Gingerbread Pancakes (Gluten-Free)
Last Sunday morning was ideal. After our Pilates class, I whipped up these tender pancakes, fragrant with fall spices and topped with sautéed apples and warm maple syrup. Steve and I devoured them after our workout, satisfied I’d finally created the perfect weekend breakfast treat—for anyone, on a gluten-free diet or not.
When I first had to give up gluten, I missed Sunday morning pancakes. However, I didn’t want to make disappointing copies of something that I thought needed wheat flour to be good, plus I had no interest in relying on the white starches generally used in gluten-free baked goodies. I don’t like the bland flavor and dry texture they impart, or that they are devoid of nutrients.
Then I started playing around with the many whole grain gluten-free flours that are now available. The first pancakes I came up with were pretty dense, but at least they looked like a weekend breakfast and they soaked up maple syrup. I persevered, and now I have a recipe that we both love!
I use a mix of tasty and nutritious flours here—delicate oat and sorghum for structure and slight sweetness, earthy buckwheat and corn for depth of flavor. I love this combo, but you’d probably have good results using just one of these flours, or changing the proportions, as long as you stick to 1½ cups total (well, 1½ cups of robustly flavored buckwheat could be overwhelming).
For a more traditional taste, replace the spices with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and leave out the molasses. Simple or spiced versions are both great with a generous pour of maple syrup, and adding seasonal fruit to the syrup makes them even better. Pears are every bit as complimentary to these pancakes as apples, so are berries, and peaches are wonderful in the summer. To balance the sweetness, I spoon a dollop of yogurt on top of my stack of cakes before ladling on the fruit and syrup; Steve thinks this is weird.
I hope you see this blog post in time to enjoy these pancakes on Sunday.
Gingerbread Pancakes (Gluten-Free)
The batter can be made the night before and stored covered in the refrigerator. The fruit topping is optional, and can be replaced with maple syrup. For a tangy variation, try topping each pancake with a dollop of yogurt before spooning on the fruit and syrup.
Makes about 15 4-inch pancakes
¾ cup sorghum flour
½ cup gluten-free oat flour
2 tablespoons whole grain corn flour
2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup milk or milk substitute (I like soy milk)
3 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter, plus more for cooking
2 tablespoons molasses
¼ cup butter
1½ pounds golden delicious apples or Anjou pears, peeled, cored, cut into ⅓-inch thick slices
½ cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the pancakes: In a medium bowl, combine the sorghum flour, oat flour, corn flour, buckwheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Whisk to blend. Pour the milk into a 2-cup glass measuring cup or small bowl. Add the eggs and beat with a fork to break up the eggs. Add 3 tablespoons oil and molasses and mix to blend. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth and well blended, adding more sorghum flour or milk to adjust the texture if needed.
For the fruit: Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the fruit and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes for pears or 5 minutes for apples, stirring occasionally. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon and stir to blend. Remove from the heat.
Preheat to oven to the lowest setting. Heat a griddle or heavy large skillet over medium heat. Brush with butter or oil. Ladle on the batter by 2-tablespoonfuls, forming 4-inch pancakes. Cook until a few bubbles form around the edges, about 2 minutes. Turn over the pancakes and cook until the bottoms brown and the centers feel firm when gently touched, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter, brushing the griddle with more butter or oil as needed.
Divide the pancakes among warmed plates. Top with the fruit and syrup and serve.