My Favorite Pancakes

Growing up, pancakes were one of my favorite breakfasts. My mom would make them as a special Saturday morning treat, filled with chocolate chips and topped with Stonewall Kitchen’s now-retired Strawberry Piggy Sauce. Pancakes at Sarabeth’s in Manhattan or my favorite diner in Connecticut were my birthday brunch treat, and my first year in college, the meal I ate before I went off to the airport for school each term to say goodbye to the US for a few months. (The UK one-ups the US by having a Pancake Day, but their pancakes are actually more like what we consider crepes). I’d have them topped with strawberries and bananas and drizzled with maple syrup, because I liked blueberries and chocolate chips, but why change a good thing?

When my wheat allergy was diagnosed, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy pancakes in the same way ever again. Part of why I liked pancakes was the way they conjured up happy memories of childhood meals, before any of my struggles with food began, and the special feeling of having a treat on an ordinary morning I got whenever a plate was set before me. It wasn’t that I thought gluten-free pancake mix would taste bad. I just thought the pancakes would taste different. Which is true, of course. But that meant I didn’t really eat pancakes for a few years, until I started learning to cook for myself and coming up with new recipes. Pancake perfection was a distant dream, but I began to try anyway. Remember that saying, shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you’ll land among the stars? Well, I’ve taken that to heart, because the pancakes I’ve arrived at might not be perfect, but they sure do make me feel all warm and fuzzy the way I feel pancakes should. They’re sweet, fluffy, and gluten-free, and more than good enough for me!

 

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Sweet and Saucy Cinna-cakes

Pancakes. Flapjacks. Hotcakes.

Whatever you want to call them, good old-fashioned pancakes are delicious. My traditional birthday breakfast has always consisted of pancakes with strawberries and bananas, drizzled with maple syrup. Lately I’ve been experimenting with my own batter, because I like to use whole foods as much as possible and to try different combinations of flavors. I already have a favorite basic pancake recipe that uses oats, but after whipping up so many flourless oat muffins I got to wondering if I could do the same with pancakes. This morning, I landed on a winner…so good, I just had to share!

I started with rolled oats. Frequent readers will realize by now that I am obsessed with oats. I often use them as a base rather than gluten-free flours, simply because I’m not a big fan of rice flour and many of the others use nuts as a base or additive, and I’m also nut-free. The good news is, they work great as a base for pancakes. I almost called these oatcakes, but there is already a food called oatcakes (very popular in the UK!) and that would be confusing. So I decided on Saucy Cinna-cakes, because the next ingredients to go in the bowl were applesauce and cinnamon, one of my favorite flavors (similar to my Caramel Apple Cinnamuffins). From there, I figured out the rest, and after a failed first flip, the rest of the batch came out hot, creamy, cake-y and delicious!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats (here, I abandoned my usual Country Choice in favor of Chex quick-cook rolled oats, because I didn’t want to bust out a blender and the slightly broken-down consistency is better for the batter. Up to you to try your favorite brand!)

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (you can also use one of the seasonal apple flavors – Dannon Greek Caramel Apple is scrumptious, as is the Chobani 2% Apple Cinnamon)

1 large egg OR 2 egg whites

2-3 tsp cinnamon

1-2 tsp stevia or other sweetener (to taste)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup chopped apples

1-2 tbsp maple syrup

Olive oil, butter, or cooking spray (to grease the pan)

Optional: berries, powdered sugar, or any other preferred pancake toppings.

 

Batter = light and frothy and bubbly

Batter = light and frothy and bubbly

Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, mix the oats, applesauce, yogurt, egg, cinnamon, sweetener, and baking powder. Beat until batter is light and frothy.

2. Bring a nonstick pan to medium heat and coat well with oil or butter.

3. Measure out just under 1/4 cup of batter and pour into pan. You can usually fit two cinna-cakes in the pan at a time.

4. Let cook for 2 minutes, watching to ensure there is no burning. Carefully flip each cake (this can be tricky!) and let cook another 1-2 minutes.

5. Transfer cinna-cakes to plate and repeat with the rest of the batter. It should yield 4-5 small cinna-cakes.

Cinnacakes cooking (pre-flip!)

Cinnacakes cooking (pre-flip!)

6. Chop 1/2 a small apple and toss with cinnamon. Ensure the pan is still greased well, and toss apples in to cook for 5-10 minutes (the exact time will vary based on how thoroughly you like your apples cooked, I like them with a little bit of crunch!)

7. Pour maple syrup over the cinna-cakes. Top with the apples and fresh berries.

8. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Saucy Cinna-cakes with scrambled eggs and fresh blueberries!

Saucy Cinna-cakes with scrambled eggs and fresh blueberries!

 

 

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