The Real Scoop on Pancakes

Scoops are on my mind. Thanks to a reader who wanted more information, the many uses for scoops – or “dishers”, as they call them in the (la-de-da) culinary world, are popping up everywhere I look. Anyone who knows me knows that when I get an idea in my head, I’m not happy until I’ve chewed it up, spit it out, and then dissected it until I’m exhausted. Eeeuw, that sounded disgusting! Seriously, it’s critical that I’ve wrung every little bit of information out of something and explained it to my satisfaction. Hmm. Maybe that’s why I always get voice mail when I call someone.

So, here is another blog about scoops – and pancakes.

I like little tiny silver dollar pancakes. Pancakes that you can pop in your mouth without cutting or biting. Nice and brown, crispy around the edges, topped with butter and swimming in syrup. They are made with my #60 scoop.

My husband, however, likes big flapjacks. Lumberjack-sized hotcakes fit for Paul Bunyan. It makes a bowl of batter disappear quickly – less time slaving over a hot griddle – so I don’t object. For those, I use my #10 scoop.

Here is a picture of the pancakes I made this morning using all four of my scoops. From left to right, the scoop size was: #60, #50, #30, #10.

Pancakes! Bring on the butter and syrup!

It’s time for a disclaimer here. If you use a pancake mix, your pancakes will probably turn out bigger than mine. I make my own batter, and it puts the “cake” in pancake! The batter is thick and fluffy, and retains its round shape when it drops out of the scoop onto a hot griddle. I actually take a knife or spatula and spread them out a bit. Pancake batter from a mix is thinner and makes larger (and in my opinion, rubbery) pancakes. Just sayin’.

Yes, I like a “little” pancake with my syrup.

I’ll add my pancake recipe here for those who’ve been converted to my “homemade is best” propaganda!


2 cups all-purpose flour
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk *
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients with a whisk.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and oil.
  • Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and whisk until blended. (If you want it a little thinner, add a little milk or buttermilk.) Don’t stir too much – you want to keep the air in the batter!
  • Drop batter onto a hot, greased griddle. Flip when the pancakes are getting a little dry on top and the bottom is a deep golden brown.

* If you don’t have buttermilk, just skip the baking soda and use regular milk. Still delicious!

See? So much better than “add water and stir” mixes, without all the added unidentifiable ingredients. Enjoy!




The Real Scoop About Scoops

Scoops are one of the handiest things in the kitchen. They save time, effort, and mess. I’ll give you the rundown on sizes and uses, and then show you how they can simplify making delicious Lemon Raspberry Streusel Muffins.

Here are the four scoops I own and use regularly. My completely unscientific testing leads me to believe they are (from small to large) sizes 60, 50, 30, and 10. As you can see, the smaller the scoop the bigger the number!

From left to right, my favorite uses are: meatballs (I like them small), cookies, muffins/cupcakes, and pancakes (my husband likes them big.) Here is a link to a size chart that might help you.

Basically, when you find one that’s a size you don’t have, buy it! You know you will find some use for it.

A word of warning. Perhaps you are more coordinated than I, but I’ve learned to respect the scoop when I’m washing it. You know…you wash it, then you squeeze the handle so the little scooping bar will move the other direction so you can wash under it, then you let go of the handle while your finger is still in there, and it bites you. Okay – it bites me! Hopefully you will learn from my pain and be cautious

Though I’m pretty casual about the appearance of my baked goods (unless they’re being entered into a fair; then I’m very particular!) there is just something satisfying about a cooling rack of orderly little cookies that are all the same exact size and shape. Maybe that’s because I grew up on Oreos and Vanilla Wafers. I remember feeling sorry for the kids who had to bring homemade cookies in their lunch. Good grief. Anyhow, if you use a scoop and level it off on the side of the bowl between cookies, yours will be uniform too!

Have you ever tried to pour cupcake batter into the liners and had it drip all over the pan, where it baked to a miserable little crisp that you had to soak off? Me, too. Now I use my #30 scoop and then add a little more with a teaspoon. If I can get my hands on a #20, it will be one smooth step towards cupcake perfection!

Here’s that muffin recipe for you, with photos below.

makes 12

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (just the yellow, not the bitter white flesh underneath)
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 pint of fresh raspberries, or a cup of frozen (don’t thaw.)

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 F
Put cupcake liners in cupcake pan.
Mix together all ingredients for streusel topping. Set aside.
Sift (twice!) the dry ingredients for muffins into a medium bowl. Add grated lemon peel and mix together.

In small bowl, beat egg well. Add buttermilk, salad oil, and vanilla, and mix well. Stir in the lemon juice.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquids. Fold gently, just until ingredients are moistened. Don’t over-stir. A little bit of flour showing is okay!

Using a #30 scoop (or two rounded tablespoons)  scoop batter into cupcake liners. The batter will be very light and airy, like chiffon. Be gentle! You should have a little batter left over. Set it aside for the moment.

Lightly press 3 raspberries into the center of each mound of batter. Divide the remaining batter between the muffins, putting a dollop on top of the raspberries. Don’t worry about smoothing the top or making it even. Top with whatever berries you have left. One is fine on each dollop. Two would be better!

Cover each muffin with streusel, using a spoon if you like. I’m kind of a hands-on person, so I just scoop it up with my fingers, sprinkle it generously over the top, and pat it very gently. It will probably get on the muffin pan. Don’t worry about it – it’s fine. If you’re one of THOSE people, you are welcome to take a pastry brush and clean it off before baking, but I sure wouldn’t.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes. They should be a nice golden brown. If in doubt, you can always insert a toothpick in the middle of one muffin and return the pan to the oven if the toothpick comes out gooey.

Place the pan on a cooling rack until they’re cool enough to handle, then take them from the pan and let the muffins continue to cool on the rack.

If you want icing on your muffins, just mix the ingredients together and drizzle. If it’s too thick, add a little water.


Scooping muffin batter with my good-old #30 scoop!


And…a dollop of batter on the berries.


Covered with streusel, decorated with a berry, ready to bake.


Behold – a sweet and tangy morsel of deliciousness!