On Sunday, I made one of my new favorite breakfasts: oat apple pancakes. Niko and Sofia both love them, and the apples soften enough while cooking that my toothless wonder won’t choke. I’ve been trying these out on the kids for a few weeks, but this was my first time making them for Aaron, who said with pleased surprise, “These are really good pancakes!” Coming from a man who is a much better cook than I am and a tad picky about his food, that was all the confirmation I needed. These are good. They’re easy, healthy, and dairy-free. You can expect to get about a dozen smallish pancakes from this batch.
Dairy is not typically a concern for me, but we discovered soon after having Sofia that she has a milk protein sensitivity, and I’ve had to cut out milk while we’re nursing. So if you’re avoiding dairy too, these are the pancakes for you. If you’re not, feel free to use ordinary milk instead of coconut milk, and melted butter instead of oil. They’ll be very similar.
The first thing you need to do is make some oat flour, unless you have some on hand. I don’t really use it that much, and I find it pretty easy just to make it as I need it. To make a cup of oat flour, just scoop about 1⅛ cups of rolled oats into the blender. Blend it on the highest setting, pausing now and then to shake it down or scrape the sides. You can stop when it feels velvety-soft.
Pause here for a rant on heating your pan. When you read baking recipes, the recipe always says right at the beginning, Preheat your oven to… But no one ever says to preheat your pan for frying. Here’s a secret: You need to preheat. If your pan isn’t hot when you start, you get weird pancakes. They don’t rise properly, they stick, and sometimes they spread too far and fall apart when you try to flip them. Now, I know recipes always say to use a hot pan or griddle, but I find that it takes longer than one would expect to really get it heated properly. There you are, pancakes ready to go, bubbles gently rising in the batter as you slowly lose fluffiness potential, waiting for the griddle to heat. I say, no more! Preheat that pan! I always turn the heat on at this point (as I’m ready to start mixing) at a medium-high temperature, and spray it with cooking oil or coat it with butter. By the time the pancakes are mixed, it will be just the perfect temperature. I turn it down to medium just before I pour the pancakes onto the griddle. And no more tossing the first pancakes of the morning into the trash. End preheating rant.
Next, use a medium mixing bowl to thoroughly mix the following dry ingredients: the oat flour (of course), ½ cup of all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda,
and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Peel, core, and chop an apple. Aim for thin chunks abut ½ inch square. Too thick, and they won’t cook through.
The next part works best in the blender. You could use a whisk in a bowl instead of the blender, but you already dirtied it making the oat flour, so why not use it one more time before you wash it? It’s always a good idea to beat your eggs when adding them to pancakes – especially oat pancakes, which can be a little on the dense side – because the extra air helps add fluffiness. The blender makes the whipping fast and easy.
So. Dump all this into the blender: Two eggs, 1 cup of almond or coconut milk (I suppose you could use soy, but I find the flavor off-putting), 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Why the vinegar? We’re imitating the effect of buttermilk. Buttermilk (and vinegar) is acidic and will react with baking soda, which is a base. The reaction creates bubbles of carbon dioxide. Translation: fluffy, crisp pancakes. Give it a whirl in the blender till it’s frothy and smooth.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir it gently together. Add the chopped apples, stir gently again, and you’re
ready to cook them. Use a ¼ cup measure or a small ladle to pour the batter onto your preheated, oiled baking surface. Let the pancakes cook until you see that the edges are looking set, almost dry. When you flip them, the backs should be golden brown and crisp. (If they’re not, just let them finish cooking on the second side and then flip them back to finish on the first side. No biggie.)
These are best eaten drizzled with honey. There’s just something about the way the sweet honey complements the nutty oat flavor, and the sweet-but-tart apples bring the flavors together like a bright ribbon binding a bouquet.
Here is a more concise format of this recipe.