Oatmeal Pancakes

I'm not a huge breakfast person. However, I love breakfast food! And my favorite breakfast food is probably pancakes. I can eat them at any meal, and I never get tired of them. My husband, however, isn't a huge pancake guy, so between being married to him and not being able to eat wheat, I pretty much gave up on the luxury of being able to enjoy pancakes.

I made a few attempts at tasty gluten free pancakes in our tiny apartment kitchen in Sioux Falls, but they were all pretty terrible. In Michigan, I only made one bad batch before deciding it was time to buckle down and create my own recipe. My father has always made excellent pancakes - the best I've ever tried - so I decided to piggy back from his recipe. He relies on baking soda, oatmeal, and buttermilk. I was a little bit daunted at the prospect of trying to make my version of the pancakes taste good without real buttermilk, but I was determined to try.

Since oatmeal is one of the key ingredients in my father's recipe, my natural choice for a flour substitute was oat flour. It had already worked wonderfully in my chocolate chip cookie recipe, and it could only add to the wonderful oat-y flavor of the pancakes that I had grown up with. 

The first time I tried this recipe, I subbed almond milk for the buttermilk. I also added a tablespoon of lemon juice, to make up for the acidity of the buttermilk and activate the baking soda. The result was better than any other pancakes I had made, but they were overly sweet and we could clearly taste the almond milk in the end product. The next time I made the recipe, I reduced the amount of sugar, used rice milk, and added more lemon juice. The result was MUCH better. In fact, in my mind, it was just about perfect! But getting Aaron's opinion would be my final test.

And Aaron loved them! He doesn't even like regular pancakes, but despite the absence of gluten and dairy, he says these are the best pancakes he has ever tried. They are light and fluffy with a bit of chew from the oats. The rice-and-lemon "buttermilk" gives them a unique, delicate flavor, and they are even easy to flip in the pan (which isn't always the case with gluten free pancakes). They are excellent on their own, but they are versatile, so try adding blueberries or chocolate chips if you like something a little fancier! 

RECIPE

1 1/2 C oat flour

1 C old-fashioned rolled oats

1 T + 1 tsp white sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sea salt

2 eggs

1 3/4 C rice milk

generous 1/4 C lemon juice

1/4 C vegetable oil

*This batter tastes best if made the night before and then left to sit in the fridge overnight. They are always more flavorful if they sit for that period of time. However, they are still delicious if you whip them up morning-of*

Measure out your rice milk and add the lemon juice right away. Letting it sit while you mix the rest of ingredients gives it time to become as similar to real buttermilk as possible! It may curdle, but this is normal.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are well-mixed and cohesive. Slowly beat in the rice milk + lemon juice mixture, then add to dry ingredients and whisk until well-blended. There will be some lumps because of all the oats. Finally, stir in the vegetable oil. Coat a heavy frying pan (I prefer a cast iron skillet) lightly in oil, then heat until very hot, almost smoking. Lower the heat slightly just before adding batter. Using a 1/4 C measure, pour batter into the pan, leaving enough space for flipping (I have room for two pancakes in my pan). Cook until the edges have solidified and little bubbles form around the edges of each cake. Flip, cook until golden, remove from skillet, and enjoy!

These are delicious with Earth Balance (or butter) and maple syrup, but also taste great with a tart jam, like black currant.