All right people, it's time to give breakfast the respect it deserves. Yep, I'm talking to you, hunched over the cereal bowl and you, stuffing a preservative-laden cereal bar into your maw as you head out the door. Don't even get me started on you guys, who choose to put nothing in your stomachs except coffee. Sadly, I'm guilty of it too. When was the last time you sat down to a warm, hearty morning meal?
Okay, I realize workday schedules are tight. You can't even get out the door on time unless you brush your teeth and zip up your pants at the same time, which often results in a conspicuous white mess on your fly. Shall we agree on a compromise? Make some time to indulge yourself on the weekend, just you, the fam, and these wonderful tasty pancakes. Is that too much to ask?
These pancakes are nice and fluffy thanks to the secret ingredient, beaten egg whites. Plus they contain whole wheat flour and oats, a good way to keep your digestive track moving as fast as you do.
This makes enough to serve four normal people or two starving souls.
Stuff you will need:
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats (NOT the quick or instant kinds!)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (yes, you can probably substitute regular white flour, but no fiber bonus points for you!)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- A pinch of nutmeg, or a bit of cinnamon if you prefer
- 1 cup buttermilk (not handy? you can substitute a tablespoon of white vinegar mixed with a cup of milk)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, carefully divided into 2 yolks and 2 whites
- 2 large bananas, not too ripe, sliced into 1/4 inch thick circles
- additional vegetable oil for cooking the pancakes
- Heat up the water in a small saucepan. When it's boiling, throw in the oats, turn the heat down to simmer the water, and cook the oats until they are tender. This should take about 10 to 20 minutes. Let the oats cool down.
- While the oats are cooking, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and nutmeg together in a large bowl, stirring thoroughly to mix.
- Add the buttermilk, oil, egg yolks, and cooled oats to the bowl. Mix this just until the batter is smooth. Some little lumps are okay, but if you overbeat the batter it will produce tougher pancakes.
- Beat the reserved egg whites in another bowl with an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk until they form stiff peaks. Test for this by stopping the mixer or whisk and lifting it straight up out of the whites. If this makes peaks that stay upright, then you're golden. Egg whites will not stiffen if there is any amount of fat present, so separate those eggs carefully and use a clean bowl. The whole process takes several minutes and will give you a nice forearm workout if you do it by hand.
- Take about a quarter of the egg whites and stir it into the batter. You don't need to be delicate, since you're just lightening the batter. Now add the remaining whites to the batter. Be careful at this point, since the air that is incorporated into the egg whites helps to make these pancakes fluffy. To prevent deflated pancakes, gingerly fold the whites into the batter using a rubber spatula until everything seems nicely mixed.
- Heat up your pan on the medium heat setting. Add a bit of extra vegetable oil to the pan to keep the pancakes from sticking. If you're not going to eat these right away you should also heat up the oven at its lowest setting (warm) for temporary pancake storage.
- After several minutes, test to see if the pan is ready. Run your hand under the sink faucet and flick some of the water drops onto the pan. If the drops sit there, it's too cold. If the drops violently dance and evaporate immediately, it's too hot. The ideal is where the drops sit on the pan for a couple of seconds before evaporating. This is only a rough estimate anyway, since you may need to change the heat as you see how quickly or slowly the pancakes are cooking.
- Using a big spoon or ladle, pour the mix onto the griddle. The exact size doesn't matter, but I tend to make pancakes about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Once the mix is poured, take about three to four slices of banana and gently press them into the top of the batter.
- Turning the pancakes at the right time can be tricky. Too early and the batter leaks everywhere, too late and the bottom is burnt. I tend to watch for bubbles to form on the top of the pancake as it's cooking. When these bubbles pop and the hole that is formed doesn't reseal itself then it's time to turn. Big spatulas work best. After turning, the pancakes generally need only a minute or two to finish cooking.
- Serve these bad boys immediately or shovel them onto a plate and into the oven to keep them warm until their eventual demise. Toppings? Well, I prefer real butter and maple syrup, but you can use anything from Aunt Jemima to a nice fruit sauce. Serve with additional goodies like sausage, bacon, or eggs to really make a hearty meal.
See, that wasn't so hard, now was it? Plus, you can make a larger batch and freeze the leftovers for those hectic work days. Just pop them in the microwave until they're nice and hot. Life is good.