I am an unapologetic champion of baking mixes. Baking from scratch is great, and if you have the time and resources to do so, go for it. But mixes are one of the first modern hacks, and their introduction helped lighten the workload of (mostly) women performing unpaid labour in the home. This — in addition to being lackadaisical in my personal life — makes me an unabashed fan.
Rather than thinking of mixes as “cheating,” I like to think of them as time-saving blank canvases on which I can paint new, more flavourful masterpieces. A lot of pancake mixes, for example, are perfectly fine with no additions, but adding just one extra ingredient can transform the mundane into something special.
I’ve been on a cottage cheese pancake rampage, but my coworker Tim recently turned me on to lemon zest pancakes, which are deceptively delicious, and extremely easy to make.
Just make a batch of (approximately six or eight) pancakes however you normally would, pausing to mix the zest of an entire medium lemon into the dry ingredients before you add your wets. That’s it. That’s all you have to do.
Mix up the batter, making sure to leave it lumpy, then fry ‘em up on the griddle. The resulting pancakes are sunny and lightly lemon-flavoured, with yellow bits of funfetti-like zest distributed throughout. Rather than tasting fruity and sweet, they taste lightly floral and fancy. The zest lightens and brightens, tempering the richness of the pancake and sweetness of the syrup (or perhaps some chocolate chips).