Thursday, October 13, 2011

Butter (Better?) Baking Mix

Last week I finally acknowledged a can of pumpkin pie filling I had mistakenly purchased for the September wedding cupcakes.  I would look at it as I walked by, wondering what I was going to do with it since I knew I wouldn't use it for pie.  When I finally decided to approach and inspect the unwanted can, I discovered it had a recipe for pumpkin muffins on the inside of the label.  I would use it for that.  But in removing the label and reading the recipe, it called for four cups of baking mix.  Baking mix is not something we ordinarily have in our pantry.  And while there is a partial box of unknown age sitting on the shelf right now, it just wasn't something I wanted to use.  So I set about searching for a recipe to make my own baking mix. 

the finished product
My search began on  There were 10 results and I settled on this one as my starting point.  

Since I didn't need 12 cups of baking mix, the first thing I did was cut the recipe in half.  Next I decided that I needed to use butter instead of shortening, and because of that needed to adjust the amount of flour slightly.  It was very simple to make as everything went into the food processor and it did the work.  

Unlike when making pie crust in the food processor, the cold butter cubes should be completely obliterated - this is not the time for "pea-sized" chunks of butter.  The consistency should be such that the mix will hold its shape when you squeeze it in your palm, but then break apart with a little shaking.

For the most part, I followed the recipe for the muffins as given.  I omitted the raisins (the texture of cooked raisins does not appeal to me in the least) and the crumble topping, and added two tablespoons of sour cream to the batter - just because.  I had used old-fashioned oats since that's what I had, but should I make these again, I think quick oats would be the better option.  And I also think they need a bit more spice.  However, I was quite pleased with the performance of my homemade baking mix.

But I did have some mix left over and the question remaining as to whether or not it would work for, say, pancakes.  So this morning, I put it to the test.  

I used the remaining baking mix, which was about 2-1/4 cups, with one egg and a cup of milk.  Depending on how you like your pancakes, you may want to use a little more milk.  Not being a fan of crepe-like pancakes, I made my batter rather thick.  Do let the batter rest for a minute or two as it will thicken a bit on standing.   

Although I had a little too much butter in my pan for the first one, they cooked up quite well.  Make sure you have bubbles on top before flipping!

My pancakes were about six inches in diameter and it made four of them easily.  That's a good looking pancake, if I do say so myself.

I made the first two plain to make sure they were going to work, and dotted the second two with some blueberries I had in the freezer.

What I noticed the most is the texture.  These are definitely more delicate and tender than those made with the commercial baking mix.  I also noticed that they could have used just a pinch of salt.  But - it worked.  And that's what I needed to know.

Butter Baking Mix
Recipe adapted from one at Recipe (, 
which I believe originated from The Cook’s Book of Uncommon Recipes.

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour    
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1-1/2 teaspoons salt     
1 teaspoon cream of tartar       
1/2 teaspoon baking soda        
1 cup nonfat dry milk 
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

Add the dry ingredients to the work bowl of a food processor and process a few seconds to combine.  Add one stick of the cold, cubed butter and pulse a couple of times to blend it in.  Add the other stick of cubed butter and process until there are no visible cubes of butter remaining.  The mix will be sort of “mealy” when it’s properly combined.  To test it, put a small amount in the palm of your hand and squeeze.  It should come together, but fall apart into big clumps.

Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six months.  Makes about 6-1/4 cups of mix.

To make pancake batter, combine 2-1/4 cups of mix with one beaten egg and 1 to 1-1/4 cups of milk (depending on how thick/thin you like your pancakes).

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