• November 21, 2012

    Gluten-Free Maple Almond Pancakes

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    I haven’t yet experienced any weird cravings

    Pickles and ice cream? I’ll pass, thanks.

    Aversions, though, I have plenty. Meat? Blech. Chicken? Double blech. My husband tried to warm curry in the microwave the other day and almost lost a limb.

    But if you have something abundantly bland and starchy, I’ll take two.

    For example, potatoes in any incarnation – baked, mashed, wedged & baked – are mostly all that I want to eat and have made up many entire meals for me in the past few months.

    Bread, I can deal with. And pancakes, oh yeah. We’re still on good terms.

    One of my close friends has celiac disease, and when she was over last weekend for a sleepover, I wanted to surprise her with yummy-breakfast – versus the box of dubious-looking gluten free mystery flakes that she keeps in my pantry.

    These pancakes are light and fluffy and delicious in every way a pancake should be! And they are adapted from an old family recipe that uses regular flour, so you could easily swap the brown rice flour for good ol’ all purpose.

    I love baking with almond meal. It can replace some of the flour in many baking recipes, and adds fantastic nutty flavour, nice texture, and tenderness. And I know deep in my bones that other nuts would be equally delicious. Walnuts? How about pecans? Mmmhmm… just throw a heaping cup into the food processor, and grind ’em down to give a cup of finely ground nuts.

    One of the issues with being gluten free is the lower protein and fibre (and all-around nutrient) content of many of the products that nix wheat flour in favour of other starches. Nut flours (or simply finely ground nuts) are a good way to boost the wholesomeness of celiac-friendly home baked goods.

    The neat thing about gluten free baking is not having to worry about over-stirring your pancakes (which would them tough with a flour that has gluten). I stirred these puppies real good.

    Since I’m doing a gluten free post, I can’t help but inject a sidebar here … I like to use lots of different grains and flours, most have gluten, some don’t, but I want you to know that I am not promoting the “gluten-free diet”.

    I work in the food industry – I see the sales of gluten free alternatives to traditionally wheat-based foods (i.e. bread, buns, bagels, cereals, pasta, etc) on the rise, and I read the shoppers’ surveys about why they are buying them. Gluten free is being directly equated with “healthier” in the minds of many consumers, and this is simply not the reality.

    Gluten free analogues to wheat products bear the same number of calories (and arguably less tasty ones…), or more – due to fats and sugars added to improve texture and palatability. If you peruse the ingredient list, you’ll probably see a slew of high-glycemic index refined carbohydrates; when gluten is removed from the equation, manufacturers rely on a plethora of gums and refined starches to simulate gluten’s properties. Fibre, vitamins and minerals are often conspicuously absent from that little nutrition facts box because gluten free flours don’t have to be enriched like wheat flours do.

    To people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or wheat allergies, gluten free is of course not a trend. But they would still be wise to choose whole foods that are naturally gluten free more often – rather than relying heavily on packaged foods. To people jumping on the “GF” bandwagon to be healthier or to lose weight… I suggest another approach – like, eating everything in moderation and with mindfulness, and enjoying a pleasurable and varied diet based on whole foods.

    I’m sorry for the unsolicited advice. Sometimes it just spills out! Enjoy the pancakes. With brown rice flour or wheat flour!

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups brown rice flour
    • 1 cup almond meal/almond flour/pulverized almonds
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup melted butter (plus more butter for skillet)
    • 1 egg
    • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for serving `

    Preparation

    1. In large bowl, combine brown rice flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

    2. In a spouted bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, regular milk, melted butter, egg and maple syrup. Stir into flour mixture until combined.

    3. Preheat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Add about 1/2 tsp of butter to melt. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to portion pancake batter onto hot griddle (give them lots of space, they will spread). Cook until bubbles appear on surface and underside is golden brown. If bottom is getting dark too quickly, reduce heat. Flip and continue cooking on the other side until golden.

    4. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in a low oven as pancakes are done if you’d like to serve everyone at once. Serve with more maple syrup.

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    Hi, I'm Jennifer Pallian, BSc, RD. I studied cooking, baking and food chemistry in a university lab, have years of experience as a professional test kitchen recipe developer and providing technical baking support to bakeries and home bakers. Want to know why your bread didn't rise? I've got your back.I now work full-time as a blogger, putting the years of science and baking to work right here. On Foodess, I share the best recipes in my arsenal - tested-till-PERFECT recipes for cozy baking, easy recipes for weeknight meals and delicious globally-inspired comfort food, plus lots of science-based cooking and baking tips. Welcome!

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