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The Cheese That Can Instantly Upgrade Plain Old Pancake Mix

A stack of pancakes
A stack of pancakes - Esin Deniz/Shutterstock

Pancakes are a delicious way to start any day, and using a boxed pancake mix makes creating a big, beautiful stack of these beauties simple and easy. The boxed mix does all the measuring of the dry ingredients for you, cutting down on the amount of utensils you have to clean up. Making these pancakes only requires a few basics –- oil, milk, and an egg. And there's a huge variety of mixes from which to choose, from buttermilk to multigrain to blueberry.

Still, there are probably days when you're looking for something a bit more interesting than your standard pancakes. And there's a really simple way to enhance your pancakes made with a boxed mix, and you may already have it in your fridge. That's ricotta cheese -- it's not just for filling stuffed shells and lasagnas. This mild, creamy cheese adds a tangy flavor to your pancakes as well as makes them extra moist.

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Ricotta Cheese Makes Pancakes Better

fresh ricotta
fresh ricotta - Mariha-kitchen/Getty Images

Ricotta is a mild, fresh cheese. It is created by recooking whey that's leftover from making other cheeses. The cheese is creamy, and it brings a milky quality to pancakes –- not an aggressively cheesy taste. It's a pretty simple cheese, and you can make ricotta at home if you want. This rich yet delicate cheese is the perfect way to elevate your boxed mix for this breakfast classic.

Ricotta pancakes are tasty and fluffy, and they feel a bit fancy as well. They are more substantial than your typical pancakes. So it takes a bit of experimentation to get the batter just right. Start with a nearly one-to-one ratio of liquid to ricotta cheese, having a bit more liquid than cheese. You can always add more liquid as needed if the batter is too thick or more ricotta cheese if the batter seems too thin. Your choice of liquid will influence the flavor of the pancakes. Regular milk plays off the milky taste of the ricotta while buttermilk will bring in more tanginess. Some recipes also call for melted butter for the batter, which will add richness.

Other Ways To Boost Flavor

lemon ricotta pancakes
lemon ricotta pancakes - Bhofack2/Getty Images

There are many ways for you to enhance the flavor of your ricotta pancakes. Incorporating fruit works well in these breakfast staples. Lemon is one of the classic pairings for ricotta, which is why you'll see lemon ricotta pancakes on many brunch menus. You can bring in that bright citrus flavor by mincing some lemon zest along with a little lemon juice and adding it to the batter. If you want to use lemon extract, be sure to add only a small amount since extracts usually pack a strong punch. You could also fold in fresh or frozen blueberries.

Along with adding flavor to the batter, you can look for creative accouterments for your ricotta pancakes. While maple syrup is tasty, a mixed berry coulis or syrup would taste divine, too. You could also take the pancakes in a savory direction with a compound butter made with fresh herbs, such as rosemary and parsley.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.