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Fluffy Pancakes {For Dad, with Love}

| 81 Comments

This golden batch of Fluffy Pancakes is in honor of one of the most important men in my life, my dad. Were he still with us, he would be 53 years old today.
Fluffy Pancakes: A recipe for classic, fluffy pancakes.This is my first time writing about my dad here, at least directly. Almost eight years ago when I was still in college, he died tragically in a plane crash, which isn’t exactly information one drops casually in the midst of a post about, say, muffins.

Easy to bring up or not, I wanted to talk about my dad because he is a big part of who I am, both in life and in death.

Fluffy Pancakes: Simple, classic, perfect pancake recipe.I struggled with my identity after he died, mostly because I felt like I had been branded. When something happens to you that drastically affects the way you perceive every second of your existence, it’s easy to forget that to everyone else, it’s just Tuesday. After the funeral, I felt like I was wearing a giant sign around my neck that read, “Hey! I’m the girl whose dad died.” Grief can be pretty all consuming, so it’s easy to forget that you have a life outside of it. Also, for the first few years after his death, I never needed to tell people about it—my friends at school and home already knew.

This changed after college. As new friends grew to know me, they eventually learned that my dad had passed away and how. Breaking this kind of news is tricky, because the other person often doesn’t know how to react. Before either of us realizes what’s happening, my friend is apologizing profusely, and I am doing the consoling. I never mind when this happens.

Because it feels good to talk about my dad.

He was a wonderful man, a loving father, and fiercely dedicated to family game night.

He tried to hold my hand in public until the age it became embarrassing, and I wouldn’t let him.

He taught me to ride a bike and to drive.

He ended every conversation with, “I love you.”

He made the world’s fluffiest pancakes every Saturday morning.

Despite my best efforts, I cannot recreate the thickness and softness of those pancakes. Sure, I can load up a batter to make a fatty pancake, but his were different—despite their thickness, they remained pillowy soft and melted on my tongue like the daintiest of flapjacks. His recipe was directly out of an old, beat-up copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, (the pancake page was very crusty), but the recipe in the cookbook’s most recent edition (the one on my shelf) has been updated to include buttermilk, which an ingredient for which my dad’s version did not call.

I realize that with a few rounds of Google, I could find my dad’s version of the recipe, but to be honest with you, I’d rather not. Between the Mardi Gras King Cake French Toast, Zucchini Waffles, and Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls that I’m busy dreaming up (and devouring) for this little corner of the internet, it’s not often that I stir together a simple batch of pancakes like these. I like not obsessing over them. Making classic pancakes connects me to my dad, so if I need to spend the next 40 years going rounds with flour, milk, and baking powder to rediscover his perfect, fluffy pancake recipe, I’m OK with that.

The version of Fluffy Pancakes I’m giving you today is my latest rendition. No, they don’t rival my dad’s for his supreme thickness, but they are delightfully tender, lightly fluffy, and perfect for lazy weekends in cozy slippers. They also make a lovely birthday breakfast, if I do say so myself.
Fluffy Pancakes: A recipe for classic, soft pancakes that are easy to make and pretty much perfect.Thank you all for letting me share a little bit about my dad with you. Though he was taken many, many years too soon, I know he is still with me. It feels right to give him a bit of space here, were I spend so many hours.

Happy Birthday Daddy. I love you.

Fluffy Pancakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 8, 4-inch pancakes

Fluffy Pancakes

Fluffy, tender pancakes, in honor of my dad. Although his were the thickest and fluffiest in the land, my version is still delightful and will make for a very happy morning. Lightly fluffy and ultra-moist, this is a classic pancake recipe that comes together in 15 minutes, with ingredients you already have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Butter, pure maple syrup, or other toppings, for serving

Directions

  1. Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 200 degrees F. Have a large baking sheet or pan on hand. Heat a large, non-stick skillet or griddle over medium.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large measuring cup or another medium mixing bowl, combine the milk, egg, canola oil, and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir with a fork just till moistened (batter should be lumpy).
  4. Once the skillet is properly heated (do not add the batter when the skillet is cold), lightly grease skillet with butter or cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Cook about 2 minutes on each side, until the pancakes are golden brown. When the batter forms a bubbly surface and the edges are dry, it is time to flip. Turn to the second side and cook until golden. Remove to a baking pan and place in the preheated oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with butter, pure maple syrup, or any other topping you fancy.
http://www.thelawstudentswife.com/2014/02/fluffy-pancakes-for-dad-with-love/

Author: Erin Clarke

I'm Erin, and I'm on a mission to cook everything that's tasty, {mostly} healthy, and budget-friendly—all while Mr. Right is in the library. I'm convinced that cheese and chocolate are the answer, that you can love sweets and veggies equally, and that delicious, satisfying food should be accessible to everyone. The recipes here are affordable, approachable, and delectable, and I can't wait to share them with you!

