Friday, September 16, 2011

Pancakes (Dairy Free)



So for the past, oh, 3 years or so, our Emm has eaten a Van's Chocolate Chip Waffle for breakfast.  Van's Waffles are the best frozen waffles you can buy.  They toast up crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside and have an excellent vanilla taste.  And because I don't allow my kids to have syrup on their waffles on a school day, I gave her maple flavored yogurt to dip her waffle in.
If you read my previous post, you already know the disaster that created. 

 The third ingredient in Van's Chocolate Chip Waffles?  That's right, Non Fat Milk.  And yogurt.  She doesn't even like yogurt, I just made her eat it because I thought it would be better for her than maple syrup.  It's like when they were children, and they'd be all, Mommy my feet hurt, and I'd be like no they don't we just bought you new shoes, but they'd complain and complain and you take them to the shoe store and it turns out their little feet have grown two solid sizes and you've been jamming their feet into those now tiny shoes.  It was like that.  Only worse.  A lot worse.  Yeah, so I don't feel badly about that AT ALL.

We started giving her oatmeal for a quick breakfast, but on weekends we are serious fans of pancakes. (With a side of bacon, of course.)  And I always made pancakes with buttermilk and butter - but I wanted to see if I could make them dairy free - and still have them taste good.  I started out using vanilla flavored soy milk and the dreaded earth's best margarine (again, previous post for what I think about THAT stuff) - and the pancakes were passable - but didn't get that nice crust we liked that came about when you buttered the pan.  Plus, the soy milk, no matter how much you try to hide it with vanilla flavoring, to me just tastes off.  There is an aftertaste.  I know lots of people like it, and I'm certainly not hating on the whole soy industry - it's just - for us, well, ew.  Plus in all my breast cancer research, there is a link between soy and hormones and breast cancer, so the girls and I are probably better off not drinking it.  So we switched it out for vanilla flavored rice milk - and that was great. No weird after taste - but I was still left with, ok I'm just going to say it, flaccid pancakes.  Ew.

I don't know why it took me so long, but I finally switched the margarine out for good old canola oil, and LOW AND BEHOLD, the perfect pancakes.  Add to them some dairy free chocolate chips and they were amazing.  Plus, no stomach ache.  And the other family members loved them.  So happiness all around.

I like to mix the dry ingredients for my pancakes and just leave it sitting in a jar so that it takes me a fraction of the time to make breakfast in the morning.

To do this scoop 4 cups of all purpose flour, 3 TBLSP of baking powder, 2 tsp of baking soda,  a scant TLBS of sea or kosher salt and 2 TLBS of sugar into a large jar and put the lid on and shake it up.  If you want to get fancy, you can divide this mixture into two smaller jars and drop a vanilla bean into one and an orange peel in the other - which will gently flavor your pancakes.  Or get crazy and drop in a cinnamon stick.

Then, when you are ready to make your pancakes, break 1 large egg into a large bowl.  Add 1 cup of vanilla flavored rice milk and 1TLBS of canola or other lightly flavored oil (grapeseed is good, but olive oil is too strong) to the bowl and give it a good whisking.  

Then dump in 1 cup of the pancake mixture.  If you mixture is plain, add 1 tsp of vanilla before mixing it.  If it is already flavored, leave it be.  Play around - have fun - go nuts with the flavors.  Mix it up until it is only marginally lumpy.  If it looks too dry, add more rice milk.  I don't like my batter too dry.

While you are doing all this, you should be preheating your pan or griddle.  Just before you make you pancakes - add a swirl of canola oil (this is usually a couple of tblsps) - Cook the pancakes over medium heat until the bubbles burst, then flip 'em.  I find that if I cook them on to high a heat they burn quickly, probably because of the oil - but do be sure your pan is good and hot before you add the oil.  Then turn the heat down to medium when you add the batter.

We are big fans of adding chocolate chips.  Emm has become addicted to these Enjoy Life Mega Chunk chocolate chips which are dairy, wheat and nut free.  A handful of these sprinkled on top of the pancake while it cooks, before you flip it - takes it from darn good to spectacular.

Heavenly - dairy (and stomach ache) FREE


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