Vintage illustration of butter melting on a stack of pancakes, with a syrup dispenser; screen print, 1935. (Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)
For The Fluffiest Pancakes, Fold In Some Clean Snow
By Elaina Friedman
In many contemporary kitchens around the world, it's actually pretty common to use snow as a secret ingredient. If you find yourself snowed in at home this winter, you can also reach for some fresh snow to fluff up your pancake breakfast.
“When the batter hits the hot pan, the snow quickly turns to expanding steam, which leavens the pancakes," Merry Post of The Ellsworth American explains. Post's recipe calls for 3/8 to 1/2 cup of snow, noting that "keeping a larger quantity in a bowl ensures that the snow will not melt before you finish making all the pancakes."
The Guardian lays out some theories regarding the history of snow pancakes, including one that says snow was mixed into pancake batter after WWII on account of an egg shortage. The outlet also cites a theory that natural ammonia in fresh snow acts as a leavening agent, suggesting it might have been used to help baked goods rise before the invention of baking powder.