I love Saturday breakfasts, and I guard this morning jealously. Little Man is getting of an age when dance or sport classes might make an inroad to our Saturday breakfasts, but not quite yet. It’s the one morning of the week when we don’t have to rush to be anywhere else. No one has changed out of their sleep clothes before breakfast. We haven’t washed our faces or brushed our hair, we just relax and enjoy being with each other.
Two of Little Man’s most requested breakfast foods are pancakes and waffles, which I don’t mind since I can still try to chock them full of as much nutrients as I can, then sit back and enjoy my own buttery, mapley goodness. I love pancakes too.
My favorite pancake recipe is adapted from one that we learned in upstate New York, from a family cookbook of dear friends that’s kept up at their camp. When made with all purpose flour, these are the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever had. The only problem with them was that I always ate too much, and that left me feeling all sorts of blah. So sometime after we moved away from New York I started experimenting with shifting the recipe around and incorporating whole wheat flour. They were still fluffy and awesome, but I could feel good about incorporating some whole grains into them and they didn’t leave me collapsed on the couch. I tweaked the recipe a bit more, thinning it out a bit when I wanted to make fun pancakes for little man, like his initials or a reindeer face, but for the most part I was very pleased with my Perfect Whole Wheat Pancakes.
Then came the shift in our diets and wheat was no longer welcome in our household. It has been a tough break up. Though I find that some of the gluten free flour blends are fine in some baked goods, I wasn’t happy with them in pancakes. Then I tried replacing the whole wheat flour with spelt flour, and the results were fantastic.
The spelt flour pancakes are not quite as fluffy as the whole wheat version, but they are incredibly tender and have great flavor. They aren’t just vehicles for butter and syrup, but have a great nutty taste of their own. I do still need to thin the batter a bit to make the decorative pancakes, but a little loss of fluff is worth the gain in Little Man smiles when I made planet pancakes for his birthday.
For this post I’ve included recipe links for both my Perfect Whole Wheat Pancakes and my Perfect Spelt Pancakes. The only difference between the two is in the flour used, but for the ease of people searching for recipes I’ve included them both. The pictures here are from making a batch of the spelt flour pancakes. If you are gluten intolerant, this recipe does work well with gluten free flour blends. I’ve also dosed both versions of the pancakes with a good amount of chia seed meal with the goal of sneaking in whatever extra nutrients I can to Little Man’s diet. You can, of course, purchase chia seed meal in the store, but it’s just as easy to buy a bag of chia seed and pulverize a bit every now and then in a coffee grinder. That way you have the whole seeds around if you want them, and you can grind up the meal whenever you want. I tend to make about 1/2 cup of chia seed meal at a time, and keep the rest in a baggy in the freezer.
Another plus is that if you have extra pancakes (or want to make an extra batch) these store really well in the freezer. Little Man often eats pancakes or waffles for breakfast during the week when there is no way that we have time to make them from scratch. So I tend to make larger batches on the weekend and freeze the leftovers. A couple of seconds in the microwave or in a warm skillet and they are ready to go.
Oh, and one last thing before we get down to the recipe. As one batch of pancakes are done, I put them in the warm oven on a baking tray and then start another batch. The main joy of Saturday breakfast is that we all get to sit down together to eat, not to have one family member constantly cooking pancakes to only see them devoured before the short order cook ever gets a chance to sit down. So use your warm oven well. Get the food cooked that can hang out for a bit, like the pancakes and bacon, make the coffee or tea, doing the eggs last. Then make sure that you get to sit down with your family and loved ones for a well deserved meal. You want memories with your family, not ones where they only remember you standing by the stove.
Perfect Spelt Pancakes
2 cups spelt flour
2 tbsp. chia meal (aka ground chia seeds)
1 ½ tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
2 cups almond milk (or any kind)
3 tbsp. oil
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (optional)
- Heat a cast iron griddle or other large, flat skillet over medium heat. If necessary, brush your griddle with a little canola oil. Turn your oven on to low (200°) and place a baking sheet inside.
- In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center and set the bowl aside.
- In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, measure out the almond (or cow or coconut or soy, etc.) milk then break in the eggs and add the oil. Stir with a fork until the yolks are broken and the ingredients are more or less combined. This doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to blend well.
- Make sure your griddle (or pan) is heated and oiled. Pour the batter onto the griddle in the amounts you desire. I use about ½ cup for a really big pancake with a tablespoon or slightly more for silver dollar sized ones.
- Wait until the edges of the pancakes start to look a bit dry and the bubbles stop forming. This is a relative waiting game, and will differ based on the heat of your griddle/pan, etc. Flip your pancakes and adjust the heat. If they are too brown turn down your heat and wait a moment to let the griddle/pan cool. If they are too pale, raise the heat slightly.
- Once cooked, remove the pancakes from the griddle and put on the warmed baking tray in the oven. Repeat with all of the remaining batter until all the pancakes are cooked. Prep/cook any sides you want, and warm the maple syrup (the real stuff, please). Enjoy an awesome breakfast!
Click here for a printable version of the Perfect Spelt Pancakes recipe.
Click here for a printable version of the Perfect Whole Wheat Pancakes recipe.