81 Comments

  1. Yes, my eyes are misty after reading your blog this morning. But they are happy tears because I know your dad loved you very much & you also returned that love & still do. My own dad’s birthday will be coming up in 12 days & even though he lived much longer than your dad, 81 years, I didn’t want to lose him either. He couldn’t boil water but he taught me so much & I still follow many of his teachings. The one thing that always sticks in my mind was his great knowledge even though he didn’t even finish grade school. He could do math in his head faster than many can with a calculator. He taught me & my brothers that if a job is worth doing it is worth doing right. A great philosophy from a wonderful man. He was a man of great faith & lived it with his everyday life and not just on Sundays. I love you too, Dad, & Happy Birthday!

  2. This is my favorite post of yours ever. Thank you for being so real and transparent with us! I nearly cried from reading this. You are one strong girl to go through that and be able to be so open about it! I think I love you even more!
    These pancakes look amazing and I am more than sure that they would make your dad proud!

  3. What a beautiful post. I’m always amazed at the power of food to connect us to the ones we love, even the ones that are no longer here with us. Will be thinking of you today as you remember your dad.

  4. My eyes filled with tears reading this. What a sweet tribute to your dad and what a beautiful way to say it all. You did this post wonderfully.

  5. Thank you for sharing such a tender hearted post with us. If you inherited one ounce of personality from your dad, I’m positive he was a fantastic human being.
    I love when you said that you’d be happy to go around and around trying to perfect this recipe because that’s the fun of it. And when you said you love to talk about him, well, that made my eyes tear up.
    Love ya!

  6. This was such a lovely post, thank you for sharing with us about your dad :) I also have memories of my dad making delicious pancakes on the weekends and, of course, I can never get mine to turn out quite as well as his! Looking forward to trying this recipe! Sending you lots of good thoughts as you celebrate your dad today :)

  7. This must be one of the best posts I have read… you did a beautiful job writing about your dad with such tenderness and full of love. It brought tears to my eyes. This pancake recipe looks absolutely scrumptious – I am sure your daddy would be so proud!

  8. What a great tribute to a someone who was obviously a great person! And what a fond memory to have with him that you can always hold close to your heart. Great post, Erin!

  9. What a lovely post. While I have tears in my eyes after reading, it also brings a big smile to face at the same time. Loved hearing all the wonderful words about your Dad, and I’m sure he’d think these were the best pancakes in the world!

  10. I am so sorry for you loss! That has to be so hard to lose someone you love so tragically. It’s so awesome that you can now talk about him in such a positive way. *hugs*

  11. i have known you through this cyber world but already adore you and no doubt your dad was awesome! he is probably watching you whip these pancakes and feeling really proud of his little girl :) lots of hugs.

  12. Awww Erin, your dad must be so proud – what a sweet sweet dedication. Happy Birthday to him.
    These pancakes look so fluffy, Erin!

  13. Such a lovely post, Erin. Some mornings, I dip my toast in my coffee just to reconnect with my grandfather, who happened to be my best friend in the entire world. When I was little, we would both dip our toast in his milky coffee. It’s amazing how connected we can feel to our loved ones through food. Sending you lots of love today.

    • Amber, what a lovely picture of you and your grandfather and coffee and toast. Completely warms my heart. Thank you so much for sharing that sweet memory, and big hugs to you too!

  14. Thank you for sharing your story. I will certainly try these pancakes. I appreciate ALL of your posts.

  15. I love this post, Erin. Your dad sounds like he was a super special guy. I bet he’d be proud of where you are and what you’ve accomplished — and what you’re trying to accomplish (that is to say, making his fluffy pancakes :)). Hugs, friend!

