Cast Iron Pancake Chef

So I’m just going to say it.  I make awesome pancakes.  And I love them.  More importantly where family harmony is concerned, my extremely picky daughter lists them as her favorite food of all time.  I tweaked recipes, fiddled around and finally settled on a combination that worked for us.  The remaining problem: my griddle.  I’d been using an electric non-stick griddle with great results.   The big cooking surface allowed me to finish all of the batter in a couple of rounds and made it easier for me to eat while there were still people at the table.  However, the non-stick issues nagged at me.  When the surface of my beloved griddle became discolored, showing signs of obvious wear I found it hard to ignore those concerns.  The time had come for a safer choice.  I’d tried to cook my amazing pancakes at other people’s houses in other people’s cast iron pan with crispy and charcoal-y results…  Nonetheless I was determined to use the cast iron pan I already owned for our Sunday morning indulgence.

The first couple of weeks were not terribly encouraging.  I used too much oil (which is just about any, by the way).  I turned the heat up too high.  I had the heat too low.  I turned them too soon.  I burned them.  It was a mess.  And then I remembered what my Dad said about pancakes: “You have to let the pan get hot all over or they’ll burn every time…”  or something like that.  Cast iron pan hot all over, not a two minute proposition.  The solution: the oven.  So now on Saturday night after I mix the dry ingredients for the pancakes (saves time in the morning when my son’s appetite leads to extreme grumpiness) I put my beloved cast iron pan in the oven, set the “Delay Oven Start” for about 7:30 and set the temp for 350.  By the time they wake me, I mix the wet and dry and let the batter rest for 10 minutes the pan is hot all over.  If the seasoning on my pan looks in good shape I add ZERO oil or butter.  If it looks dry, I swipe lightly with an oiled paper towel and wipe some off after I finish.  I watch for firm edges and a few bubbles.  Flip.  Serve.  Awesome delish pancakes.  No boxed mix in sight, no teflon in tummies.  Glorious.