10/15/2013

vegan oatmeal pancakes

Yum

Breakfast is easily my favorite thing to eat and make. I'm not mega-adventurous in this department, and usually go with what we've all been making for years now: hot cereals, eggs, yogurt and of course, pancakes. You'd be hard-pressed to find a pancake I'd turn away, in fact. What's in it or on it is really of no consequence to me. Can I add syrup? Then I'm sold.


Still, it's not often the healthiest option out there, especially if you're ordering a stack of them at your local diner. And we've all been there, right? Usually closer to midnight than morning hours, but you get it. 


Even French toast offers a little more nutritional value, depending on the bread you use and that sort of thing. But pancakes. Who wants to give up pancakes? Not this girl. On a mission to make them more accessible and every-day-eating, I discovered a pretty awesome vegan version in last month's issue of Vegetarian Times. In an effort to beef-up breakfast (without the beef, of course), VT took submissions for best brunch recipes, and Mary Shore's vegan oatmeal pancakes immediately caught my eye. 

With a few substitutions from my pantry, and Mary's suggestions, you'll need:

3/4 cup coconut milk (almond, soy or another non-dairy option here will also work)
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for drizzling, DUH.
2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of sea salt

Combine your coconut milk, maple syrup and oil in a small bowl. Add your oats and let them soak for about ten minutes, but no less than five. They'll absorb some of the moisture and soften up a little so your pancakes aren't too chewy.



While you wait, in a separate bowl stir together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Once your milk-oat combo is ready, mix these two together. You might find that you need a little more moisture to make the batter spread evenly. You can add more milk, a little at a time, until the texture is a tad runnier.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with more coconut oil. The great thing about using coconut oil here is that it adds a certain crispness to the edges of your pancakes. Now, I tend to make pancakes on the small-ish side, so you can probably cook 3-4 at a time if you keep them tiny. Mary suggests letting them cook for 2-3 minutes per side, but my luck with pancakes usually means that this time frame would result in an utterly burnt disaster, so you be the judge of when to flip. I've made these several times now (note: adding a few mini chocolate chips is wise) and they are a little slow to cook, so keep the heat low and don't wander off. 


Once you've run through all your batter (this mixture will make about 15 small pancakes), it's time to dig in: serve with more syrup, fresh fruit, peanut butter or cookie butter (um, HELLO). What a way to start the day. Honestly, my favorite thing about this recipe is that I never once found them lacking, or like I was missing a certain flavor or element of a traditional pancake that this healthy vegan variety didn't deliver: they were, to say the least, slammin'.