  16. Erin, that was a lovely tribute to Daddy. I happen to know that recipe by heart and, guess what? You recreated it exactly as above (+ the vanilla)! Love you, Elizabeth and Elaine forever! <3, Mom

    • Erin’s Mom, you have a lovely daughter who is a testament to the way you and your husband raised her. You must be so filled with pride and love!

  17. What a lovely and sweet post, Erin…it brought tears to my eyes! No doubt your Dad would be beyond proud of you today. Lots of hugs to you!

  18. Beautiful post. Thanks so much for sharing.

  19. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing with all of us. Your dad sounds like a wonderful person, and I’m so sorry you lost him too soon Erin. I bet he would be proud of these pancakes you made. Shine on girl : )

  20. This is such a sweet post, Erin. My dad makes pancakes every Saturday morning as well, so I could really relate to that part and the thought of recreating them and honoring him here on your blog. I’m so sorry you lost him, but thank you for sharing!

  21. Erin,
    I’m so sorry to learn about your dad’s death. What a wonderful way to honor him…both this post and with pancakes. To me pancakes are the ultimate comfort breakfast food and it seems fitting they remind you of your dad. Hugs!!

  22. Hi Erin!
    I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your dad so tragically and so young. I’m sure he was proud of you. I wish he had lived to see your success today…to read your blog, but I know he’s somehow looking down from above and smiling. My dad died when I was ten, and so many things remind me of him. I loved the scrambled eggs he made on Saturday mornings, using Lawrey’s Salt. That scent still reminds me of him and makes me smile. My son Dan is also a reminder of him. He looks so much like my dad, and has the same work ethic. I do believe that we carry our loved ones with us after they leave this earth. Sounds like your dad was a very loving, kind, and upbeat guy. Thanks for sharing. <3

    • Diane, I loved reading your memory about your dad and seasoning salt. Isn’t it special how reminders like these can recall the ones we love? Thank you so, so much for your kind words! It means more than I can say.

  23. This is so beautifully written, Erin. Thanks for sharing his story in such a meaningful post. <3

  24. Such a personal post. You articulated a perfect picture of your father. So happy when food has such depth to it. Nothing beats a fathers breakfast. This made me think of my father. Although he is still alive, when I was younger he made pancakes nearly every morning…have no idea how I didn’t get sick of them! Hah! Thanks so much for opening yourself up. I totally am going to make these. I’m sure your father is looking down and smiling :D

  25. You are blessed to have loving memories of your beloved dad. Hidden diamonds… Thank you for sharing your dad’s memory with all of us. Can’t wait to make these pancakes. May your beautiful memories of your dad always be for a blessing. I too miss my dad every day. My dad died on Memorial Day 2002. He was a WW11 Veteran and find this to be a strange coincidence.

    • Susan I am blessed by memories indeed! I hope you feel that way about your dad too. Wishing you love and peace. Thank you for your kind words; I can’t say enough how much they mean!

  26. Erin, this was the kind of post I needed to read today! It is so easy to get caught up in oneself. Thanks for reminding me I might not always have my Dad to make us pancakes every Saturday (funny how similar the traditions we share!) Your photos are stunning and your post just perfect. Thank you for sharing with us!

    • Hi Mary Frances! Thanks so much for your kind note. Writing this is reflection was a reminder for me too that the times we have with those we love are to be treasured, especially pancake Saturdays :-)

  27. Thank you for this amazing post. I lost my dad three months ago on Thanksgiving very unexpectedly to a heart attack, he was only 62. He also made us the best pancakes every sunday morning and actually made them the morning before he died. This post really hit home with me as I love talking about my dad too. Thank you so much for sharing this and your fabulous recipe.

    • Amber, I am so, so sorry for your loss! Your dad also was taken far too soon, and I hope that you are able to find some peace and comfort in special memories of him. I’m sure he was a wonderful man and I know he’ll always be with you, even if it doesn’t feel that way at times. Much love and blessings!

  28. These pancakes look so delicious! This is a great post, thank you so much for sharing <3

  29. That is a beautiful post and I also believe our loved ones still hover around us when we think of them. I was touched by your writing and sorry that you lost your dad at such a young age, for both of you. I actually have a copy of the cookbook you mentioned and ran downstairs to check. I would be happy to email you a copy of the page if you’d like the recipe, but understand if you don’t. Your recipe is already a loving tribute to your dad.

