So it’s the day after here — how did everything go? Did you make a pumpkin pie or a sweet potato tart or maybe even an apple crisp? We spent part of the day at the beach and it was a gloriously warm yet not too blue-skyed, slightly breezy, and overall truly lovely afternoon reminiscent of other Thanksgiving visits to Kehoe Beach (though a tad more crowded). The water here is so clear, so perfectly blue-green, and the particular beach we visited was all soft white sand with just the right amount of rocky bits perfect for climbing on and examining limpets that it was difficult to believe this is the same Pacific Ocean that is often more opaque and deep green — and home to rolling and spouting whales not too far off shore — we are familiar with in Northern California. We had pancakes to fortify ourselves before heading out and that’s what I’m here to talk about today because they’re so good they are worth making again on the day after Thanksgiving when you may not be interested in thinking about food but your body will still need to be nourished.
This recipe is adapted from Kim Boyce’s cookbook Good to the Grain, one of the few I’ve held on to throughout our moves. I had a – most likely post-partum induced – frenzy of downsizing just before we departed Saudi, whittling our weight limit down at least a thousand pounds if not more. Books, unworn clothes, kitchen equipment, furniture — so much was donated or given away, leaving me with a lightness of spirit as well as boxes. When I went to look up the recipe for the oatmeal sandwich bread in Good to the Grain I had a moment of worry I’d discarded the book in my mass purge, but fortunately I’d hung on to it. There are a lot of gems within, not limited to the bread, but also including the whole grain chocolate chip cookies as well as these wonderful pancakes.
As often happens, there was leftover oatmeal in the fridge and as I flipped through the cookbook I couldn’t resist making a batch of pancakes. Sierra ate three, Elsie ate one nicely-sized cake, and I was able to save a few for them to have a quick breakfast later in the week. I love how dense the batter is, both from the whole grain flour and the oatmeal, and 1/4-cup scoops is the perfect amount to make a good sized yet not enormous pancake. This is probably going to be my new go-to pancake recipe though I will experiment with some further substitutions here and there.
I’ve just put the Thanksgiving dishes away so is it time just yet to think about the next flurry of holiday-making? I think I’ll wait until December, though I’ll allow myself to contemplate what will be featured on the upcoming cookie plate and what we might have for Christmas dinner. In the spirit of downsizing I’m trying to keep our gifts minimal, edible, and mostly homemade this year if rather heavy on the books for the little ones (I cannot and will not ever downsize kids’ books. Instead I prefer to thoughtfully choose options that will last for years and can be kept hopefully for the next generation.)
Hope your celebration was delicious.
I haven’t tried using flax egg substitute here but that plus non-dairy milk and coconut oil would nicely veganize this recipe.
Makes about 12 pancakes.
1 3/4 cup spelt or whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup plain cooked oatmeal
2 tablespoons maple syrup or sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon molasses (note: the original recipe called for unsulphured molasses but all I could find was blackstrap and it was fine)
2 large eggs
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt until combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the unsalted butter or coconut oil, milk, oatmeal, maple syrup or sugar, molasses, and eggs until well combined.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients gently — you don’t want to over mix. Batter should be slightly thick with a bubbly surface.
Heat a non-stick or cast-iron pan (note: I would prefer to always use cast iron but I am terrible at flipping pancakes and a non-stick pan is the only way I can cook them decently) over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles when splashed onto the surface of the pan. Add a generous pat of butter and, working quickly, dollop 1/4-cup mounds of batter onto the pan (I did two at a time). Cook until bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes, then flip and cook and cook until the bottom is a dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Wipe the pan with a cloth or paper towel (carefully!) before cooking the next batch. Serve hot.
Any leftovers keep nicely in the fridge for up to five days.