Let's face it: Pancakes can make or break a morning. A fluffy shortstack slathered in syrup will make you feel like a champion, while a lackluster batch could put a damper on the rest of your day—maybe even your week. To prevent the latter scenario from happening, we tapped chef Neil Kleinberg of cult-favorite New York City brunch joint Clinton St. Baking Co. for his world renowned recipe (literally—the restaurant has outposts in Tokyo, Dubai, Singapore, and soon, Bangkok).
The secret? Avoid overmixing. It creates gluten in the flour and makes the pancakes dense and tough. "What really makes these blueberry pancakes extra special is the classic technique, not to mention all the love ... and butter," Kleinberg recently told InStyle. Below, the one recipe you need in your life, plucked from the pages of the Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook ($26; amazon.com), just in time for National Pancake Day. Happy holidays, people.
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Yield: 18 to 20 three-inch pancakes
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
6 large eggs, separated
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tsp unmelted for the griddle
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1. Measure and sift all the dry ingredients into a large (preferably stainless steel) mixing bowl: flour, baking powder, sugar, salt.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture. The result should be slightly lumpy, yet combined to form a batter.
3. Whip the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl until they reach medium peaks (soft in the middle). You can either whip them by hand with a whisk or put them in the bowl of an electric mixer to whip. Be careful, you don’t want to overwhip the egg whites.
4. Gently mix half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Then gently fold the remaining half into the batter. Remember: this batter should be slightly lumpy and have large parts of egg whites not fully incorporated; it should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top. (The batter will last a few hours in the fridge without deflating too much.)
5. Heat a griddle—either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat pan—to 350 to 375°F. Grease the hot griddle with the remaining butter. Drop cup (approximately 4 tablespoons) of pancake batter on the griddle and cook to set. Add 1 tablespoon blueberries or sliced bananas and 1 teaspoon walnuts before turning the pancakes. Never add the fruit to the mix; always add the fruit to the pancakes once they’re on the griddle. When you see bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crispy on the edges. If ready, flip the pancake.
6. When the pancake is golden brown on both sides, remove with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, cooking several pancakes at a time. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar.