It seems like most hearty breakfasts, you know the kind you might order at a diner on a lazy Saturday morning, or get from a “special occasion Sunday buffet”, or even the kind you might make if you were inclined to host a weekend brunch at your house, are laden with gluten and dairy. Think of it: pancakes, waffles, crepes, doughnuts, omelettes, stratas, bagels, muffins, croissants, and on and on.
One of the fondest holiday breakfast traditions from my childhood was when my mom made cheddar strata. She would assemble it on Christmas Eve, layered with shredded cheddar, milk, eggs, and white bread, refrigerate it overnight and it would bake in the oven while we opened our presents Christmas morning. I remember the homey taste vividly even today, although it’s been years since I’ve had it. Most of the comforting breakfast foods my memories are built around are full of the stuff I shouldn’t eat. How about you, what gluten filled breakfast item are you missing?
Fluffy pancakes were, perhaps, the most sorely missed breakfast fare of my husband and daughter, and the dish that I tinkered with the soonest, after beginning our gluten and dairy free culinary adventure. This version,which I’ve made refined sugar free with the use of honey, is also free of gums, dairy, and gluten. It turns out a nice fluffy pancake, something that was lacking in the 20 or so flat incarnations that came before it. My husband is partial to mashed bananas in his, while my daughter loves blueberries or chocolate chip (or both as seen in the picture below) mix-ins. My son isn’t so keen on pancakes, but when I recently added blueberries and red raspberries in my fruit loving son’s pancake, he gobbled it down.
- 1¾ cup The Culinary Artist's Gluten Free Flour (no gums) or an all purpose flour of your choice
- ¼ cup sugar or honey
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup "buttermilk". I make my own dairy free buttermilk by adding a bit of lemon juice to unsweetened rice or almond milk (see instructions below)
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (only if making your own dairy free buttermilk)
- 1 egg, room temperature or 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax seed meal mixed with 3 tablespoons water to make one "flax egg"
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil or other cooking oil plus more for brushing the skillet as needed between batches of pancakes
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Optional: Custom mix-ins such as chocolate chips, roughly mashed banana, blueberries, toasted pecans, peanut butter, pan-toasted oats, pumpkin puree, crumbled crispy bacon, sauteed diced apples, and/or instant espresso powder (delicious with the chocolate chips).
- Whisk together the flour, sugar (if using honey add it to the liquid ingredients), baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. In a 1 cup glass measuring cup, add the 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Add enough rice or almond milk to measure 1 cup. Let sit for 10 minutes to "sour" the milk and create your own "buttermilk".
- To the "buttermilk", whisk in the egg (or thickened "flax egg" mixture), vanilla, and honey (if using instead of sugar). Add the buttermilk/egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Whisk very gently until the liquid is just incorporated (a few lumps should remain). Stir in the oil.
- Heat a 12 inch non stick skillet or electric griddle over medium heat. Brush pan bottom with 1 teaspoon oil. Using ¼ cup of batter per pancake, add the batter to the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook until large bubbles begin to appear, about 2 minutes. If you are adding mix-ins you may add them now, before you flip the pancake.
- Flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, about 1½ minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing the pan with additional oil as needed.
- If serving a crowd, preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Place your hot pancakes onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until serving time. Do not overlap the pancakes.
I always make an enormous batch of pancakes (more than I know we’ll eat at one meal) with the intention of freezing the extras for those busy mornings when we need a quick breakfast. Simply lay the extras on a sheet pan in a single layer and freeze for several hours or overnight. Once frozen solid, stack and transfer them to a freezer bag. Since they’ve already been individually frozen, they’ll be ready to pull out of the bag one at a time without sticking to one another. They reheat easily in the microwave from the frozen state or at a low temperature in the oven once defrosted.
I’ve submitted this recipe to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Diet, Dessert and Dogs’ Wellness Weekend and Sugar Free Sunday. Check out these blogs for recipes from fellow bloggers with a similar passion for good food made a little healthier.