    • Barbara, thank you so much for your sweet words and your incredibly kind offer. That means so much! If you have a copy, I would enjoy seeing it. If nothing else, I’m curious how close I got ;-) My email is lawstudents wife{at}gmail{dot}com. No rush or obligation though! Thanks again and have a lovely weekend.

  30. Bless your heart…I love this. Your tribute to your dad is precious. When I was a little bitty girl, we would visit my great-grandfather in Mississippi. Every morning, I would be the first one up, and Poppee would be waiting for me. Every morning, the two of us would make pancakes. He taught me how to wait until they started bubbling on top before turning them over, and how to put butter on them and then sprinkle sugar (rather than syrup) on top. 50 years later, I still eat them like that. I don’t know if they are the same or not, but I always think lovingly of my Poppee (he was more of a grandfather to me, as my grandfather passed away a month before my parents were married) and remember the love that he and I shared. While I miss him terribly, the memories will always be with me. So it will be for you. Thank you for sharing. xoxo

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Julie, and for sharing this special memory of your Poppee. He sounds like a wonderful, loving man, and I loved hearing about his pancakes. I am going to try mine with butter and sugar next time!

  31. Thanks for sharing the story about your dad, the personal stories are always the hardest ones to write. These pancakes look so fluffy and light, I know your dad would be proud!

  32. what a sweet tribute to your dad. thanks for sharing with all of us!

  33. I lost my Dad 3 weeks ago today. There is nothing like the special lessons between a man and his daughter. Thank you.

    • Hi SJ, I am so sorry for your loss, and so recently! I hope you find much peace and comfort in the wonderful memories of your father. I’m sure he was special man and is looking down on you with love.

  34. Hi Erin,
    This is my first time to your blog, and I just had to comment on your post. I actually lost my dad suddenly as well, and it has impacted every part of my life. There are a few ironies we share: My dad was 53 when he died, and he was actually the one to become embarrassed about holding hands with me (I think he was worried he’d look like one of those men). :-)
    Anyway, your story was a great one to read, and I’m happy you’ve found a way to remember him. Have a wonderful night!

  35. I need a box of Kleenex after reading that (I had a feeling I would). What a beautiful post, darling. I love you. xoxo

  36. What a beautiful post, Erin. I admire tremendously your candor and grace in sharing with us both your loss and the special meaning behind these (wonderful) pancakes. It’s amazing how food-related memories often connect us with special, special people in our lives. I can’t eat a Dunkin Donuts jelly stick or a jelly thumbprint cookie without instantly being transported to times when I would share those things with my grandma. Love holding on to moments like that. Sending good thoughts your way, girl. :)

    • Alyssa, I loved reading your jelly donut memory! That’s how I feel about my grandma whenever I eat Breyer’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (aka. world’s greatest vanilla, haha). Thanks so much for your kind words. It really means a lot :)

  37. A sweet and wonderful tribute to your father, Erin. Simply love these pancakes!

  38. Oh Erin, this is such a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing such a heartfelt and tearful story with us. Your dad sounds like he was a very special man and would be so proud of everything that you have accomplished and happy to know that you made these pancakes in his honor. *hugs*

  39. Erin, what a lovely lovely post! thanks so much for sharing about your father. . he sounds like such an amazing man! I am crying here because he sounds like my husband. . my husband who always ends every conversation with, “I love you” and makes silver dollar pancakes for our girls almost every Saturday or Sunday morning. . my husband lost both of his parents in car accidents, first his mother and then his father so I can only imagine you felt the same way he did. . . thank you again for sharing and happy birthday to your father. . looking forward to meeting you in MN for the King Arthur Flour event and maybe I’ll see you around Madison! I just moved here this past November from Seattle.

    • Thank you so, so much Alice! Pancakes are such a special tradition, and I love that your family shares it too. How neat that you are in Madison! Maybe we should go to some kind of cheese tasting together for, you know, food blog research ;-) I’m so excited for the Twin Cities event too. It’s going to be wonderful. See you soon!

