I am not a person who goes out for brunch very often but, as soon as something is taken away from me, I desire it. Crappy bottomless mimosas, overpriced egg dishes, and waiting in line (with other people!) all sound pretty appealing at the moment, as do piles of boujee pancakes.
Fortunately, a lifetime of being lazy has prepared me for this moment, as I have compiled many tricks for perking up store-bought pancake mix.
You want your batter to be wet, without any huge dry spots, but you don’t want to break up the lumps and bumps. A rougher consistency helps the batter grab on to the gases released during leavening, letting your pancakes climb to their proper height. I tried it last Saturday and can confirm that though it goes against some of my more neurotic impulses, it definitely resulted in better, fluffier pancakes which, in turn, resulted in a better Saturday.
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 flavored, with yellow bits of funfetti-like zest distributed throughout. Rather than tasting fruity and sweet, they taste lightly floral and fancy.
They’re like ricotta pancakes, except tangier (and—usually—a little cheaper)….The cheese brings its own moisture, so you’ll need to cut back the water a bit. If you’re working with a box mixture, take the volume of water you would usually add, and divide it in half. Add that much cottage cheese, then add half that measurement for your water (so, a quarter of your original amount.) Mix, evaluate, then drizzle in the last quarter portion until you have a pourable batter
Obviously, chocolate candy works better than fruit candy here. It melts through the batter, creeps to the surface of the pancakes, and caramelizes into toffee-like bits. (It even transforms bad chocolate into something palatable.) It’s very good, but very powerful. You only need one mini bar per cake, or one “fun size” bar for two cakes. You may be tempted to chop a whole bunch of bars and add them to your bowl of batter, but I would caution you against this. Candy cakes are very sweet, and you might want some plain bois in there to balance out the sugar rush. Just pour your pancake batter into the pan like you usually would, then sprinkle your chopped chocolate into the cooking batter.
The amount of extra water you use will depend on your mix, but just add extra quarter-cups until you have a thin batter that stays flat and thin when you pour it in that pan. You may have to test a few out. Eat the rejects. Fry them in whatever oil sounds good to you, or whatever you have around. Butter makes a more mottled blini; a tiny bit of vegetable or other neutral oil in a nonstick pan makes a more uniform blini. Make a whole bunch of them.
There were some structural and textural differences between the pancake omelet and a traditional one, but it was springy and (a little) spongey, not fluffy. But that’s ok. Culinary semantics aside, this omelet is enjoyable. It’s got a nice bounce to it, it’s slightly sweet, and the little bit of colour it gets on the outside tastes toasty, not burnt. It was also a bit more durable during cooking, and flipped and folded more easily than any other omelet I’d ever made.
If none of that cures your brunch-centric longing, just add more mimosas, or perhaps a jam jar cocktail. Besides people, booze is what makes brunch brunch.