Monday, February 21, 2011
I was very happy to just settle in for a quiet, solitary morning today (it's a holiday in Ontario) because I spent Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday visiting my friend Kat and her family, who are lovely, but certainly not sedate! I really enjoyed hanging out with her two excellent kids and I even enjoyed cleaning her entire dining room. However, a morning alone with CBC radio and pancakes was exactly what I was in need of today.
I am easily annoyed by pancakes. So often they end up being nothing more than a vessel created specifically for the transport of butter and maple syrup. This has led to a culture of bland, floppy pancakes, unable to stand on their own. I am not into this!
I eat pancakes maybe once a month, usually when I have a day off during the week and am eating a leisurely breakfast all by myself when the Man of Science had gone off to work. He is not a pancake fan. And nobody get him started on waffles, please. At any rate, I have been alone in my quest for perfect pancakes. But no matter! As of this morning I am pleased to report that I have finally, after years of arduous research, found my perfect pancake recipe.
I've been experimenting with an almondy pancake for a while now, largely because who wouldn't want to say "marzipancakes" as many times as possible? There is no actual marzipan in these pancakes, but they are slightly sweet and flavoured with almond extract so we're still allowed to invoke marzipan in their name. Because I said so.
The success of these was as much technique as it was ingredients. I made them into quite small pancakes so they were firm and crisp on the outside, which is what I really like. No soggy pancakes here! Nothing that disintegrates as soon as the syrup hits. The sliced almonds are added after the first side of the pancake is cooked, waiting until the last possible second, so when they are flipped and come in contact with the pan, they toast instead of burning, as the rest of the pancake cooks.
In the end this is a very simple recipe, made entirely of pantry-ready ingredients. The spelt flour, flax, agave, and almonds make it healthier than the average pancake and less likely to mess with your blood sugar. I think these would even be great without syrup, they are that good. I'd be perfectly willing to eat them with jam or apple sauce. Or maybe with a light dust of powdered sugar if you're into that kind of thing. Whatever. Just go make them already.
Jennifer's Perfect Marzipancakes
1 1/2 cups light spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground flax seed
6 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp agave nectar
sliced almonds for tops of pancakes
Put a cast iron or non-stick pan on a burner set to just above medium heat.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine ground flax seed and water in a small bowl, mix vigorously.
To the flax and water mixture add the almond milk, almond extract, vanilla extract, and agave nectar.
When the pan is hot, pour batter in and let cook until tops are bubbling and beginning to dry.
(You can make large pancakes if you prefer, but this worked very well for me with smaller pancakes, approximately two or three inches in diameter.)
Before flipping, sprinkle sliced almonds on the uncooked side of the pancake.
Because you've let them cook for a good while on the first side, the second side shouldn't take long to cook. This will ensure that the almonds are toasted, but not burnt.
Makes about 20 small pancakes. I ate mine with mango and tempeh bacon and tea.
Eat to the Beat: Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can't See Land (quickly become the anthem of my late winter!)