At the height of the COVID quarantine, many of us took up baking. That, coupled with supply chain issues and shortages, meant all-purpose flour was in short supply at many supermarkets.
That was no problem for Bay Area chef Nathan Price. He discovered the perfect substitute for flour -- one you probably already have in the cupboard: 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."
That thought process led him to the pancake mix shelf, which was rife with a huge assortment of brands.
Pandemic shortages have obviously abated -- . But if you're looking to make cookies and don't have flour in the house, it's still a great kitchen hack.
There are plenty of kinds of premade pancake mix -- from keto versions to ones with egg substitutes -- but Nathan recommends buying a basic variety made with just flour and a leavening agent that would lend itself to simple baking projects. (He used Birch Benders' organic whole-grain pancake and waffle mix.)
Once you've got your pancake mix and a chocolate chip cookie recipe (Nathan used this one from AllRecipes), you can pretty much keep to a 1:1 ratio -- for every cup of flour called for, substitute a cup of pancake mix.
Fair warning: 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 said. "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."
You might notice a crispier exterior with a softer inside -- which is not a bad thing.
Nathan theorizes that pancake mix would probably work just as well in a brownie or pound cake recipe.