  40. These look so delicious, Erin! You can’t beat a good pancake recipe- always so satisfying. :)

  41. My Grandpa would make tiny pancakes he’d call “silver dollar pancakes”, and my Dad would make HUGE, full-pan sized “monster pancakes” every time our family would go on camping trips. Amazing how such a simple thing like pancakes can bring so many sweet memories of people we love. So sorry about your Dad. Thanks for sharing such a personal story :)

    • Lauren, thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing your story about the “Silver Dollar” and “Monster” pancakes! It really means a lot. We sometimes did “Mickey Mouse” ones too, which might have been my favorite of all :)

  42. What a beautiful tribute post. This is what I love so much about blogs, that you can be real and open no matter whether you’re talking about pancakes or kittens. Thank you for sharing this, and the pancakes look wonderful.

  43. Beautiful post! It is so special that you can relive your connection with your father through food. The memories you shared will last forever and will be carried on through the recipe…it’s beautiful.

  44. Lovely post. I was misty eyed reading it. It sounds like your dad was very special.

    And these pancakes look fabulous. I like that there’s no butter in the batter.

  45. What a beautiful and sweet tribute to your dad! He sounds like an amazing man and would be very proud of you. The pancakes look delicious!
    J+C

  46. Xoxo The Reidys

  47. Erin, this is beautiful. So touching. Such a poignant post. And the pancakes are beautiful in all their delicious simplicity. Love this. xoxo

  48. This is such a wonderful post, Erin! These pancakes look super fluffy and delicious, I’m sure your dad loved them!

  49. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. This is beautiful!

  50. What a beautiful post! I lost my dad really unexpectedly when I was 24 and it really DOES help to talk about him and remember all of his funny quirks and random phrases. Your dad sounds like he was amazing — I mean, ordinary dads don’t make awesome fluffy pancakes! Thanks so much for sharing Erin.

  51. Erin, my heart breaks for you. You have such strength to write about this. It’s a lovely tribute to a man you love so much.
    My mom passed away just over three years ago, and it absolutely changes who we are and how we view the world. I really try to appreciate every little thing and enjoy every moment. Life is a gift so often taken for granted.
    It may sound kinda silly, but when I’m really missing my mom, I write her a letter on a balloon and release it up to heaven. And every night I talk to the moon. Sometimes on those really clear days, I can see the moon well into the morning. I feel like she’s reminding me that she loves me.
    Beautiful words about your dad. Although I obviously never met him, I have a feeling he would be incredibly proud of you.
    Hugs to you.

    • Gretchen, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful and touching remembrance of your mom. I think reminders that the ones we love are still with us are around us, if we take time to notice them. It sounds like you are great about seeing signs of your mom’s love, and I think that is so special and inspiring. Thank you!

  52. Such a beautiful tribute to your dad! I have tears in my eyes. I’m sure he is looking down at you and is full of pride at the amazing person you are. xoxo

  53. Erin I have been debating on weather or not to comment on this post. You see I lost my dad when I was 6 in a tragic way. To tragic for a 6 year old to understand. So at 37 I still get emotional about it. I think it is so precious you have memories that can help you heal. So I will share these with you…. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Nancy, thank you so much for sharing this deeply personal story with me. I hope you find comfort in fond thoughts of your dad–I am sure that he was an absolutely wonderful man and would be so proud of you!

  54. Erin, I’m so glad you shared this with us. I know your dad is with you in your pancake pursuit, and will be for the rest of your life.

  55. Thank you for posting this recipe. I have never had much luck with pancakes before, but this recipe is a keeper! I have already made a batch of these twice because my husband loved them so much. The only change I made was to substitute 3/4 cup vanilla goat yogurt and 1/4 cup water in place of the milk since he is lactose intolerant. Then I left out the vanilla extract because the yogurt was already flavored. Oh and coconut oil is a nice substitute for canola oil!

    • This absolutely makes my morning! I’m so happy that you liked this recipe. Thank you for sharing your review and the substitutions that you made as well. That is great information to have for others in the same situation as your husband. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

  56. I just came across your pancake recipe and the beautiful words about your dad. My dad died tragically when I was twelve years old. He was hit by a drunk driver. You said the words that fill my heart. I often wondered how the world kept moving when my daddy was gone? Even now after many years, I miss him dearly. Thank you for sharing. Who knew a pancake recipe would mean so much to me. Now I will also think of you and your sweet father when I enjoy pancakes.

    • Hi Denise,
      I am so touched by your kind words and so sorry for your loss. It sounds like we have many of the same feelings. It’s amazing how the little things, like pancakes, can keep us connected to the ones we love. Thank you so much for sharing this with me!

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