#965 Building a stack of pancakes that looks just like the front of the box

The goal

It’s no joke and it takes teamwork, timing, and trust, but building a stack of pancakes that looks just like the front of the box can be one of the most rewarding breakfast experiences of your life. Here’s how you can make the magic happen:

1. Assemble a team. You will need a Cook, a Condimenter, and a Table-Setter. The Cook should be an early riser and self-starter. They need to have the skill and confidence required to make breakfast for a group as well as a basic understanding of what a circle looks like. Your Condimenter needs to understand the value of real butter and decent maple syrup and know where to find it. A driver’s license is necessary here. And lastly, there’s the Table-Setter. Prior experience is mandatory. Also a plus is the ability to fold napkins into nice triangles.

2. Night-Before Prep Work. Yes, the show begins the night before. The Condimenter needs to make sure all the key ingredients are in the house. Is there enough powder in the pancake box? Is the tap water running okay? How about the syrup and butter? If necessary, make a list and go to the store before it closes. We don’t want to find out in the morning that something’s missing. Nobody will sleep well not knowing.

3. Rest up. It doesn’t matter what time you go to sleep. Just make sure you squeeze enough solid hours of golden slumbers in there to power up the juices and get the engine revving the next morning. Remember: groggy kitchen work is sloppy kitchen work. Nobody likes an oblong pancake.

The spider pancake

4. Wake up and get down to pancakes. Showtime! Now it’s the Cook’s time to shine. This job is not for the weak minded. The Cook must first set the oven to a low temperature, because that’s going to be the holding bay until a full stack of pancakes are ready. This isn’t going to be one of those “Got a fresh one on the frying pan — who wants it!” type of days. This is a slow building crescendo towards a massive stack of pancakes. Let’s not forget that. Once we’ve got the oven set low, the Cook starts doing their thing — tying their hair into a bandana if necessary, getting the frying pan warmed up, mixing the batter. The Cook must be able to sacrifice their own rumbling stomach for the good of the group. There can be no breaks until the full stack of pancakes are cooked, kept warm, and ready to serve. The Table-Setter must be busy here too, pulling out the silverware, laying out the plates, and folding napkins. And rounding out this majestic circus-like performance is the Condimenter, busy pouring juice and jigsawing perfect squares of butter.

Team, remember what we’re playing for here: a towering stack of hot, fluffy pancakes drizzled with sweet, slow-moving syrup, delicately topped with a thick, perfectly melting square of butter.

Yes, it takes a bit of time. Yes, it takes real effort. And yes, you will require a solid lineup of team players who never take their eyes off the end goal. But what could be more fun on a weekend morning than creating your very own stack of pancakes that looks just like the front of the box? (Hint: Nothing.)

AWESOME!

What we're playing for

45 thoughts on “#965 Building a stack of pancakes that looks just like the front of the box

  1. I don’t want to be the downer here, but your pancakes don’t look much like the ones on the front of the box. The butter’s not square and there’s syrup everywhere.

    1. Dave has a point that the butter is smudgy smear of butter. And I think how they took the picture on the box-pancake is they just put the syrup in the refrigerator before and that made it slow moving. Anyways, thats one sloppy piece of baked flour there.

      1. for your margerine dellema you need to use real butter and cut a cube outta it then take a really think syrup and pour the syrup over the pancakes then place the butter on the stack, thats how you finish the “perfect stack”

  2. What’s your strategy for eating the big stack? I used to know a guy who would take a big stack (no less than 4 pancakes), and then cut a deep square out of the entire stack (through the middle of each pancake, creating a deep well, within the stack). He would then proceed to pour syrup until it filled up the whole, and then he would wait until it seeped into the pancakes and fully drained away. He would repeat this step at least two more times, at which point it would no longer drain, as the pancakes are now super-saturated with syrup. (In the true scientific sense of the term. If you were to lower the temperature of the pancakes at all, the syrup would crystalize).

    At any rate, at this point, he would then just cover the rest in syrup, and then proceed to hack at the pancakes with a knife and fork (not eating yet, just cutting them up). He would continue this until he’d created a giant pile of “pancake mush”. This would be followed by one last dousing in syrup over the whole pile of mush. Then he would get a spoon (yes, a spoon), and proceed to shovel down this pile of syrupy goo, into that giant hole in his face.

    As much as I love syrup (and I do – I’m a big proponent of the syrup in every square of a waffle-technique), this was revolting to watch, but also impossible to look away.

