Sunday, August 17, 2014


The only way to wake up Sam on a Saturday morning is with the aroma of pancakes cooking on the griddle. My children grew up enjoying everyone's favorite "Aunt Jemima" buttermilk pancake mix. My only concession to using the store bought mix was to never succumb to the complete version that only calls for water. Mixing in my own eggs and milk seemed to make it more homemade somehow, especially when the artist in me created pancakes shaped liked their initials or a heart!

Going gluten free made my own love for pancakes a challenge. I started off trying a few GF pancake mixes on the market and cooking a small batch separately just for me. My attempt to create a tastier pancake led to a batter made completely from scratch, using the best blend of ingredients. Everyone now prefers mine for our pancake brunches on the weekends. 

Base Pancake Mix

This base recipe makes 5 bags of dry pancake mix to store in your pantry. Grab a bag any morning you'd like to whip up a batch for your family. To this mix simply add your fresh eggs and milk, and any delicious combination of tasty ingredients. Blueberry pancakes? Chocolate chip pancakes? It's easy!

1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 cup potato starch
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
1 Tablespoon fine salt
1 Tablespoon Xantham gum
1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar (you can omit this and then a heaping tablespoon of agave or honey with the wet ingredients instead)

Mix all ingredients in a very large bowl. Blend well.
Divide mix evenly into 5 ziplock baggies. There should be about 1 1/4 cups of mix in each bag. Label the outside of the bags and store them in your pantry.

Blueberry Cheese Pancakes

Most recipes call for adding the eggs and milk to the dry ingredients but I found that it was hard to mix in the unbeaten eggs and just the right amount of milk without over mixing the batter (a big mistake for pancake batter). My recipe starts with the wet ingredients to avoid this problem. This recipe will make about ten 4" pancakes.

2 eggs
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 bag pancake mix (1 1/4 cups)
Blueberries (fresh or unsweetened frozen)
Oil or butter for pan
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk and vanilla. Add the lemon zest and ricotta cheese.
  • To the wet ingredients, add the bag of pancake mix. Stir until just combined. It should appear as a thick batter that will cling to your mixing spoon but easily drip back into the bowl. Gluten free flours tend to be a bit more absorbent than regular flours and may require more liquid. I found that 1 cup of almond milk works well, and that is quite different than the usual proportion of dry to wet with ordinary flour based pancakes.
  • Heat a griddle or large nonstick frying pan with grapeseed oil or butter. Use a ladle to add small rounds of batter to the hot pan.
  • Arrange blueberries on each pancake.

  • Cook over medium high heat until small bubbles appear. Flip pancakes over and cook until golden brown on both sides.
  • Serve with real maple syrup!

Pumpkin Pancakes

Follow same directions above, but skip the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and blueberries. Instead, blend in 1/4 cup pumpkin purée into wet ingredients. Add 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to batter. These are delicious with fresh sliced fruit such as bananas and strawberries served on top.

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Follow same directions as blueberry pancakes, but skip the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and blueberries. Instead, blend in 1/2 large mashed banana and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the batter. As I did for the blueberries, I never add the chocolate chips directly to the batter, but arrange them evenly on the pancakes while the first side is still cooking on the griddle.

Apple Nut Pancakes

Follow same directions as blueberry pancakes, but skip the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and blueberries. Instead, blend in 1 small grated apple (peel the apple and then simply grate it over the bowl using the large holes of a grater), 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts to the batter. 

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