Let’s say you decide to bake cookies with four kids. And let’s say a great time is had by all, minus that brief moment when four hands vied for the one cookie scoop. The older ones resorted to fisticuffs and strong armed the scoop out of little hands. The younger ones, not to be outdone by age and brute strength, resorted to screaming, crying and, because I have longed for an opportunity to use this word for years, caterwauling. (An angel in nerd heaven just received her wings and +1.75 half frame reading glasses.)
Let’s also say that after the day of fun ends, you find yourself huddled in the corner sobbing gently into cupped hands while the two children that belong to you tear through the house powered by the boundless energy that comes only from sugar highs. And now it’s time to make dinner, except you would rather visit Walmart during a Tax Free Weekend event than enter that room again. Let’s assume that happened, hypothetically speaking.
Might I suggest Dutch Baby Pancakes for dinner? They are a snap to make and require a minimum of ingredients. You toss them in the oven until puffy and golden brown (it will collapse like a souffle when it comes out of the oven). Sprinkle them with powdered sugar and drizzle them with maple syrup. Or not! Make bacon in the oven, too. Or not! Take a great picture to show everyone. Or not!
They don’t photograph that well, but they are quiet, stand still, and satisfy even those who have been stealing freshly baked cookies behind their mother’s back for hours on end.
Dutch Baby Pancakes
adapted, barely, from Gourmet
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I skipped it)
* 3 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
* 2/3 cup whole milk at room temperature
* 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
* Equipment: a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (I don’t have one. I used my 10 inch All-Clad and the world didn’t end.)
* Accompaniment: lemon wedges
Put skillet on middle rack of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
Stir together sugar and zest in a small bowl. (Skipped! Too tired. No lemons. I used plain Sucanat.)
Beat eggs with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and frothy, then beat in milk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and continue to beat until smooth, about 1 minute more (batter will be thin).
Add butter to hot skillet and melt, swirling to coat. Add batter and immediately return skillet to oven. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 25 minutes.
Serve immediately, topped with lemon sugar. (Again, I used plain Sucanat, but powdered sugar or maple syrup is good, too.)