Pancake mix is essentially flour, baking soda and a little salt blended together in the perfect proportions to quickly whip up a batter for pancakes and waffles. It's also a handy starter for many other recipes, both sweet and savory, that include a basic batter. You simply need to adjust the consistency by adding more or less liquid. For certain baked goods, pancake mix also makes a suitable substitute for flour and baking soda.
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Deep-fried fruit fritters are a very easy yet impressive dessert. Use thick slices, cubes or rings of apples, pears or pineapple, or bananas cut into three or four pieces. Prepare a batter using pancake mix, adjusting the amount of liquid so that the batter is thick enough to stick to the fruit. If you lift a spoonful of batter out of the bowl, it should slide off the spoon in blobs, rather than pour off in a stream. You can flavor the batter with cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest or vanilla, if you wish. Heat enough canola or vegetable oil to cover the fritters until a drop of batter sizzles and turns golden within a minute. Dunk the pieces of fruit in the batter, transfer them to the hot oil and fry until crisp and golden. Don't crowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Drain the fritters on paper towels, dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Mix up pancake batter according to the directions on the packaging, but substitute beer for water or milk. Aim for the same consistency as a fritter batter. Use the beer batter to deep-fry fillets or goujons of fish for classic fish and chips, fish tacos or a fish sandwich. It also works well for chicken strips. Batter and fry onion rings in the same manner, or make an appetizer platter of tempura vegetables with a selection of dipping sauces. Try green beans, whole button mushrooms, cauliflower and broccoli florets, asparagus spears, slices of bell pepper and cubes of butternut squash.
A fancy-looking but simple French dessert, clafoutis is fresh fruit, arranged in the bottom of a pie tin or cast-iron skillet, smothered with a batter and baked until puffed-up and golden. Arrange the fruit in a singe layer to fully cover the base of the pie tin or skillet. Most fruits make a delicious clafoutis, but classic options include halved cherries, sliced apple, pineapple rings from a can and mixed berries. Enrich boxed pancake mix by using half-and-half instead of milk or water, and adding some melted butter. Pour the batter over the fruit and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before baking in the oven. At 350 degrees Fahrenheit, the clafoutis will take about 45 minutes to bake. Serve warm slices with ice cream or whipped cream, and an optional sprinkle of chopped nuts.
Create a basic sugar cookie dough by mixing butter or margarine, eggs and sugar into pancake mix. For every 4 cups of pancake mix, use 3/4 cup of butter or margarine, 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and two eggs. You can add a few drops of vanilla or almond extract if you like. Roll the dough into balls about the size of ping pong balls, and arrange them on a cookie sheet. There is no need to flatten the cookies. They will take only about five minutes to bake in a 400 F oven. For a classic sugar cookie, roll the balls in granulated sugar before baking. Customize the basic dough recipe to include, for example, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, lemon zest or raisins.