Week Eighteen: 100% Whole Grain Breads
Mitch Hedberg had it right about pancakes: they’re great at first, but by the end, you’re sick of ’em. It can indeed be a struggle to finish a whole stack of plate-sized pancakes. So much starch, and so sugary! That’s why I love these little whole grain darlings; they’re just the right size, and lack the heaviness so many fluffy pancakes seem to take on towards the end of the meal.
You could either serve a few of these with a heaping side of fresh fruit salad and soft scrambled eggs for a charming brunch; or use them at your next cocktail party, topped with a soft cheese (or yogurt, as above) and a nice bit of jam for a quick hors d’oeuvre. They could even cross over into dessert territory, spread with (what else?) Nutella, and drizzled with a tart raspberry coulis.
But versatility aside, I love these tiny pancakes because they’re totally whole wheat. I’m sure you’ve tried whole wheat pancakes before that were tasteless and dry, right? These are nothing of the sort! They’re so soft and fluffy, like a white flour pancake might be, but with that fabulous nutty flavor of whole grains. The cornmeal in the batter adds a slight complexity to the flavor, and the olive oil brings a hint of fruitiness to the game. The overall flavor is mild, but intriguing, and all but begs for an equally interesting topping. Use your imagination – there’s no wrong answer here!
Of course, this batter will certainly make larger pancakes if you prefer, but I find them irresistible when they’re so small. Keeping them small is a sort of built-in portion control, helping to ensure that at the end of the stack, you’ll only be left wanting more!
Fluffy 100% Whole Wheat Pancakes
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Makes about 50 two inch pancakes
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine all the wet ingredients, and add to the dry mixture. Whisk until smooth, the let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Heat a nonstick pan or griddle over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce the heat to medium, and lightly oil the pan.
3. Pour one scant tablespoon of batter per pancake into the hot pan, cooking 3 or 4 at a time. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and edges look set, about 45 to 60 seconds. Flip over, and cook the underside until golden brown, about 45 seconds more. If the pancakes brown too much before fully cooked, reduce the heat to medium-low. Transfer pancakes to a rack to cool, if not serving immediately. If serving immediately, transfer to a 200 degree F oven to keep warm until all pancakes are cooked.
1. If you’re like me, and never have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute 1 cup of milk, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave, stirred with 1 teaspoon white vinegar. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until slightly curdled. Use as directed in the recipe.