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Amazing 'cakes: Recipe stacks up for flapjack fans

"These might be the best pancakes I've ever had," our Forum photographer, Logan Werlinger, said has he tasted the featured subject of our recent photo shoot.

Homemade bacon pancakes
Homemade Bacon Pancakes are a simple creation that provides flavors that go well beyond boxed recipes. And a special cooking method helps them rise to a higher level. Logan Werlinger / The Forum
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"These might be the best pancakes I've ever had," our Forum photographer, Logan Werlinger, said has he tasted the featured subject of our recent photo shoot.

With praise like that, we knew we were on the right course with our recipe for a breakfast specialty we call Homemade Bacon Pancakes.

As a "restaurant family," breakfast is our special time to sit and eat a meal together. Tony is usually the master of the breakfast menu, and Gio and I have been only too happy to sit back and enjoy the meal. A family favorite has always been pancakes, and up until recently Tony has been a big fan of Aunt Jemima's pancake mix.

Our 20-year-old griddle quit working several months ago, and I finally found a good replacement for it just before Father's Day. Gio and I wanted to make a special breakfast for Tony and decided we would depart from our usual box-mix pancakes and attempt to make our own from scratch.

Homemade pancakes are surprisingly easy to make, and the result is a pancake that is superior to anything made from a box. What makes these pancakes even more special is a tip I learned from my cousin, Zack Berger, when he was visiting our family last summer.

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Zack made Bisquick pan-cakes for us each morning, which took on a new iden-tity after he cooked them in a bit of bacon grease. Quite simply, they tasted amazing, better and dif-ferent than any other pancakes I've had. I knew I had to make these one day for Tony.

According to Tony, bacon and pancakes were made for each other, and after enjoying his Father's Day treat he says he will never use boxed pancakes again.

Bacon fat can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three months, but if you cook the bacon just before the pancakes you'll have a proper breakfast waiting for you when you finish.

Our recipe makes about 10 medium-sized pancakes and consists of just seven ingredients, all of which are common pantry sta-ples. A touch of vanilla added to the mix adds flavor and depth to the pancakes, enhancing the made-from-scratch experi-ence.

We recently started using Dakota Maid all-purpose flour, which seems to be lighter and better-sifted than other brands, and we truly believe it improved the overall quality of our pancakes.

These pancakes are slightly sweet with a tex-ture that is light, fluffy, airy and soft. To achieve this perfect texture, mix the batter until it is just a little bit lumpy - the lumps should be small but still present.

Cooking the pancakes in bacon grease doesn't make them taste like bacon, but it ensures each cake has a wonderful, golden-brown crust.

We're in Delaware this week, celebrating a family reunion dubbed Schmeck-fest by my extended An-stett family (of German-from-Russia heritage), and we can't wait to make our version of Bacon Pancakes for Zack and the gang.

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We serve our Bacon Pan-cakes with a pat of butter, pure maple syrup (Tony is Canadian after all), a sim-ple fresh fruit salad and, of course, bacon.

Home with the Lost Italian is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owns Sarello's restaurant in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their 8-year-old son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at dine@sarellos.com . All previous recipes can be found at http://thelostitalian.areavoices.com

Homemade Bacon Pancakes

Ingredients

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ tablespoons baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon sugar

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1¼ cup milk or buttermilk (start with 1 cup and add more as needed, up to 1 ¼ cup)

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons butter, melt-ed

Directions

Mix the dry ingredients to-gether in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, 1 cup of milk and vanilla to-gether, then lightly incorpo-rate 1 cup of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.

When the ingredients have just come together, stir in the melted butter until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix, and gently stir just until it's somewhat smooth but still has small lumps. If too thick, add the remaining ¼ cup of milk.

Heat the griddle or pan to medium-high (approximately 350 degrees). Once the surface is hot, lightly grease with bacon fat. Use a ladle or ¼ measuring cup to pour the batter onto the hot surface, leaving space between each cake.

As the pancakes cook, bubbly little holes will start to appear, but continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer before flipping. Cook for about 2 to 3 more minutes, until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with pure maple syrup and enjoy!

Easy Fresh Fruit Salad

Ingredients

Watermelon, cubed

Honeydew melon, cubed

Cantaloupe, cubed

Pineapple, cubed

Kiwi, cut into rounds or half-moon slices

Blueberries. whole

Strawberries, sliced

Raspberries, whole

Grapes, whole

Juice from one orange

Directions

To save a step, I often pur-chase my melon and pineap-ple pre-cut from the grocery store. Mix with your favorite fruits (if using banana, add just before serving) and coat with the juice of one orange. Prepare the night before serving, as the juices will marinate and create a won-derful syrup in the salad.

Related Topics: FOODRECIPES
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