February 1, 2011
I've always loved pancakes. My Mom used to make them on the weekend when I was growing up. My Dad was the eggs and bacon guy, but Mom always made the pancakes. She was pretty health-conscious, and she often used a Jane Brody recipe that included whole-wheat flour, cornmeal and wheat germ. I have to admit they turned me into a pancake snob. I loved their heartiness and their crunch, and as a result I've never been
able to appreciate the fluffy white Bisquick version.
Since discovering I have celiac disease, I've been reading a blog from Calgary called the Celiac Teen. Lauren has a great blog full of excellent recipes, most of which she creates herself. It's all the more impressive considering she's still in high school. I found the bones of this recipe on her website, but the beauty of these pancakes is their immense flexibility.
The first few times I made them, I used the flours in Lauren's version, but as I ran out of certain kinds of flour I started replacing them with others. Sometimes the batter was thicker, and sometimes it was thinner, but each time they tasted fantastic. Then one weekend morning, our wireless network wasn't working, but I wanted pancakes. I hadn't printed off the recipe, so I tried to make them anyway, working from memory. They still came out perfectly. When I checked later, I realized I had used quite a bit less flour overall than she calls for, but somehow these are magic pancakes. They are impossible to screw up!
I much prefer using weights to cup measurements when I bake. It makes the process so much easier and cleaner - you just pile it all into a bowl without getting all the cups and spoons dirty. It's especially handy with gluten-free baking since often you're using 4 or 5 different kinds of flour. It also makes adapting a recipe much, much easier. For these pancakes, I knew I needed a certain weight of whole grain flours and a certain weight of starches, but swapping different kinds was easy. I'm looking forward to being able to modify and invent my own recipes in the future using my trusty kitchen scale.
I'm also all about versatility when it comes to pancakes toppings. Classic real maple syrup is definitely a favourite, but honey is great too. I also love spreading peanut or other nut butters on the pancake and then adding something sweet (see above). Another habit is a dollop of plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey, sometimes with soft, sauteed apples if I'm really feeling fancy. And since these pancakes aren't very sweet, I'm sure they'd also be great with cheese and fruit.
Leftover pancakes are also great. It might sound a bit weird, but I like them eaten plain and cold straight from the refrigerator.
Gluten-free Whole-Grain Pancakes (adapted from this recipe)
You can play around with the flours in this recipe. Try using amaranth, sorghum, or quinoa in place of the millet. I probably wouldn’t use all quinoa flour because of its strong taste, but 1 oz. would be great. This batter is quite thin, but if you like thicker pancakes you can use an extra ounce millet flour and an extra ounce tapioca starch.
2 oz. millet flour
1.5 oz cornmeal
1 oz. flax meal
1 oz. tapioca starch
1 oz. sweet rice flour (sometimes called glutinous rice flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xantham gum
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 to 1.5 cups milk – cow’s or soy works well
1/4 melted butter or oil.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Beat the wet ingredients until bubbly, about a minute. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir together, then whisk until smooth.
Heat a frying pan or a griddle to just over medium heat, and add a thin layer of oil. Fry the pancakes until brown, flipping when bubbles appear on the tops.