of rice, fill water up to the line, turn the machine on") and I still end up with brown, crunchy, dried out, burnt rice.

So in my mind, there are some things that my husband must do. It's part of his job description as "husband". He is in charge of hamburgers, rice, mowing the lawn, and barbecues. I know it's weird, but in my head, there's still "girl things" and "boy things", and mowing the lawn and using a barbecue grill belong to "boy things."  

Mind you, that's only for me. If other women want to mow the lawn and use a barbecue grill, that's fine, rock on with your bad selves, have fun. If we had a daughter and she was dead set on mowing the lawn I'd be perfectly happy telling her to ask her father to show her how it's done. But just for me, the person who is sitting inside my TARDIS socks and Dalek Christmas t-shirt, those are boy things and I will never do them.

And he also makes the pancakes because I just have no patience at all to sit there with pancakes at the perfect temperature to keep them from turning burnt. And I get food all over myself just trying to feed the cats in the morning (cat gooshyfood juice splattering onto your clothes is really disgusting, by the way; you want to take a second shower just to get the smell off); can you imagine what I would do with pancake batter?

Here's an easy, practically foolproof way to make just one big ol' pancake in the oven. This one batch will feed 4 people easily (although you may want some bacon and juice on the side), or make 3 people quite full, or give 2 people leftovers. 

I didn't even get any on my shirt.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 good pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp vanilla
optional: 1/4 cup of slivered almonds, great for texture and protein

1) Drop the butter in an 8x8" baking dish or round souffle dish. 
2) Turn the oven to 350º and put the cold butter & baking dish inside.
3) Walk away for 15 minutes. The oven will heat up and the butter will melt and turn into brown butter in the meantime. When you open the oven again, the butter should be popping, liquid, and have a mass of brown grains at the bottom of the liquid.
4) Remove the dish from the oven and just set it on top of the stove while you mix the batter.
5) Combine all remaining ingredients except the optional nuts in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until just combined. You want it a little bit lumpy. 
6) Pour the batter into the baking dish, right on top of the butter.
7) Toss the almonds or walnuts on the top.
8) Bake in the heated oven at 350º for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and feels pretty firm to the touch. Expect the pancake to rise really tall in the oven, and then deflate after cooling.
9) Serve with pancake syrup, or powdered sugar, or fancy jam.

There you go! Easiest pancakes ever. And it's really good with some fancy jam. We had a jar of apricot hibiscus jam that's been sitting there patiently waiting to be used, and this was a really good use. The almonds were crunchy, the jam was sweet & tart, and breakfast was done with minimal damage to the kitchen. 

You have to appreciate minimal damage to the kitchen.

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