Saturday, May 19, 2012

Homemade Pancakes with Yogurt & Almond Milk


Managed to get pancakes on the table by noon today; slowly but surely I am getting the hang of waking up for breakfast! Maybe next week I'll actually serve breakfast in the morning...baby steps right? At any rate, I've been playing around with a few pancake recipes lately and finally perfected what I will now call my own signature recipe. If you've never made homemade pancakes, you'll be surprised how easy it is to do. Let me tell you, what a difference they are from Bisquick or any other store-bought mix. I've always preferred buttermilk pancakes but I've replaced the buttermilk with Greek yogurt in my recipe, adding almond milk to thin out the batter. I also use brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar, I think it adds more to the overall taste of the pancakes.

Technique is everything here. The key to getting these nice and fluffy inside is to whip your egg whites separately and then fold that into the batter. As with any pancake batter, you'll want to mix just until everything is incorporated, leaving it lumpy. In my opinion, the hardest thing about making pancakes is actually cooking them, but that goes for whether you've used a mix or made batter from scratch. I've found that a little bit of shortening used to grease your pan or griddle over medium low heat works best. Use a butter flavored shortening for extra flavor. As you're cooking pancakes and removing from the griddle, you can keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve, 250° or so is fine. Finally, for an extra special touch warm your maple syrup before serving. Even better, consider flavoring it with fruit, zest or baking extract.

Here is the basic recipe, with a couple suggestions for how to kick it up.  I'd love to hear back on your own variations!

Yogurt & Almond Milk Pancakes

Ingredients:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 eggs, separated
1/4 c.+ 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 c. Greek Yogurt, drained (try Fage 2%)
1 to 1 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk (unsweetened vanilla almond milk is fine, just reduce vanilla extract to 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. melted butter
2-3 tsp shortening

Servings: Makes about 10 medium pancakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Equipment Needed: Griddle or large non-stick pan, electric mixer, 3 mixing bowls

In the largest mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Separate the egg whites into a second mixing bowl. In the third bowl combine the yogurt, one cup of almond milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract, the melted butter and the egg yolk.



Using the electric mixer on low speed, beat the wet ingredients until well blended and sugar is completely dissolved. Whip the egg whites using high speed until soft peaks form.



Add the wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl and mix until the flour is just incorporated into the batter. If the batter is too thick, add the remaining 1/4 cup of almond milk.


Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, leaving it lumpy.



Heat the griddle over medium low heat and grease it with up to a teaspoon or so of shortening. When the shortening has melted, use a ladle to spoon batter onto the griddle to form each pancake. If you are adding fruit, nuts or chocolate chips to your batter, now is the time. 


After 2 - 3 minutes, watch for small bubbles rising to the top of the pancake batter, that's when you'll know it's time to flip. The bigger your spatula is the easier it will be to flip the pancake. If batter spreads out around the edges, just use the side of your spatula to push it back towards the pancake. After 2 - 3 minutes, remove from griddle and transfer to plate or a warm oven. Serve with warmed maple syrup and if desired, a little butter.



Variations: To make Blueberry-Lemon Pancakes as shown above, add 2 tsp lemon juice and the zest of half a lemon into the wet ingredients. Drop fresh blueberries into the batter while pancakes cook, before flipping. Warm maple syrup over low heat, stirring in fresh blueberries, lemon zest and a splash of lemon juice and vanilla extract.


To make Chocolate Chip Pancakes, add 3/4 cup of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips into the finished batter. Drop some extra chocolate chips into the batter while pancakes cook, before flipping.


You can serve these with regular syrup, but I like to dissolve about 1/4 tsp of instant coffee and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract into 1/2 cup of warmed maple syrup for a special touch.