Monday, August 25, 2008

PANCAKES! Yes, pancakes.

I've been delinquent for a while, since I was in a hotel for most of the last month. I subsisted on bags of frozen vegetables and PB&J during that time, which isn't really all that interesting.

This weekend, however, I discovered a new pancake-making method which I just had to share!

I've made vegan pancakes numerous times, but probably never the exact same way twice. I'm fond of experimentation, so on the rare occasions that pancake-making is feasible, I like to satisfy my curiosity and my desire for pancakey goodness at the same time. That being said, I will probably stick to the following recipe from now on. It was that awesome.

I was up in the mountains for the last few weeks, and before I came home last week, I stopped by Catoctin Mountain Orchard, a roadside stand that has the most incredible raspberry jam, and frozen pies that you bake yourself, and truly astonishing peaches. Anyway, I was there buying all of the things I just mentioned, when I overheard a pair of ladies discussing pancakes.

One of the ladies was describing her grandmother's pancake recipe, which used no eggs, and used carbonated water to make the pancakes light and fluffy. She insisted that this was the best pancake recipe ever. I wondered if, as in the case of the Wacky Cake, an apparently boring ingredient (carbonated water in this case, or vinegar and soda in the Wacky Cake) could create deliciousness from nothing through the magic of science.

This piqued my interest, so this Sunday I got busy in my freshly-unpacked (and gigantic!) new kitchen.


3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup wheat bran

1/3 cup spelt flour*

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup soy milk

1/3 cup carbonated water (I used club soda)

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil

2 tsp vanilla or other extract

optional: walnuts, berries, or other "add-ins"


Preheat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the soy milk, carbonated water, sugar, and oil. Combine the two and mix until JUST combined.

IMPORTANT: Overmixing leads to bad, unfluffy pancakes, so I suggest the following: take your wire whisk and give the mixture ten strokes. If there's still dry flour mixture unincorporated, try to quickly mix it in with two or three more whisks. Then, no matter how lumpy and uncombined it looks, just LEAVE IT. The batter is done.

Grease your griddle or pan with margarine or a little oil, and get cooking! I used about 1/3 cup dollops of pancake batter for each pancake. The first side always takes a little longer: I gave them about 2-3 minutes, or until bubbles had formed near the center of each pancake, before flipping.

Tip: set your oven to "warm" and stack the pancakes on a plate in the warm oven as you go along. UPDATE: I saw an episode of "Good Eats" in which Alton Brown recommended that you place the pancakes into a folded tea towel on a cookie sheet in your warm oven. This technique seems to do well at keeping pancakes perfect while you keep cooking!

These pancakes were amazingly good! They were fluffy! They tasted delicious! I'm trying them with peaches in them next time. Or maybe blueberries. Or both!

*Notes: I like everything to be bursting with healthiness. If you like, you can probably substitute 1 1/3 cups regular flour for the mixture of flour, wheat bran, and spelt flour.