Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dreamy food

Three nights ago I dreamt of pancakes. When I woke up, I knew I had to have them. But I haven't eaten pancakes for years, let alone made them. I knew I needed to process the idea further. I needed to invent a pancake that both satisfied my craving and dodged my fears of sugar overload and white breadiness. I did it.

Nostalgia in a pan

The first priority on my pancake agenda was to select a suitable flour. Anyone who reads my blog may have noticed that I tend to avoid flours, even the so-called "healthy" ones (whole wheat, spelt etc) because no matter how virtuous, they seem to leave me with a pit in the stomach feeling, not to mention the lethargy. I am more gluten free every week, so why not a good gluten free flour? I haven't had the most stunning success with rice flours in baking. Oat flours work well but leave me a little queasy. Millet flour is great but expensive. So I took a gander at Bob's All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour. I was delighted to see no rice or oat ingredients, no buckwheat or quinoa. Instead I saw bean flours, tapioca and potato starch and no corn starch. We had a winner.

I knew that if I was going to make pancakes, they were going to be a little decadent. It is nearly Valentine's Day afterall! So chocolate was a necessary addition. And since I prefer less sweet pancakes, little to no sugar was also key. Banana seemed a fitting substitute. Banana chocolate chip...seemed like a promising start.

My father used to make the most amazing pancakes -- mostly white flour, milk, egg and oil. Not sweet and not super fluffy like American style pancakes. His were silver dollar style and wonderful. I would eat them with my hands, ripping them up to dip into maple syrup so they didn't get soggy. I knew that I wanted a pancake of that variety without the white flour and milk. Since I had banana and chocolate in mind, I naturslly turned to coconut milk, using the light variety which has the same consistency as 2% milk.

I had planned to make these on Sunday morning, in honor of my dad's habit, but mentioned the idea to my boyfriend on Saturday. He was fairly excited so I made them that day. They were not too sweet, not too fluffy, chocolatey, moist with a crisp exterior -- just like my dad's.

Revising the classic

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes
Makes 4 hand-sized 1/2" pancakes

1 heaping cup Bob's Redmill All Purpose GF Flour
1 tbsp Ghirardelli Cocoa powder
2 tbsps wild brown millet flour
1 tsp organic baking powder
2 turns of a salt mill (sea salt)
1  tsp organic cinammon
1 capful real vanilla extract
2 tbsps organic maple syrup
2 tbsps organic canola oil
1 small can organic light coconut milk (160ml)
1 egg
4 handfuls chcocolate chips
1 frozen banana (sliced thinly)

Place flours, baking powder, salt, cocoa and cinammon in a mixing bowl. Mix well with a fork. Stir in coconut milk, vanilla, and maple syrup. Crack the egg into the mixture. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg into the batter until well blended. Let the batter rest for a couple minutes.

Heat a small non stick frying pan over medium heat. Add a knob of butter or a touch of oil. Pour a saucer size amount of batter into the pan. After 20 seconds, place a few slices of banana, a dash of cinammon and a handful of chocolate chips on top. Wait until you see a little bubble or two on the pancake surface to flip. Flip and allow to cook for about a minute. Using your spatula, remove pancake onto a plate and make the rest, one by one.

Serve warm with maple syrup.

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