In the days of quarantine, it’s likely you’ve arrived at the grocery store, only to discover that the baking section has been entirely depleted of all-purpose flour. Which is surely a bummer, considering you had scheduled a grocery run for the sole purpose of stocking up on baking supplies to make a batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookies.
But that’s not a problem anymore, thanks to this nifty little hack. Nathan Price, a chef in the Bay Area, has discovered the perfect substitute for flour—and one you’ll surely find in the grocery store: pancake mix.
“Going to the grocery store and finding zero flour is obviously a problem, and you need convenience when you’re trying to make cookies,” he says. “Instinctively I was like, there are other things that have flour at the grocery store.”
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This thought process led him to the pancake mix section of the store, which was rife with a huge assortment of brands. There are plenty of varieties—from keto versions to ones with egg substitutes—but Nathan recommends buying the very basic kind (he used Birch Benders), one just filled with flour and a leavening agent that would lend itself very well to those simple baking projects.
Once you’ve got your pancake mix and a chocolate chip cookie recipe (this is the one Nathan used, to much success), all you’ll need to do is measure a ratio of 1:1, so every cup of flour called for in the recipe can be substituted for a cup of pancake mix.
It’s worth mentioning that while this is a great hack, the cookies do come out a little differently than if you’d simply used flour. “The one thing I noticed was [the cookies are] more airy and fluffy,” Nathan says. “You know if you make a pancake and the first side produces all those bubbles? That basically happens in the oven, but cooks around the whole thing.” Pulling the cookies out of the oven, you might notice a crispier exterior with a soft inside, which is honestly not a bad thing.
Have other baked items you want to make? Nathan supposes that pancake mix would probably work just as well in a brownie batter or pound cake. Test it out and let us know!
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