Tag Archives: pancakes

The solution to writer’s block

…(or maybe I should call it haphazard blogger’s block) is to stick to what you know.

And what I know is pancakes.

I found this recipe ages ago, but sort of dismissed it for a variety of reasons. Who has that many flours lying around? Who takes a recipe posted on blogspot in 2011 seriously? (Kidding!) Plus, I found the prose incredibly irritating. But, everyone is entitled to their own style, and clearly I was in the wrong here, because those pancakes turned out to be amazing.

I made a few tweaks based on laziness (not wanting to buy even MORE flours) and pure experimentation, and the resulting recipe is mainly a reminder to myself to stop looking for the perfect gluten-free pancakes, because these are it.

But before I get to the recipe, a few other life updates:

Barcelona

1. We finally edited Barcelona pictures, and they are available here. Enjoy!

2. The sun decided to shine this weekend. That was a nice surprise. I spent most of the day inside today, but did crush it on a run with John (8:12! for 3 miles of intervals) and enjoyed having the windows open.

3. I’m finally getting into the whole Oxford obsession with Alice in Wonderland, and we saw a play involving puppetry at the Pegasus Theatre on Saturday, called “Alice.” It was about the original girl, now an old woman hiding out in a bomb shelter during WWI. It was really well done. During the show, my mind wandered as it always does, but this time I thought about how this mathematician (Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll) invented stories to entertain a child, but those stories have such complex allegorical meaning and wisdom that really take Alice above a mere bedtime story. Although maybe the point of children’s stories is to encourage kids to think about the world around them in a more symbolic, less black-and-white way. I don’t know what the point of my meandering ramble is, other than to say that I really like stories and am fascinated by the many ways in which we interpret our world – who we are, what we do, why we do it, and how we relate to everything around us. Yes, all that from a 45-minute puppet show.

 

This-might-be-it Pancakes (the end to the endless search for the one recipe to rule them all)

Dry ingredients:
2 cups sorghum flour (find it in an Indian grocer)
1/4 cup almond flour (I got some for super-cheap in Barcelona!)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Wet ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
1 cup club soda (sparkling mineral water or whatever the Brits call it here)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon sugar (I used xylitol)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add some butter and let it melt, then swirl it around.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add in the wet ingredients, except for the water. (Little trick: I added all the wet ingredients to a jar and shook it up, then poured it in). Fold batter together with a spoon, stirring until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add the water, watching the batter fizz and bubble like magic. Stir again. The batter should be thick, but pourable, with few lumps. Test the skillet by flicking a few drops of water on it – when it sizzles, it’s good to go.

Lower heat to medium. Pour a scoop of pancake batter on to the heated skillet (about 1/3 cup’s worth). Repeat once or twice (I can fit 3 into one pan). When bubbles form around the edges, after about 2-3 minutes, carefully flip the pancakes. Cook for another 2 minutes on each side, then transfer to a plate and repeat until all of the batter has been transformed into delicious ‘cakes.

 

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Overdue for a pancake post (flapjacks, actually)

I was going to write a blog post about how I don’t like my job anymore and maybe never did, how I make laughably dumb mistakes (bringing flip-chart markers to write on a whiteboard tops the list), and how I feel like I’m going backwards on the career progression ladder by being an admin assistant (again). But that wouldn’t be very fun to read, nor would it help me feel good about how I spend 35 hours of the week, which is the ultimate goal, right?

So instead, here’s a pancake recipe. This one’s a winner (which I could have predicted as soon as I saw cocoa in the ingredient list. And because I’m feeling generous, I’ll follow it with a (British) flapjack recipe for comparison. Those were a hit at the office this week. Probably because the main ingredient is butter. To clarify: American flapjacks are thick pancakes, and British flapjacks are basically thick squishy granola bars. 

Warning: these recipes contain coconut because I just bought a lifetime supply at the Indian grocery store. You can omit if you hate it, but we can’t be friends if you do.

 

Cocoa-nut Flapjacks

Adapted from this.

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup mineral water (the fizzy stuff)
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used this gluten-free brown bread mix that I love)
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (un-sweetened and finely ground)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (use the Dutch-processed dark stuff)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your temperamental electric hob to slightly-too-hot (medium-high for normal stovetops).

Mix dry ingredients together with a fork. Add butter, vanilla, and milk; lightly mix again. 

Add a tablespoon or so of butter to your pan and let it melt, swirling it around with a spatula. When drops of water sizzle in the skillet, lower heat to medium.

Add a little sparkling water (makes pancakes fluffy!) to thin the batter a bit; then and add scoops of batter to the pan. I can get about 3 small pancakes in my 12″ skillet. Cook for approx. 3 minutes, or until the edges look dry, then flip and cook for 2 additional minutes. Transfer to a plate and make your second batch.

Serve with a variety of toppings (John had peanut butter and honey, I had greek yogurt/black currant jam/more coconut).

 

White chocolate coconut flapjacks (the British version)

Adapted from this, and converted into NORMAL (read: American) measurements.

  • 1/2 cup butter (yes, really. Suck it up, and use a decent organic/grass-fed type like Kerrygold to help you feel better about this decision)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated (caster) sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups quick oats, or porridge oats to use the adorable UK terminology
  • cinnamon, sea salt
  • 100 g bar of white chocolate
  • about 1/4 cup desiccated coconut

In a large glass bowl, melt the butter and sugar together in the microwave (about 40 seconds on high). Stir in the honey, vanilla, and oats. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes, stopping to stir after 2.

Spread mixture on the bottom of a lightly greased 8″ x 4″ glass baking dish. Top with cinnamon, a little sea salt, and sprinkle with coconut. Press mixture down firmly with the back of a spoon.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in the microwave, stopping to stir every few seconds. When the pieces are almost all melted, it’s likely to be ready (you don’t want burnt chocolate). Stir some more. Spread chocolate on top of oat mixture and cover the dish. Let cool, then move to refrigerator for overnight firming up. When ready to cut/serve, it helps to let the dish come back to room temp. Slice into whatever sizes you’d like, and enjoy.

 

This weekend’s pancakes

I like to make pancakes once a week. And in the never-ending quest to find the “best”– the elusive, fluffy-yet-hearty, nutritious-meets-indulgent pancake– I’ve tried too many recipes to count.

I haven’t found the perfect one yet, but this one comes pretty close. 

Made some modifications, of course:

-the rest of some coconut milk + whole milk, to use up what was in my fridge

-chia seeds instead of flax (either will work, and I decided buying a 2 lb. bag of chia seeds was a good idea, 2 years ago. I’m still working through that supply).

-coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, ’cause veg. oil is gross. Butter for the skillet, of course.

-sugar instead of honey, because my honey was a little too thick to mix in

-I used a standard gluten-free flour mix from Sainsbury’s, which works really well (rice flour + potato and tapioca starch is all that’s in it, I think). I’m not gluten-free, but try to cut down where I can, after reading some convincing scientific journal publications that suggest it’s not all that great for us).

-double the salt (I ❤ sodium).

 

I topped those babies with peanut butter and banana, as per usual.

Now it’s off to Headington to do some last-minute educational technology product summaries for the upcoming May print edition of my freelance work. I know you’re as excited as I am.