Buttermilk Pancakes

Pancakes have been my five-year-old's favorite food ever since she started feeding herself. So much so, that we we picked up a copy of Eric Carle’s Pancakes, Pancakes a few years back. Smart storytelling is mixed with science, math and most importantly fun.  Carle's story of a boy, Jack, who asks his busy mom for this simple meal takes kids through the journey of making flour from grain, feeding the hen for eggs, milking the cow and making butter from the cream on top.  It's a great farm-to-table lesson. Bring the story come to life and head into the kitchen after you read it to your little Jack or Jill.

Oh, and if you want to make the heart shaped cuties pictured above, just spray a heart-shaped cookie cutter with cooking spray and place in a heated skillet. Fill one-third up the sides with batter and follow the recipe headnote for flipping them. Whatever way you shape them, they're guaranteed to be gobbled up!


The key to making pancakes is a hot pan and patience. The skillet is ready when water sprinkled on it immediately forms tiny bubbles and evaporates. Patience is a crucial virtue to making a crisp, golden pancake. Don’t flip them until bubbles appear on the surface of each pancake.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-size bowl and whisk for 30 seconds.  Set aside.
  2. In a small glass bowl or measuring cup, combine buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla extract, if using.  Stir with a fork, using the same motion as scrambling an egg until liquid ingredients are mixed.  
  3. Pour liquid ingredients into dry and stir, gently, using the same form until mixture is just combined.  It will be lumpy, and that’s okay, just make sure there are no pockets of unmixed dry ingredients.
  4. Heat a skillet over a medium flame. Coat pan with a pat of butter and add circles of batter.  Use a teaspoon to make kid-friendly silver dollar style or a tablespoon for dad-size cakes.  Flip when bubbles form on
    top and continue cooking for 45 seconds to 1 minute or until done. 

*An equal amount of melted butter can be substituted for a richer flavor or if you don't have oil on hand.