June 20, 2012

Oven baked pancakes


Pancakes are a favorite of mine.  I think I love them because of their contrasts: sweet but a little salty, soft on the inside but slightly crispy on the outside.  I also love the smell they leave in the kitchen after I've made a batch.  Awwww.....breakfast heaven in the air!

I love pan-fried pancakes but the daily chaos of our house makes the making of pancakes less attractive.  In the mornings, I am often trying to do way too many things already... enjoy my own breakfast in peace, exercise, put away dishes, make the kids lunch, finish a blog post (heh heh, totally true).  Anyway, the last thing I can afford to do is stay in front of the stove long enough to prevent burnt cakes!  And on the weekends, if we want to do a full fruit, eggs, bacon, pancakes extravaganza, it can be tricky to multitask. 

Last year I experimented and started to use the oven for pancakes instead of the stove.  Truth be told, they aren't as crispy or salty as pan-fried pancakes (no burn marks at all).  Baked pancakes do have their advantages, though.  Baking churns out evenly cooked pancakes and reduces clean-up.  Baking is probably less fattening because I don't have to grease up a skillet for each new cake.  And I can make square pancakes!

Below are directions for dairy-free, egg-free oven-baked pancakes.  If you are avoiding nuts or soy, feel free to use a milk alternative that suits you.  I have used Soy Dream Original and Trader Joe's Almond Milk with success.

Dairy-free, Egg-free Pancakes
Adapted from DeborahAM's 5 Minute Vegan Pancakes recipe on Food.com
Ingredients:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
4 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar (I use organic sugar but turbinado or granulated sugar should work just as well)
1/4 tsp salt
Dash of cinnamon
2 cups safe milk substitute (I like Soy Dream Original.  We sometimes use almond milk, the one nut that my kids aren't allergic to!)
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla

*Optional add-ins: frozen blueberries, sliced bananas, semisweet chocolate chips (Enjoy Life and Trader Joe's both sell milk-free semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Earth Balance vegan margarine 

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a 15"x10"x1" jelly pan with aluminum foil making sure the pan is also lined up the edges.  Grease foil.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together milk substitute, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Add half of wet mixture to dry mixture and try to break down lumps.  Gently mix in the rest of the wet mixture. Some lumps are okay but try to break down all big lumps in the batter.  It's important not to overmix so that the batter doesn't get tough.
  5. After most large lumps are gone, pour batter into foiled, greased pan.  Spread batter evenly.
  6. You can gently top pancake batter with berries, sliced bananas, and/or chocolate chips.  Sometimes I offer a variety so I make a section of each!
  7. Cook in preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes or until the pancake is lightly browned and springy.  A toothpick poked in the center should come out clean.
  8. Take out pan and cool.  While the pan is cooling on the stovetop, you can take out a tablespoon of vegan Earth Balance and evenly spread it on the whole pancake to give it a richer color and flavor.
  9. The pancakes can be easily cut into attractive squares.  Or get creative and use cookie cutters!  Serve with syrup, fresh fruit, and all of your usual fixings.


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