Food

Review: Sunny Boy Buttermilk Pancake Mix

Sunny Boy Buttermilk Pancake Mix, in the bag.

This is it. My first ever Stampede. While I have it on good authority that it is possible to eat a free dignitary-flipped hotcake breakfast every day for the duration of Stampede, I know there will be days when I want at least one meal other than breakfast. Lunch? Supper? What’s a new Calgarian to do?

For those meals, I suppose I’ll have to make pancakes at home. And what better way to make pancakes in a hurry than with this made-in-Alberta Sunny Boy pancake mix?

While I’m normally more of a from-scratch pancake guy (have you tried my blueberry pancake recipe?), I’ve been known to resort to buttermilk pancake mix in a pinch. Something about them just says summer festivals, Klondike Days (yeah, that’s the Edmontonian in me talking), camping and greasy-spoon brunching.

Of course, if you’re going to resort to pancake mix, you’d be crazy to buy a mix that isn’t “complete.” If you have to add milk and an egg, you’d might as well add the five other remaining ingredients and make pancakes without a mix. Sheesh.

The mix inside the bag looks like any other powdery pancake mix. Nothing remarkable.

The Pitch: “Sunny Boy Pancake Mix, made with barley and wheat flour, is a quick and easy way to make delicious pancakes everyone will enjoy.” The barley flour is unexpected; I’m intrigued.

The Look: A classy re-sealable bag, which is a whole lot more handy than a cardboard box. The mix inside the bag looks like any other pancake mix.

The Directions: I love this. Instead of a detailed explanation of the pancake cooking process, the directions tell you how to mix the pancakes and scoop them onto the griddle. After that, you’re on your own. Do you flip them? When would you do that? How do you know they’re done? I guess their assumption is that if you don’t know how to cook pancakes from a pancake mix, you really have no business in a kitchen. (And you know what? I reckon they’re right.)

The Cooking: Finicky. I mixed the batter according to the directions (1 cup mix to 3/4 cup water), but it was thicker/stiffer than I was expecting. When I scooped out a 1/4 cup serving and plopped it in the pan, it hardly spread out at all. The resulting pancakes were small and thick, which was hardly ideal. In future, I think I’ll add a touch more water.

The Taste: Not bad for a from-mix pancake. Easily better, more substantial and less rubbery than Aunt Jemima. No harsh chemical tastes. Throw on a bit of butter and drizzle with real maple syrup, and you’ll be a happy camper.

Instant pancake mix deserves instant bacon, no? Oh, and topping your pancakes with real butter and maple syrup? That makes all the difference.

RATINGS AND DETAILS

Cost: $3.99 for a 600-gram bag at Calgary Co-op.

Value for cash money: OK.

Availability: Not necessarily widespread, but not tough to find, especially in Alberta. Check the Sunny Boy website for leads.

Nutrition?: Per 1/4 cup dry mix (30 grams, about two pancakes): 110 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 300 mg of sodium, 1 gram of fibre, 3 grams of protein, and 10% daily values of calcium and iron. But you’ll be adding syrup and butter to these, right? Don’t forget to add those numbers to your tally. And bacon!

The verdict: Once you get over the quirks of cooking the things, they’re really quite good. Easy to make, and just as easy to eat. I think I could safely say these are better than any politician-flipped pancake I’ve had before.

The butter continues to melt under the hot studio lights. This stack of hotcakes was devoured minutes after this photo was taken.

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