December 09, 2016

Healthy, whole wheat pancakes from scratch

There are numerous things I could discuss today. The political world is, as always, in turmoil. The U.S. Senate just passed quite possibly the stupidest censorship bill in all of human history. The U.S. House of Representatives has a bill at the committee level that would make a state-issued Concealed Carry Weapon permit applicable in every state in the nation, regardless of which state issued it. China is growling about President-elect Donald Trump speaking on the telephone with the President of Taiwan and addressing her as, "Madam President". But, I am going to ignore all of it.

A couple days ago I went searching the internet for pancake recipes. I knew that the recipe could not be difficult, because so many variations are available in the boxed variety. Some boxed varieties require so many additional ingredients I've often wondered if the box itself contained anything beyond finely ground, bleached wheat flour. Every recipe I found recommended flour, sugar, milk, baking powder, eggs, and butter. Some recipes added baking soda in addition to the baking powder, some recipes added salt, some recipes added vanilla extract. Most of them had the flour, sugar, and milk in basically a 3-1-3 relationship, but some varied slightly from that foundation. Since I wanted to avoid bleached flour and bleached sugar, I knew my own pancakes would taste considerably different, but the health benefits gained from whole wheat flour and brown sugar seemed worth the risk of failure.

This is the recipe I finally created:

Whole Wheat Pancakes from Scratch

1 cup whole wheat flour
3 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
3 level teaspoons baking powder
1 level teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons pure, unsalted butter (melted)
1 extra large egg

Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl. Form a hollow in the center, add the egg, almond milk, and melted butter. Mix well.

Heat a flat-bottomed, shallow pan over a medium flame. Test with a half-teaspoon of batter. When the batter cooks without burning, use a large ladle to pour in enough batter for a 4" diameter pancake. Cook until bubbles stop rising (about 3 minutes). Use a teaspoonful of batter to fill bubble holes, then flip the pancake. Allow it to cook about 2 minutes. Place onto a plate and serve.

However, I am much too lazy for sifting and mixing and all that bother. So I grabbed my handy Nutri-Ninja, softened the butter with 20 seconds in my microwave, and threw everything into the Ninja mixing server. Instead of using the blunt plastic blades designed for cookie or bread dough, I used the steel blades designed for fruit and vegetables. I made this choice to insure the finest level of mixing possible. Close enough to sifting for a simple experiment.

Notice I left the egg out of the ingredients photo. I am sorry about that. No excuse, really, just a simple oversight on my part. Rest assured I did use 1 jumbo-size egg in the mix. I'm not sure what purpose the egg serves, but I assume it helps everything stick together.

The first one turned out almost perfect. The second one fell apart when I tried to flip it. The other two turned out well enough that I could get three pretty pancakes for the photo at the top of the page. I used my Gotham Steel, Titanium-Copper Ceramic coated pan. Naturally, this meant nothing at all was ever in any danger of sticking to the pan. Those who use a normal pan will probably want to coat the surface with a dab of oil or butter. Also, I used a small amount of cinnamon for flavoring. Naturally, other people might want to use vanilla extract, additional sugar, whole milk instead of almond milk, flavored milk, chocolate sauce or even some chopped fruit. Whatever it is they normally like to use for flavoring when they make pancakes.

The wheat flavor was very strong, which is something I happen to like. However, there is nothing sweet about these pancakes when made in accordance with the ingredient proportions above. They are not bitter or earthy in the way anything made with whole wheat can be, but they are not sweet. Anyone who expects pancakes to taste like sugar is going to want to add a lot more brown sugar.