Whenever I go out for breakfast or brunch I have a silent debate about what to order. Usually, I will toggle back and forth between the different selections. Do I want pancakes? Eggs? My thoughts circle around in my head questioning which would be healthier, won’t leave me hungry in two hours, and what do I really want? It is ridiculous, but I must walk my way through the menu, weigh each option, assess my mood, then grant my wish.
On the occasion that I do choose pancakes, I feel as if I have made a gutsy decision. A cheer for a laissez-faire attitude to eat whatever I want, and stand up to the imaginary food police. When did pancakes become a guilty pleasure? A song comes to mind coaxing me to live by the wise words of Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
Fortunately, I devised a solution to convince my inner grumblings and created a more “nutritiously dense” pancake breakfast. I substituted all-purpose flour with oat flour. I could be kidding myself, believing pancakes made with oat flour are healthier and a more nutritious choice then pancakes made with all-purpose flour. It is a whole grain after all. At this time I am not sure how reliable my nutritional information is. Yet, if we put the potential nutritional benefits aside, pancakes made with oat flour are moist, airy, and have a slightly nutty and sweet flavor. In other words they taste great, extra health benefits or not.
It is not just a straight swap of all-purpose flour with oat flour. Oat flour does not have the gluten proteins and will need extra leavening. Also, oat flour has more moisture than all-purpose flour, so you might not need the same ratio of liquid to flour. The easy part is, pancakes are the perfect place to start learning how to cook with gluten-free flour because of its free-form structure.
You can make oat flour by putting rolled oats into a blender and grind away. However, the flour will not get as smooth as the store-bought oat flour. The uneven gritty texture might be fine in some baked goods, but I prefer my pancakes light with a fluffy texture minus the granules. If you can find oat flour at your grocery store, buy it. Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur are two companies that make oat flour. Fortunately, Bob’s Red Mill is widely available at most grocery stores and usually costs around $3.65, and over $6.00 for gluten-free oat flour. If you want to make banana oat pancakes for someone with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, make sure the “gluten-free” is written on the label.
I believe oat flour adds a nice flavor to pancakes and does not have that floury aftertaste that you sometimes get with all-purpose flour. Banana Oat Pancakes are a great way to sneak in some oatmeal for little ones, (and big ones) who are not so fond of eating a bowl of oatmeal cereal.
Airy Banana Oat Pancakes
- 3 Tb (43 g) melted butter
- 2 cups (200 g) oat flour
- 3 Tbs (56 g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tb plus 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 tsp if using store bought ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ cups (375 ml) milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, separated
- ¾ cup (137 g) rough chopped bananas about 1 ½ bananas
Preheat oven to 225˚F. Place a baking sheet in the oven on a rack in the middle of the oven.
Melt the butter using a microwave or stove top. Set the butter aside to come to room temperature.
Sift the oat flour into a large mixing bowl
Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg to the bowl with the oat flour. Stir the ingredients so they are evenly combined with a wire whisk. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolks, milk, and vanilla together using a whisk until thoroughly combined.
Add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix together until well combined with the whisk. The batter will thicken and you will see some air bubbles. Add the cooled melted butter and bananas then mix until just combined.
Add the egg whites and mix until well combined. You do not have to worry about over mixing with oat flour because there are no gluten proteins to toughen up the mix. Optional: whip the egg whites to stiff but not dry. Fold one quarter of the egg whites into the batter, then add the remaining egg whites. Carefully fold the egg whites until all mixed in.
Heat your grill or skillet to medium or medium/high heat. (I set my electric griddle to 350˚F, then turn in down to 325˚F when it is hot.) To test if your pan is hot enough, flick some water onto the surface of your heated pan. If the water bubbles, sizzles and dance, the pan is hot enough. If the water just sizzles, then the pan needs more time to heat up. If the water immediately evaporates, then the pan is too hot.
Melt butter on the griddle or skillet and spread it evenly over the pans surface.
Use a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup, scoop up the pancake batter and pour the batter onto the hot surface. Use a thin rubber spatula to help scrape out the batter from the cup. Continue to scoop and pour batter onto the hot pan until the pan is full but not crowded. My griddle I cooked 6 pancakes at a time, a 12-inch skillet will cook 3 pancakes at a time.
The pancakes will begin to bubble and some air bubbles will pop. Look for some air bubbles appearing in the middle of the pancake, about 2- 3 minutes. Flip the pancake using a sturdy spatula and cook the other side for another minute or 2. You want nice golden brown color on both sides of the pancakes and cooked all the way through in the middle.
Put the cooked pancakes on the warm baking sheet in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of the pancakes.
Serve with warm maple syrup or your favorite fruit topping.
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