When New York Times’ columnist Mark Bittman wrote about cornmeal pancakes, I was inspired to tackle my own cornmeal based hotcakes. I started with Bittman’s recipe, and added a new ingredient each time I threw a tester on the pan that I wasn’t satisfied with. The entire process took about an hour and a half – an hour longer than I had planned on waiting to eat my weekend breakfast. However, the result was worth it. These pancakes are a great alternative to the rice flour/tapioca starch based mixes you’ll find because they contain more nutrient-rich whole grains, like cornmeal and oats, plus flaxseed, which contains a lot of fiber and protein. These gluten-free, nutty, just-sweet-enough pancake will satisfy your hunger and taste buds.
Hearty Pancakes with Almond Butter
makes 16-20 medium sized pancakes
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup gluten-free oats
2 tablespoons flaxseed
2 tablespoons creamy almond butter (I used salted, but you can use unsalted, and then add a pinch of salt)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
You’ll notice that Mark Bittman does not have any leavening ingredients in his recipe, I don’t know how his pancakes ended up looking like they did in that photo. My recipe has eggs AND baking powder which will help the pancakes rise slightly and cook thoroughly.
Soak your cornmeal and oats in 1 cup of boiling water in a large mixing bowl until all water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. While the cornmeal is soaking, heat a large pan or stovetop griddle to medium high heat, it will be ready when a droplet of water dances on the surface. After 5 minutes, add the flaxseed, sugar, and almond butter and combine well. Add the baking powder and the two eggs. Mix until the batter is thin enough to pour, but thick enough to glop down onto the pan.
Once you’re pan is hot, grease it with some oil and spoon your first pancake onto the pan. I like to do a tester, to make sure my pan is the right temperature and see if the batter needs thinning (with milk) or thickening (with oats or cornmeal). The secret to these pancakes is in the cooking. Because they are gluten-free and contain a lot of whole grains, they won’t puff up like Bisquick cakes will, and they’ll take longer to cook through. Once you’ve plopped the batter onto the pan, cover the pan and let it cook for 4 minutes. It will be done when you can easily flip it with a spatula. Flip it, and let the other side cook for another 2-4 minutes. Continue with the rest of the batter.