As a kid my mom whipped up a batch of crepes for dinner once a month for me and my three siblings. We each filled our own thin pancake with jam or jelly, rolled it like a burrito, doused it in powdered sugar and inhaled our creation as quickly as possible without choking on powdered sugar dust. No one seemed concerned with the amount of sugar inside or outside the pancake and, not surprisingly, this was a favorite meal for us kids. The recipe for the thin crepes was always made with Bisquick, just like all the other pancakes we made at home. It was the way Grandma had made them, and Mom followed suit teaching me the recipe by the time I was ten. What I’ve come to realize though is that Bisquick pancakes, like most super-refined products, taste unremarkable and require large amounts of jam, butter, or syrup to make them edible.
So my original love of pancakes must have come from the sugar my parents permitted me to load on top of them, but today my appreciation for the simple pancake is something different entirely. Over the years I have refined my love of the humble pancake and the cravings come now more than ever. The reason they never grow old? – No Bisquick, no standard recipe, no rules. Total creative freedom every time I grab the mixing bowl. And because they’re so easy to make healthy, there’s no guilt when eating to my heart’s content, no heavy belly dragging me down, no sugar crash. When quality ingredients are used, the pancake stands alone, no sugar coating necessary.
The pancake possibilities are endless, the results available to taste test in mere minutes, flavor and consistency alterable as you fry and sample. Think outside the circle; pancakes taste better (at least to kids) when shaped like turtles, balloons, snakes, trees and letters. It’s easy to incorporate a variety of whole grains, protein and fruit into your batter, giving you a secretly nutritious breakfast that doesn’t leave you reaching for the syrup bottle and won’t leave you eyeing the couch after eating.
Cinnamon Walnut Pancakes with Crystallized Ginger
1 cup white whole wheat flour
¼ cup buckwheat flour
¼ cup quick cooking oats
3 T. flax meal (ground flax seeds)
½ – ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (depending on preferred consistency)
¼ t. salt
1 T. baking powder
1 ½ t. ground cinnamon
1 cup milk or milk alternative
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ t. pure vanilla extract
2 T. maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 T. melted Earth Balance vegan spread or butter + extra to fry
½ cup chopped walnuts
3 T. chopped crystallized ginger
Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl (wheat flour – cinnamon). Combine liquid ingredients (milk – butter) in a quart sized measuring glass, or just make a well in your dry ingredients where you can whisk them together. Gently mix together. Add walnuts and ginger and mix gently once more.
Preheat your frying pan over medium heat, adding just enough butter or Earth Balance spread to coat your pan. Once it’s hot…you know what to do. Stay close to the pan and remember to coat with butter between batches.