My family went to the ends of the earth, and the Internet, to keep us supplied with the famous and delicious Howard Johnson’s (HoJos) pancake mix long after most of those legendary N.J. turnpike restaurants all shuttered their doors. Back in the day we bought eight ounce packages at the HoJos cash register counter whenever we visited one of the few remaining restaurants in another state. Later, we cajoled their surviving restaurant managers to sell us a four pound bag out of their kitchen stockroom.  Once most of the restaurants closed we bought thirty-two pound boxes (8 x 4 pound bags) and had them shipped from the factory in New England that held the recipe. That factory now says there is so little demand for the HoJos pancake mix that they have a standing minimum order far in excess of that thirty-two pound box.  So now we are forced to make our own pancake mix.  Here goes. Dry ingredients may be stored for months, to be ready for the other ingredients: 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt 1 tablespoon sugar Wet ingredients: 2 large egg yolks 2 large egg whites 1 ½ cups buttermilk – may substitute whole milk in a pinch.  Or 1 cup yogurt with enough whole milk to smooth out the yogurt 1 cup sour cream – may substitute enough whole milk to liquefy the batter 4 tablespoons melted butter To cook: You will need some extra butter or oil for the griddle surface. First, whisk the dry ingredients together. You can beat the egg whites separately to increase the fluffiness of the pancakes. To save time, just add the 2 eggs whole. Add all the ingredients together except the (whipped) egg whites and the melter butter and mix well by hand. While mixing, drizzle in the melted butter and combine. Butter makes the cakes moist. Then gently fold in the egg whites so that you don’t squish out their bubbles which will fluff the pancakes. Do not over-mix!  It’s okay to leave lots of lumps as they will dissolve themselves by just soaking up the wet ingredients.  Over-mixing forms more gluten and that makes for tough rubbery bread-like pancakes. Mix just until the streaks of flour have disappeared, leaving lots of lumps to self-dissolve. The batter can sit for 10-15 minutes to rise a bit and to soak away those lumps.  But not for hours, because the air in the batter will bubble to the surface and escape, reducing the fluffiness factor. Why do you throw out the first few un-browned pancakes you cook?  Because the griddle has not yet had time to fully come to temperature.  Hot grills make browned pancakes crisp on the outside.  And because you did not have enough sugar (for browning) in your mix.  And because you used water instead of the milk that helps with browning.  Eggs help, too. I use a $20 electric griddle instead of a made for pancakes oven-top griddle.  It transmits the heat better. Get that griddle to a fairly high temperature.  Use a paper towel to spread some oil or butter to just wet the surface of the griddle with no pooling. Pour your favorite size of pancake and let cook until bubbles form, then flip and finish.
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