Monday, July 08, 2019

"Featherlite" Pancakes from Rosa Parks

Christy, my work colleague, was recently at the Library of Congress during the American Library Association Conference. She picked up a postcard for me that had a recipe from Rosa Parks for "Featherlite" Pancakes. You know I had to try them! We've been collecting blueberries every day from our two bushes in the yard so I added some of them. And keep reading to find out how a mistake I made in reading the recipe may have created even more deliciousness.

"Featherlite" Pancakes


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup peanut butter*
1 tablespoon shortening, melted, or any neutral oil, like canola

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate, medium mixing bowl, combine the egg, whole milk, and peanut butter. Whisk together the wet ingredients until combined.
  2. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. Add the shortening or oil to a skillet and bring to 275° F. Spoon roughly one-fifth of the batter into the pan, into a roughly 4-inch pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes until bubbles form around the edges and the pancakes look dry and airy. Use a thin spatula to gently lift it and flip over to the other side. Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until cooked through and golden-brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter and serve warm.

Notes from JennyBakes:

I made a half recipe, but just went with 1/2 cup milk and used the whole egg. I added the oil to the batter and cooked the pancakes in butter but when Food52 played with this recipe and made up instructions, they assumed the oil was for cooking. Rosa doesn't actually say that though.

I mixed the dry ingredients and just dumped the wet ingredients in on top, but you can see the word combine goes after the shortening/oil rather than before. To me this means it's part of the wet ingredients. 

I don't have a griddle so I cooked mine one by one in a pan, which is why they are rather imperfect in shape. 

I also misread the recipe and melted the peanut butter in the microwave, ha! But interestingly the Food52 recipe said it was okay if the peanut butter still showed in the recipe; melting it took care of that.

There is a lot of baking powder in this recipe (capital T = tablespoon; lower t = teaspoon), 2 Tbsp per cup of flour. So the batter is very frotty and stretchy and that is what makes them "featherlite."

Recipe image courtesy of the Library of Congree:
Parks, Rosa. Rosa Parks Papers: Miscellany, -2005; Recipe for featherlite pancakes, undated. - 2005, 1934. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

Speaking of pancakes...

Like pancakes? I seem to make them from around the world! Check out the Finnish pannukakku, Icelandic pönnukökur, Papua New Guinean banana pancakes, the Danish ebleskiver, the Hungarian palacsintas, Austrian kaiserschmarm, the Swedish pancakes from Alaska, and what we call the German oven apple pancake. I also made ratio pancakes from Michael Ruhlman's book, which we can call American, but Rosa might be giving Michael a run for his money.

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