Hearty Pancake Recipe
If last winter was the season for hearty muffins, I've declared this summer to be the season of the hearty pancake. As a mother of three (and one a baby who I am still breastfeeding), mornings are no time to mess around with low blood sugar--theirs or mine.
The thing I love about pancakes is that you can make a huge batch all at once, store them in the fridge or freezer, then pop them in the toaster for a quick and delicious breakfast. It helps that my husband, who grew up on a farm, still has a functioning sugar house back at home, with which my in-laws keep us stocked year round with home made 100% pure Michigan maple syrup.
If you are like me, though, a breakfast of thin Bisquick cakes topped in liquid sugar (and maybe a strawberry or two) only leaves you feeling headachy, hungry, and foggy, less than two hours into your morning.
That is why I have been on the search to create the perfect pancake. One that is actually hearty, healthy, and still delicious.
There are hundreds of recipes available for hearty pancakes, but this is one I created by simply playing with different ingredients. I needed something heavier than an all-white flour base, included a little bit of protein, but was still sweet enough to trick my children into loving it.
I think I have finally created the perfect pancake.
- 1c. flour, white or whole wheat
- 1c. almond flour
- 1/2 - 1c. oatmeal
- 1t. baking powder
- 1t. baking soda
- up to 1/2c. sugar (white or brown), optional
- 2c. milk (reg, soy, almond, etc), (more or less for desired consistency)
- 2T. oil (veg, canola, olive, coconut, whatever)
- 1 egg
- 1t. vanilla extract, optional
- dash salt, optional
The beauty of this recipe is that it is a great base for a great batter, but it is completely versatile. You can play with extra ingredients (pre-cooking) and see what you like. I've added random healthy ingredients to these when I have them around the house and though the result is always a little different, it has always continued to be yummy. You may have to vary cooking times or heat (or liquid or flour amounts) in order to end with a normal pancake consistency. I've found this is a great way to get my kids to eat more veggies, add a little vitamins and energy, and use up leftovers or abundant garden bounty in the summer. Each of the following additions (not all at once) has had an equally favorable result:
- ground flax seed (1/2c.)
- wheat germ (1/2c.)
- 1-4T. brewer's yeast (if you are breastfeeding)
- 1-2 bananas, overripe and blended with the milk
- 1 medium zucchini squash: blended or finely chopped
- 1/2c. - 1c. pre-cooked acorn or butternut squash
- 1/2c. pumpkin puree (this is one that makes the batter VERY moist and requires more baking powder and a little extra flour)
- cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla (mix your spices to compliment your add-ins)
Additions for Picky Eating Toddlers
UPDATE: As that little breastfed baby got bigger, she turned out to be one of our pickier eaters. But with 3 other mouths to feed, that scream from the high chair had to go. This pancake base is perfect for basically mixing anything else into, and having quick, handheld toddler food. I've basically blended leftover ANYTHING and put them into pancakes and called it a meal for my 1 year old. You might have to adjust the liquid to figure out the consistency. *It helps here that I have a good blender, but as your child can chew more, you can leave some things chunkier and it still works great.
Things I've added to the above recipe for an all-in-one-handheld-meal:
- leftover chicken
- leftover chicken chili
- leftover spaghetti
- black beans, red beans, pinto beans, white beans
- chopped broccoli
- In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Mix well. In a separate bowl (or a large glass measuring cup, if you are like me) combine wet ingredients. Mix well.
- Gently stir wet and dry ingredients together. Do not over-stir. Scoop or pour batter onto a 400 degree griddle. Brown on both sides.
- Serve immediately, or let cool on a flat surface before storing in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick breakfast on a busy morning.
Brewer's Yeast comes in a canister and is usually found in the vitamin section of a place like Whole Foods, or can be ordered off the Internet. It is a secret and very powerful ingredient, that adds tons of vitamins and minerals, and, for the breastfeeding mom, aids in milk production. It is a powder and has a nutty flavor. I store mine in the refrigerator.
Flax seeds can be found whole or pre-ground. I buy mine whole (they come in a bag) and grind them in a coffee grinder. Flax seeds are an excellent source of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. I'm sure they are one of Dr. Oz's super foods. I don't actually notice a major flavor difference with or without the flax seeds, but I imagine they could be increased or decreased according to what you like.
I love these pancakes topped with seasonal fruit, like peaches and blueberries, but they are also great smeared with peanut butter and topped with cut up bananas. Of course, you could simply use this recipe as a base and add virtually anything else you can imagine: blueberries, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or Craisins. In the heat of summer, they make an excellent alternative to baking muffins in a hot oven.
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