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About eight years ago my grandmother, who knows we love cooking, bought me a cook book dedicated entirely to pancakes. Just looking at the cover brought back memories of my grandfather sitting at the dining room table during family vacations while about 18 of us watched him flip pancakes on the griddle and pass them down the table one at a time. It was a family ritual that probably took forever to accomplish but sticks in all of our minds as one of the happiest of traditions.
Those pancakes were probably made from a boxed mix and, I hate to admit, accompanied by a squeeze bottle of fake maple syrup.
Now that I am a parent, and a health conscious parent to-boot, the thought of making pancakes
As time went on, our notes in the recipe and all of the variations we tried – changing quantities, ingredients, and our cooking approach – were so extensive that the original recipe was no longer relevant. We wrote our own recipe on the back of an envelope and inserted it into the cookbook and it has lived there ever since (because for some reason it was just easier to find it there than to put it in a recipe box!).
Our new recipe mixes a variety of whole grains to add a hearty nut-like flavor to the final product, adds ground flax seed for an added punch of healthy Omegas, and relies on handy powdered buttermilk rather than having fresh buttermilk on hand. It uses maple syrup as a sweetener instead of sugar, and cuts the butter in half (which never seemed to affect the final product). It also adds little touches to the process, like mixing the egg whites separately to create a more fluffy final product (a trick my mother taught me, even when using a box) and letting the batter sit for about 5-10 minutes before cooking to let the whole grains absorb more of the moisture (a trick I learned from my favorite whole grain brownie recipe).
The final product is a hearty, thick, whole grain pancake that is well complemented by fresh or frozen blueberries and, of course, a nice topping of warm Vermont maple syrup. It’s healthy comfort food.
Recipe: Whole Grain Pancakes
(note, this recipe serves a family of four with leftovers to put in the freezer for mid-week!)
1 cup whole wheat flour (we prefer King Arthur White Whole Wheat)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup cornmeal
8T buttermilk powder
4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
2 cups water
3 eggs, divided
3 T melted butter
¼ cup maple syrup
+ Blueberries or your favorite pancake addition!
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl with a wire wisk.
Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.
Mix water, egg yolks, melted butter, and maple syrup, then add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended (some lumps will remain).
Add egg whites last, gently folding into the mixture.
Allow mixture to rest for 10 minutes while you heat your griddle to medium-low heat. This is also a great time to get your maple syrup heating up on the stove top, if you prefer it warm.
Spoon batter onto griddle in about ¼ to ½ cup scoops, depending on your preference for pancake size. Add blueberries if desired. Allow to cook until bubbles begin to form in the wet batter on top (about 3-5 minutes depending on the temperature of your griddle); gently flip and cook through on the other side (another 2-4 minutes).
Serve and enjoy!