Yeah, I know.  You were expecting “Cops & donoughts.”  Well, homey don’t fly that route.

Actually, I take that back.  Let me say a thing or two about making donoughts, and then we can move on.

Thing the First:  The easiest way to make good donoughts (that I know of, at least) is to deep-fry store-bought biscuit dough–you know, the kind that comes in a thin cardboard tube.  If you’re gunning for authenticity, of course, dig a hole through the center first, and once they’re nicely fried you can dunk ’em in chocolate or give ’em a vanilla/cream/powdered sugar glaze (à la Krispy Kreme) and you’re off to the races.  If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can leave the hole un-dug and squirt some kind of jelly or jam or pastry cream inside with a pastry bag or one of those ominous injection needle contraptions.

Thing the Second:  Proper donoughts–like a lot of other bakery-type things–maintain their properness for only a few hours, and after that it’s all down-hill, so scarf ’em down rápidamente.  You might like yours with coffee, which is fine, but I’m strictly a milk guy.

Don’t know quite why, but I’ve never cared for coffee.  Tea’s nice, but my beverage of choice is milk.  Good ol’ milk–nothing better.

On to pancakes:

I don’t know anyone who likes thin, brittle pancakes.  Everybody likes them thick and fluffy and light, right?  Right.  Here’s how to accomplish that:

First of all, buy (or, better yet, make your own) good pancake mix.  Our dear little planet is crawling with sub-par pancake mixes, I’m sorry to say, so my best advice here is that you make your own mix or buy an established name-brand mix.  You can’t go wrong with Aunt Jemima, for instance (although I can’t really, in good conscience, recommend Bisquick.  Bisquick is good for lots of other stuff–lots–but once you start pushing the “all-purpose” envelope, something’s bound to get left behind, and in this case, I’d say that’s pancakes.  Bisquick is, by my lights, a very good product overall, but if you’re going to buy a mix, buy one dedicated to pancakes and not one that’s trying to be everything for everyone).

That right there is half the battle, and the remaining half is just as easy:  Add the liquid(s) to the dry mix, but don’t over-beat it.  Lumps are okay.  If you over-beat it, you develop the gluten, which is a smarty-pants way of saying that you’ll wind up with tough cakes.  So don’t go freaking out if you find yourself with some pebble-sized bits of unmoistened mix; that’s fine.  That’s the way it should be.

Also–and I guess I should have said this earlier–use a tad less water than the recipe calls for–and when I say “tad,” I ain’t kidding.  A fraction of a tablespoon can make a big difference.  Our goal here is to wind up with a slightly thicker batter than the manufacturer would have you make, because thicker batter = thicker pancakes.

Bonus:  Thicker batter is better at staying put on the griddle, so you won’t be quite as likely to wind up with funny-looking pancakes.  Thicker ones know their place; thinner ones run all over the joint.

Before marrying batter with griddle, however, let the batter sit there, unmolested, for a good ten minutes or so; just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and go find something else to do.

At the end of the ten minutes (or so), go ahead and cook your cakes as usual.

The idea behind letting the batter sit?  Well, that’s easy.

What you’re doing is letting the flour “autolyze,” meaning that it’s absorbing the liquid and breaking down, which makes for a much more tender and light pancake, despite its thickness.

So, to recap:

  • Start with a good mix
  • Don’t over-blend it
  • Cut back a tiny bit on the water
  • Let the batter autolyze for about ten minutes before proceeding

I’m spent.  Maybe I’ll get to cops next time.

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