I see my favorite pancakes cooking in front of me.
I have finally found a whole-grain pancake recipe that doesn't taste like sawdust. This recipe is adapted from one in the current issue of Gourmet--their recipe is intended for camping and uses dried buttermilk; I used fresh and I added a little vanilla. The cakes have whole-wheat flour and corn meal--no white flour at all--but they don't hit your gut like a hunk of lead. Brian thought they tasted a bit too much like corn bread--he prefers the white flour kind of pancake--but I didn't think the corn meal overwhelmed the taste. The whole wheat flour gave them a nutty flavor and the corn meal provided a little chewiness.
The small people in the house dictate the shape. The three pictured above turned out rather well. Some of their ursine brethren looked as though they'd been hanging out near a nuclear waste dump with ears of wildly different sizes hanging off their heads. But thankfully my kids are not perfectionists in the realm of pancake art.
I also made a version of the topping recommended in the Gourmet article:
Frozen cherries and berries warmed up with maple syrup. Yum. (They recommended fresh blackberries and maple syrup but unless you happen to be camping right next to a blackberry thicket, I think that's a waste of fresh blackberries.)
With one over-easy egg (from Sunrise Poultry--Sarah told me about these eggs which have huge orange yolks; you can get them at Arbor Farms) and a cup of black coffee, they made for a fine morning repast.
For once, I made these pancakes before the rest of the household woke up (well, Fiona was awake but I lulled her into passivity with a video of Curious George). My oven has a "keep warm" setting and I put it to good use and made all the pancakes at once rather than our usual method of everyone sitting at the kitchen table, yelling at me that they are hungry and then only getting one small pancake at a time. Three fit easily in a pan so that usually means I don't get any until I have pacified the hungry monsters (I feed Brian so he will deal with all of their butter, syrup, cut-into-small-pieces requests). It was weird to all be sitting down to a cooked breakfast at once, but weird in a good way.
adapted from Gourmet, May 2006
1 1/4 C whole-wheat flour
1/3 C fine ground cornmeal (don't use the polenta type)
2 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1 T sugar
3/4 t salt
1 C shaken buttermilk
1/2 C skim milk
2 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 C canola oil
Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl, then add buttermilk, milk, eggs, vanilla and oil and whisk until smooth. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes--it will thicken up a bit. If it is too thick to pour, add a T water and whisk again.
Bake the way you would bake any pancake--you know the routine, wait for some bubbles and the surface to look a little dry before flipping. My cast iron skillet sprayed with canola oil between batches worked great. If you want to eat with the folks for whom you are cooking, set your oven at 200 degrees and put the finished pancakes on a cookie sheet in the oven until you are done cooking all the batter. If you'd rather not eat with the people for whom you are cooking (there are times when you'd really rather not have to be pleasant at the breakfast table and as you are already being very, very nice making pancakes for everyone, you should have the option of choosing whether you want dining companions or not) go ahead and do them three by three and use that excuse to hide in the kitchen.
For the berry-syrup, mix about 1 C frozen cherry-berry fruit mix with 1/2 C maple syrup and nuke for a minute or so until warm.
Serve the pancakes with lots of butter and syrup.