Although the stereotypical giant diner pancake has a smooth, evenly-browned color, I tend to prefer the abstract art of uneven browning on my pancakes. It’s all about your pan and your fat, so it’s choose-your-own-adventure time, pancake edition.
Throw a knob of butter in the pan, swirl it around, and top it with pancake batter–you’ll get that uneven look. The butter doesn’t totally cover the surface, so you get brown spots (lightly fried in the hot butter) and pale spots (touching the bare pan). There’s usually a ring around the outside from the batter bringing the butter along with it as you pour. Especially if you’re cooking with butter, I like this method for the texture contrast of the crispy, buttery bits and for the flavor.
If, on the other hand, you wipe your pan out with a paper towel before cooking the pancakes, you leave a thin, even layer of fat on the whole pan. The pancakes will brown perfectly evenly–no pale spots, but no buttery crisp either.
So mix up a batch of whole wheat pancake mix to keep you in pancakes all month long, and experiment with art in my favorite medium–breakfast.