    What a terrible thing to do to a beautiful stack of pancakes, that looks just like the one on the front of the box!

  3. I never make a stack. In my house we eat ’em as we make ’em! If I yell “I’m making pancakes, who wants one!” and you don’t show up fast enough, that’s your tough luck. What’s awesome to me is eating a fresh, steaming pancake right out of the pan!

  4. Also, don’t forget one of the most important steps: Always throw out the first couple of pancakes! Otherwise you get that thin, gritty, white one that no one wants to get and is a mockery of the pancakes on the box.

  5. In England, we eat thin pancakes. These are much tastier, and are nothing like crepes. Because crepes are French. We eat pancakes. The tasty kind.

    1. european pancakes > american pancakes.
      especially when you forego the syrup and pick sifted powedered sugar.

  6. Hi, two problems with this posting. Though it seems to be more rooted in humor than actual useful information. One, you don’t need 95% of the things described in this article to produce a picture perfect pancake, and two, you didn’t actually explain how one would go about portioning each pancake, as in measuring cup, etc, what type of pan used, how would you greese it, cooking time, etc. Three, the last photo of pancakes is not close to those on the box, nor would it be the outcome of such meticulous preparation and planning.

    In conclusion the artcile was good for a little humor but nothing much else, and to finish off, I’ve actually produced picture perfect pancakes, anytime of the day, with no previous preparation and varying amounts of prior sleep. If you’d like to know how, continue to read on. I like to use the Hungry Jack Buttermilk Pancake mix. I’ll use a nonstick pan at medium / high heat and coated with either a spray oil, or thinly coat the bottom of the pan with vegetable or corn oil. I move the pancake batter to a measuring cup so I can give the same amount of batter to each pancake. It should take between 1 and 2 minutes per side. You’ll know the first side is ready when you see little pinholes all over the top side, and the bottom is a golden brown. When you finally serve the pancakes into their respective “stacks” the pancakes are with the second side to cook facing down. The pretty golden brown surface that people see on the perfect stack is the first side to cook, the second side will never come out quite as pretty. After you complete the stack, place some room temperature butter squares on top, the heat of the pancakes will take care of the melting, then cover with your favorite syrup. There you have it, the real secret to perfect pancakes. A delicous treat at anytime of the day. And if you want choclate chip pancakes, add 1 or 2 packets of your favorite hot coco mix to the batter and you’re all set.

    1. But how is that chocolate chip? Adding cocoa mix would only make it chocolate, which is yummy btw.

      No, the only way to get chocolate chip pancakes is to add chocolate chips.

    2. Does the hot coco mix naturally congeal into chocolate chips within pancake batter? How does this work? Does it work? Does it just make (delicious) chocolate pancakes? I need to know!

  7. Good article, but the importance of greasing the cooking surface and using REAL maple syrup cannot be stressed enough. Also heating the syrup is a must.

  8. I’d rather eat crepes, which are much thinner. It is amazing to spread peanut butter on the crepe, then roll the crepe up, pour maple syrup on top, cut in pieces and eat. Mmmm, delicieux!!

  9. I have yet to master the art of making pancakes. They are either burnt or not done in the middle. Every now and then a good one will pop out. I would love for one day to make some that look just like the box.

    1. Bekah,
      you need patience. Turn the burner lower so they don’t burn and be patient for them to cook all the way through. My mother’s pancakes always were either burnt or semi-cooked and when I learned to be patient, the pancakes turned out AWESOME!

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  11. My family always leave the pancake making to me. As much as I love cooking once in awhile, it is a lot of hard work! I don’t put cooking oil in the pan I just put a little butter so it won’t stick, and it does work. We usually eat our pancakes with eggs, so as to balance the sweetness with some salt, ’cause too much sugar can make you feel a liiitle sick (trust me, I always bathe my pancakes in syrup). So there’s the trouble of making pancakes and eggs, and don’t even get me started on cleaning the mess after I’m down! I’m always on my own on those occasional mornings, since I hate it when my mom’s in the way! : }

  12. As much as I love pancakes, will drag myself out of bed to make them, I hate syrup.

    True, it is delicious, but I prefer my pancakes on the thicker side with chocolate chips and that’s IT.

    Also, pancakes with bananas are delicious :)

  13. I used to make heart shaped pancakes for my girls when they had slumber parties, so never looked anything like the pictures, but the kids raved!

  14. I find it depressing when something looks so good on a menu, and when it comes it looks like a sloppy, disappointing mess. Ain’t that happened to all of us?

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