Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. I am lucky enough to have spent a great deal of time in the lakes region of the great state of Maine in my life. However, the ease and familiarity of having a family cabin in Western Maine sometimes makes it difficult for me to go anywhere else, particularly in northern New England. Why book that cozy ski vacation in New Hampshire when you can stay at your family’s place for free? Why spend a weekend on the coast when you can swim in a big, clean, calm lake… for free? I don’t get around as much as I should, or as much as I’d like. This past weekend, however, my fiance and I did something a bit out of the ordinary for a quick summertime vacation – we went to Vermont. Wild!
I planned to tell you all about my time spent in adorable Woodstock: the glorious Woodstock Inn or the fantastic apple, cheddar and maple sausage omelet that we had for breakfast at the perfect Mountain Creamery diner. I should be going on and on about the amazing views and food from the Simon Pearce restaurant overlooking the gorgeous Quechee Gorge. They were all excellent and you should all book your trips there immediately. But what I REALLY want to tell you about is what I discovered (almost by accident) on the side of a Vermont road – the King Arthur Flour Company.
Disclaimer: I am actually not a huge baker. I like to bake, but I seldom do it for many reasons.
- We were a family that didn’t often have sweets around, as we cannot control ourselves around the stuff (at least my Mom and I can’t!)
- Baking is very specific and therefore I have always found it more difficult than cooking. I actually have a hard time following recipes, and usually only look at them for inspiration. In baking, you can’t really just throw random things in on a whim.
- I don’t usually have the critical mass of eaters necessary to chow down those homemade desserts.
So upon entering King Arthur Flour I was very excited, but a bit overwhelmed. I knew I would be annoyed with myself if I left empty handed, so I quickly zeroed in on buying an interesting 9 Grain Flour and dutch process cocoa (which I have never used before – I’m telling you, I am a chocolate dessert virgin).
Once I got the consumer juices flowing, I was able to throw in a really cute rooster print tea towel and a great King Arthur Flour baking cookbook. I have since nearly read the cookbook cover to cover – it is such a wealth of interesting information about the history of various breads, cakes, cookies and puddings! I think King Arthur is turning me into a baking convert. Plus, their website
is a treasure trove of useful baking tips and recipes.
We still ended up heading to Maine for the holiday weekend, of course. I’m not complaining – we have a great kitchen there and plenty of people around to eat whatever I throw at them (my own personal guinea pigs!) I decided to try King Arthur Flour’s “Perfect Pancake” recipe as a vehicle to try out my new 9 Grain flour, which produced hearty and wholesome pancakes. I also couldn’t resist throwing in some blueberries and raspberries that we had on hand, which ended up being very timely as it was the 4th of July. Perhaps I should call my version ”Simply Perfect Patriotic Pancakes”! No matter what you call them, these pancakes truly are simply perfect.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I used 3/4 cup King Arthur All Purpose Flour and 3/4 cup KAF 9 Grain Flour)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup raspberries, blueberries, or a mix of both (optional)
Beat the eggs and milk until light and foamy, about 3 minutes at high speed of a stand or hand mixer. Stir in the butter.
Whisk the dry ingredients together to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and sweetener.Gently and quickly mix into the egg and milk mixture. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes, while the griddle is heating; it’ll thicken slightly.
Heat a heavy frying pan over medium heat, or set an electric griddle to 350 °F. Lightly grease frying pan or griddle (with butter, vegetable oil or non-stick spray) The pan or griddle is ready if a drop of water will skitter across the surface, evaporating immediately.
Drop 1/3 cupfuls of batter onto the lightly greased griddle. Bake on one side until bubbles begin to form and break. If you are using berries, carefully add them now to the pancakes. Turn the pancakes and cook the other side till brown. Turn over only once. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.