Better-Than-IHOP Pancakes

This recipe is from my book, Recipes Every Man Should Know, co-authored with Brett Cohen.

Makes 8-10 pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk (not the powdered variety)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
Maple syrup and melted butter for serving

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, suar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla extract (if using). Add dry ingredients to wet, and whisk until just combined. It's OK if batter is a little lumpy. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

2. Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Splash it with a few drops fo water: When they pop and jump, your're good to go. Lightly grease pan with butter. Pour batter by the quarter-cupful on to pan, being careful not to overcrowd if cooking more than one at a time. Leave each pancake alone until edges start to turn golden and little bubbles form on top Then, using a spatula, give it a quick, steady flip. (Remember, the first two or three are for the dog.) Cook 30-60 seconds more, or until puffed up and golden brown.

3. Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter to the pan as necessary. Serve pancakes right away, or keep in a warm oven (250 F) until you're ready to eat. Top with warm maple syrup and melted butter.

Tasty Pancake Toppings and Add-Ins:
Romantic breakfast in bed: 
*Sweet Berries: Top with fresh berries and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
*Boozy Bananas: Saute sliced bananas in a little butter and a splash of rum for a few minutes. Spoon over pancakes and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. 

*Chocolate Chip: After pouring the pancakes on the griddle, top each one with a few chocolate or cinnamon chips. 
*Cinnamon-Sugar Apples: Cook sliced apples in a little butter and sprinkle with cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins. 

*Maple-Bacon-Banana: Place slices of cooked maple-smoked bacon in between pancakes. Cook sliced bananas in a buttered pan until golden. Spoon over pancakes and drizzle with maple syrup. 

Recipe created by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.