How To Make Pancake Puffs — Halloween Treat

My wife had pancake puffs at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to try making them at home. We took our regular pancake recipe, tweaked it a little, and it came out great on the first try.

Then we noticed something cool, and turned them into an awesome Halloween treat.


1 cup all-purpose flour, plus up to one more cup (see note below)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder (see note below)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive pomace oil



Combine one cup of flour, plus the sugar, baking power and salt, and whisk together.

In a separate bowl (or save cleanup and just do it in the measuring cup) combine the milk, egg and oil and whisk together.

No, you don’t need the mini-whisk. You can use a fork.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until there are no lumps.

NOTE: With normal pancakes you stop here and start pouring them out onto a hot pan. (Oops, I just typed that as “onto a hot man”. What the hell?) Also, with normal pancakes you’d only use two teaspoons of baking powder instead of two tablespoons.

For these, the batter needs to be thicker. So we doubled the flour and stirred again.

You want it thick enough that it sticks to the whisk, and it takes a few seconds for drips to settle back down into the batter.

Deep Frying

The best choice for frying is beef tallow. If you don’t have that, go for lard. Third choice (for me) is olive pomace. Same health profile as extra virgin olive oil, but with a higher smoke point and no flavor.

Before choosing your frying fat/oil, go see what Andrew has to say about them. (He’s another one of the co-authors on my upcoming book, Starting From Scratch. You can get a sample chapter here.)

If you don’t read anything else there, make sure to check the proper cooking temperature for your fat/oil. Too hot, and it will turn rancid. Too cold and it will soak into the food.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I’ve had problems in the past with running out of pomace oil and not having it deep enough in the pan. Since these were going to be little tiny balls of batter, I used the smallest pan I had and filled it two inches deep with olive pomace oil.

I kept it over high heat until a candy thermometer registered 375°. (In case it needs to be said, be very careful when deep frying. Long sleeves are a good idea, and don’t reach over the oil.

Using a melon-baller, drop scoops of batter into the oil.

If you don’t have a melon-baller, you can use a small spoon. Don’t use your finger to scoop it out. Seriously, you don’t want your hands that close to the oil. Use another spoon.

Let the first one cook by itself so you can get a feel for how quickly it cooks.

When it’s brown on the bottom, flip it over using tongs or, if you’re good with them, chopsticks. (Bamboo ones, not plastic.)

Once you’re comfortable with how fast they’re going, you can do two or three at a time.

Or go crazy and do four at once! Rock on.

As the oil got hotter, some of them squirted batter out a crack in the side and mutated a little bit. Since they weren’t going to be “pretty” for the picture, I just topped them with some maple syrup and had them as a snack.

The pretty ones went on the serving dish and got a dusting of powdered sugar.

And that’s it.

Wait … that’s not it. I said there was a Halloween treat, didn’t I?

Remember those “mutant” ones I mentioned? My daughter thought this one looked like a chicken that fell in the oil and cooked solid.

Someone mentioned Halloween, and I realized we were looking at … tumors.

A little raspberry preserves, some apple butter, and voila.

We’ll be having these again Halloween morning.