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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Victory Pancakes (Oatmeal Pancakes with Blueberries and Honey)

Hello, My Loves,

  In the archives of this blog, I'm pretty sure we've already covered the concept of food emergencies. In essence, a food emergency, in my little world, is when you have an inexplicable need for a certain food, a close relative of the *craving*, or as my Mom would say, a *wooly* :) Last Monday night, I wanted pancakes. I NEEDED pancakes, I would not REST until I had PANCAAAAKES! I'm not sure why, because I had just had some pretty good ones a few days earlier when I went out for breakfast with Michael's family, but there it was. I was in the midst of a pancake emergency. Something had to be done. It was pretty late in the evening, too late to make pancakes right then, so I did some recipe research for the following morning. I've really been enjoying the inclusion of more whole grains and other healthful foods into my daily diet, so I decided to look at recipes for whole grain pancakes,with the added caveat that  they had to be made from ingredients that I already had in the house, because I was too lazy to make another trip to the grocery store. I didn't have any whole wheat flour in the house, but, I did have Oats. Wegman's brand Quick-Oats, to be exact. Oatmeal pancakes they would be :)

  Allow me a quick subject detour to explain something. Although I love pancakes, the creation of the perfect pancake has always eluded me. I make a dang good pancake batter, but I always seem to stumble when it comes to the actual *cook and flip* part. I inevitably flip them too early or too late, ending up with either burned, broken or undercooked pancakes. A few years back I attempted a batch of Ricotta Pancakes that were such a complete disaster that I was actually in tears over them. So, suffice it to say, up until recently, I was more than content to do the *mixy-mixy* part and let a kitchen helper do the *flippy-flippy* part. However, in the midst of a food emergency with no kitchen helper in sight, it was time to face my pancake-flipping fears :)

    So, Monday night was spent looking for whole grain pancake inspiration. The base recipe I eventually went with (though admittedly, I altered it a fair bit) came from a website called allrecipes(dot)com, here's the link. I used to use this site a great deal and I have no idea why it has recently fallen off my radar, I definitely need to go back to using it for recipe inspiration in the future. It's almost like a recipe-themed Facebook. People post recipes by category and then other people rate them and leave comments about trying the recipe and anything they did to adapt it, suggestions, etc. They also have nutrition info and a tool to scale recipes up or down, depending on how many people you're feeding :) It's a fun site, check it out :) So, I had a base recipe to work from, and all the ingredients I needed, I couldn't wait for breakfast the next morning :)

   Boy oh boy,either the Gods of Whole Grain Goodness were with me or I've magically gotten the hang of pancake flipping, because these turned out better than I could have hoped :) Pancake redemption was MINE!!! All kidding aside, they taste great, really, they do, and not in that apologetic *we're not bad for whole grain, don't complain,we're healthy* kind of way. They taste good in and of themselves. They don't need to measure up to regular pancakes, they stand on their own merits. Also, (and this is just my personal preference) I don't really like overly sweet pancakes, and sometimes pancakes that are made with just white flour, especially if they have fruit in them plus syrup on top, are too sweet for me. With these, the oat flour balances out the blueberries, making the pancakes just sweet enough.

  The batter is half oat flour and half all-purpose flour (but nutritionists say that anything made with at least 50% whole grain is considered whole grain, so we're good:). I'd be willing to bet you could probably coax the ratio to three parts oats to one part flour, and they'd probably be fine and you'd get even more oat goodness.  I also replaced the sugar with honey and used skim milk ( but really, that was just because I didn't have any buttermilk, you could use low fat buttermilk here too and they would be equally delicious). Since I was only making a test batch, I made a mini-version of this recipe that made about 5 medium-sized pancakes. Here is the recipe scaled for a more normal-sized batch. This should make about 10-ish pancakes, depending on how big you want the pancakes to be. Making and eating these put a smile on my face :)

Oatmeal Pancakes with Blueberries and Honey
(recipe inspiration taken from www.allrecipes.com, from member name *mom2hhh*)

- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup quick oats or 1 cup oat flour
- 2 tbsp. Honey
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk or low-fat buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
- 1-2 cups blueberries, depending on how much fruit you like in your pancakes.

-If you are starting with Quick Oats and not Oat Flour (like I did). Put the oats in the food processor and pulse them a few times until they are coarsely to finely ground, but not all the way down to powder. *points down* 


  (All oat flour is is ground up oats, save yourself the price markup, buy a container of quick oats, grind them in the food processor and bingo, you have oat flour. Store them in an air tight container you're golden :)

- Transfer oats to mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Mix all ingredients together. IMPORTANT!!! Do not over mix the batter, it will look a little lumpy and that's fine. I find that 10-12 stirs around the bowl with a large spoon is all you need, seriously. See Notes.

Note 1: If you want to take the time, you can put all the dry ingredients in one bowl, all the wet ingredients in another bowl and then add the wet to the dry. I confess, I did not do this, and everything turned out fine.

Note 2: If you want to save a step, you can put all the ingredients into the food processor and puree until smooth. It would save you time and there'd be one less mixing bowl to clean, I just like to mix things, so I did it by hand :) It's more satisfying to me :)


- Heat a lightly oiled or buttered griddle or frying pan over medium to medium-high heat (I alternated between butter-flavored PAM spray and butter, the butter won hands down, I'll take the few extra calories, and you could certainly use oil instead) . Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, I used a soup ladle, about one ladle-ful per pancake. When pancakes become dull (as in, no longer shiny) around the edges and little bubbles start to pop up in the middle, sprinkle the berries onto the pancake and you are ready to flip. (THAT's the trick I've been missing, matte around the edges and bubbles in the middle, I MUST remember this!!!) Another pancake-flip hint. If the pancake is too big to flip with one spatula, or the spatula is on the small or narrow side, use two spatulas. One in each hand. Slide the two spatulas horizontally under the pancake and then flip. I would I could have take a photo or video of this, but I could not, because I had a spatula in each hand 0_o

 - Cook until browned on both sides, serve hot with your favorite accoutrements. You can always sprinkle more berries over the top of the pancakes as well :) You can keep pancakes warm until you serve them by placing them on a plate in the oven. My oven was off, but you could turn it on to it's lowest setting if you like. I did make a few of these plain, without the blueberries, just to see what they tasted like, and they were totally fine, but the ones with blueberries won out, no contest.


 

LOOK at these babies!!! NOM NOM NOM!!! You know, with the Oatmeal, Blueberries and Honey, and the myriad health benefits all those foods have, I was almost going to call them *Superfood Pancakes* or *Superhero Pancakes*. However, this is, hands down, the best batch of pancakes I have ever made. In addition to being delicious and good for you, they enabled me to triumph over one of my oldest kitchen fears, that I would never learn to flip a pancake. So, Victory Pancakes they are, and ever shall be, in my book :) Breakfast as a self-esteem builder, I love it :)


Love,
Lynn

2 comments:

Nubby Tongue said...

Isn't it funny how a recipe-gone-wrong can totally traumatize you? One of my goals is "make an aioli". Last time I tried to do so I used an *ancient* food processor that overheated 3/4 of the way through drizzling in the olive oil. The heat made the emulsion break and the whole recipe went to waste. I'm pretty sure I cried and I KNOW I haven't tried since. ...Stupid emulsions. =P

a. maren said...

pancake flipping right!! it is also my nemesis! my mom used to make the very best pancakes, and so they're something i get a craving for quite often. but they're always either over or undercooked. sigh.

congrats on finally doing it though! these look so good, especially the blueberries!