Take the time to make a delicious Sunday breakfast

Recipes include: Simply Perfect Pancakes with Fresh Berries & Crispy Bacon

On weekend or vacation mornings, my dad liked to take over the kitchen. Mom enjoyed a break and he enlisted our help to fix breakfast. Most mornings he kept it simple, a bowl of cereal with some of Nana’s fruit and glasses of juice and milk.

But not on Sunday or holiday mornings; that’s when we knew pancakes would be on the menu. Blueberry pancakes were his favorite so they were our favorite as well. Dad had a couple of tricks that I use to this day. I don’t know if he picked them up from Nana when he was a boy or figured them out later.

Dad’s pancake breakfasts were always a little savory and a little sweet. There was plenty of real maple syrup and each plate included a strip or two of crispy bacon. After cooking the bacon Dad always drained most of the fat from the pan, leaving just a bit to cook the pancakes. While the first side cooked, we helped him sprinkle each pancake liberally with blueberries. Not particularly heart healthy, the finished product was always served with a dab of butter and drizzle of maple syrup.

My dad still likes to cook a special breakfast on Sunday mornings. When grandchildren are visiting he ups the ante with his now famous waffles. So famous that, more often than not, a handful of neighborhood kids show up as soon as he gets out the waffle iron.

Simply Perfect Pancakes with Fresh Berries & Crispy Bacon
Makes about 1 dozen large pancakes

1 to 2 slices bacon, per person
2 large eggs
1 1/4 c. milk *
3 T. melted butter or vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 T. sugar
Garnish: Fresh berries and maple syrup

Beat eggs and milk until light and foamy, about 3 minutes at high speed with a stand or hand mixer. Stir in butter or vegetable oil.

Whisk dry ingredients together to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and sugar.

Gently and quickly mix the dry ingredients into the egg and milk mixture. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes; it’ll thicken slightly.

While batter rests, heat large heavy frying pan over medium heat or set electric griddle to 350°F. Cook the bacon, turning often until brown and crispy. Remove bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Lightly coat frying pan or griddle with butter or oil or try my dad’s trick and leave a little bacon fat in the pan. Raise heat to medium-high or the griddle to 375°F. The pan or griddle is ready if a drop of water skitters across the surface, evaporating immediately.

Drop 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the lightly greased griddle. A 2-oz. ice cream scoop will give you the perfect size every time.

Cook until bubbles begin to form and break, about 2 minutes. Turn the pancakes and cook the other side until brown, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Turn only once. Garnish with lots of fresh berries, a drizzle of maple syrup and a strip or two of crispy bacon. Serve immediately.

Turn Simply Perfect Pancakes into Berry Good Pancakes by artfully or not so artfully arranging blueberries and/or strawberries on top of the wet batter. Or turn them into Banana Fo Fana pancakes with slices of ripe banana.

* Use 1 cup milk if it’s a hot, humid morning or if you're going to let the batter rest longer than 15 minutes. Use up to 1 1/4 cups milk on cold, dry days.

With thanks to the bakers at King Arthur Flour for the basic recipe for Simply Perfect Pancakes. And more thanks to my dad and brother for their helpful hints.

A few tips from King Arthur Flour

For a whole grain breakfast treat, replace 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of ground oats.

A grated apple mixed into the batter will keep the pancakes moist longer if you need to cook them ahead and bring them to the table all at once.

If using frozen blueberries, thaw them first, but never add them to the bowl of the batter. Mixing frozen blueberries into the batter will turn it blue.

To make waffles, substitute 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil for 2 tablespoons of the milk. Cook the waffles as directed on your waffle iron. Hint: If you try to open the iron and it doesn't open easily, the waffle isn't done yet.

Susan Nye writes for several New England magazines and newspapers. She shares stories and recipes on her blog Around the Table at www.susannye.wordpress.com.

Categories: Recipes, Summer Food