I started with a recipe from Clinton Street Baking Co. in New York. They have been known to make some of the best pancakes in the country. If you are a New Yorker or have watched Throwdown with Bobby Flay, you may be familiar with them.
I also knew that I wanted to somewhat replicate the pancakes I enjoy from this wonderful place in Chicago called Sweet Maple Cafe. They simply have the best pancakes I have ever tasted. They are light and fluffy with the most incredible subtle buttermilk flavor and nice griddle crisp. Once I finished these, I couldn't resist eating them while I photographed them. They were seriously some delish hotcakes! Give them a try this weekend for breakfast and feel free to mix in your favorites like chocolate chips and blueberries. They are just fantastic!
The PERFECT Classic Pancakes Adapted from Clinton Street Bakery
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) melted salted butter
2 teaspoons butter, melted for the griddle
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, greek yogurt, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Slowly whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture just until combined. The resulting should be slightly lumpy yet still combined.
3. Whip the egg whites by hand with a whisk or in the bowl of an electric mixer until they reach medium peaks. You can whip them by hand with a whisk or place them in the bowl of an electric mixer. (Peaks are “soft” when you put your finger in the whites and they fall over. Peaks are “medium” when you put your finger in and they drip over a bit and stand up. “Stiff” peaks develop when you whip the whites longer and they stay up.) You don’t want to overwhip the egg whites.
4. Gently fold half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Then gently fold the remaining whites into the batter. Remember, this batter should be slightly lumpy and have large parts of egg whites not fully incorporated and should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top. (The batter will last a few hours in the fridge without deflating too much.)
5. Heat a griddle — either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat skillet — over medium to medium-low heat. Grease the hot surface with a teaspoon or so of the remaining butter. Drop 1/4 cup of pancake batter on the griddle. Now let it set. When you see bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crisp at the edges. If it is, flip the pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a plate with a spatula.
6. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, adding more butter to the griddle as needed and cooking several pancakes at a time. Serve immediately with ample butter and maple syrup.