When our daughter was just a few months old my husband took a shift making breakfast on Saturday mornings. We’d sit in our light-filled kitchen in Morocco sipping coffee and eating whole grain pancakes studded with raspberries while our little one rocked contentedly nearby.
Two years later we still make pancakes on Saturdays but now she’s old enough to help. She pulls her stool up to the counter and whisks together the flour and baking powder. A bit inevitably gets on the counter but that’s an easy clean. Her happiness in being involved trumps all messes. And she has a good appetite: she can usually tuck away at least two good-sized pancakes at a time.
As the main cook in the house I try to make our meals a balance of kid-friendly and healthy. I incorporate as much fruit, vegetables, and whole grains as I can to both nourish and satisfy. I’ll often substitute maple syrup or honey for refined sugar, lowering the overall sweetener needed while also lessening our intake of sugar. Whole wheat flour is a perennial favorite.
In terms of weekend pancakes, I’ve fiddled with a recipe that calls for coconut oil, no refined sugar, spelt flour, and which can easily be made vegan or gluten-free if necessary. I’ll double the batch if I want to have extra to save in the fridge for surprise weekday morning snacks after the oatmeal pot has been washed but someone finds herself still hungry.
Whole Grain Pancakes
If you are vegan, swap the applesauce for the egg and stir 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar into a cup of non-dairy milk of choice, let stand for 5 minutes, and use in place of the buttermilk.
Makes 8 smallish pancakes, recipe is easily doubled or tripled
1 cup spelt flour, whole grain pastry flour, or (gluten-free) oat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup berries of choice
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Optional: 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 egg or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add berries and toss gently to coat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup if using, egg, and buttermilk.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined.
- Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. When skillet is hot, take 1/4 cup of batter and pour onto skillet. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, until pancake begins to bubble slightly. Flip and let cook for another 1-2 minutes until pancake is cooked through.
Nicole Spiridakis is a writer and editor currently living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her husband and daughter. Her first book, “Flourless. Recipes for Naturally Gluten-Free Desserts” was published in 2014. She writes about food at cucinanicolina.com.