When I made the switch to the paleolithic diet weeks ago, I knew I’d be giving up some of my favorite foods in exchange for a toned and healthy body. The first week was the hardest. After a few days with no bread or sugar, I went a wee bit crazy. My mind was abuzz with visions of muffins, cake, cookies, and pasta, all things I had given up. No matter how many veggies and meat I stuffed into my stomach, my brain wanted bread.
UPDATE (June 30, 2012) I also have a banana version! Read below.
So I went out and bought some almond flour/meal, then called my bank in the Caymans to move some money around. I followed a few online pancake recipes with mediocre success: I had the toughest time flipping the darn things, which resulted in a crumbled mess that didn’t taste that great. Since a pound of almond flour cost as much as my boat, I ate those pancakes and made myself like them. Heck, that flour is so expensive, if any of it dropped on my counter, I licked it off. Dignity? Can’t afford it.
The experimentations began. Why follow recipes when you can guess your way to failure using the most bank-busting ingredients on earth? Made perfect sense to me. After more pancakes refused to flip, bubble, or cook all the way through, and after trying different combinations of coconut flour with almond flour, with pumpkin puree etc., I decided that, having never been to culinary school, perhaps I should stop being an idiot and do some research.
After some searching I found that coconut flour is highly absorbent (aha, that’s why my pancake “batter” was the consistency of cookie dough!) so one doesn’t need nearly as much flour as one thinks. I also noticed that a lot of online recipes that called for almond or coconut milk were using the cheating kind, the kind found in cartons filled with lots of other ingredients besides milk, things like preservatives, sugar, and other nonsense I cannot pronounce. Note: I’ve found a good rule is, if I have difficulty pronouncing it, I shouldn’t eat it. Also, most paleo pancake recipes demand that you have things at room temperature. Such a notion assumes that I’ve thought about what I want to eat ahead of time, which is ridiculous–cravings don’t follow schedules.
Therefore I came up with my own recipe and have tried it twice to great success. These pancakes taste like little cookie cakes, and much better than the traditional flour pancakes. Nothing needs to be at room temperature, your cold ingredients can come directly from the fridge. The coconut milk I used was canned, and since I had already used some to make a pumpkin spice latte, I had refrigerated the remainder. Whether this has any bearing on your pancake outcome, I cannot say. I’m not a chef of any kind. I do know that the eggs were cold, the syrup cold, and the milk was cold.
Yield: 12 small pancakes. Ingredients:
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 1 Tablespoon almond flour/meal
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- A pinch of baking powder
- 3/4 Tablespoon vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (mine comes in solid form and needs to be melted)
- 1/3 cup coconut milk, full fat. I used Thai Kitchen brand.
- 3 eggs
- Butter for greasing
In mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together (or don’t if you’re lazy like me).
Add wet ingredients and blend away until your wrist hurts (if you don’t have a mixer, like me).
Heat a non-stick skillet, griddle, or whatever you use to make pancakes. I don’t want to micromanage. I’ve used a small non-stick skillet to mixed success. More on that later.
Whatever tool you’ve chosen for the great task, toss in some butter and get that baby decently hot. If you have an electric stove, set to medium heat. I’m on propane, so I gauge my heat level by the hissing sound, flame size, and how quickly the butter liquifies and bubbles.
Here’s the tricky bit. For flip-ability, your pancakes must be smallish, not the heaping size of regular all purpose flour pancakes. I dollop in the batter using a tablespoon.
The little batter cakes should be simmering and floating in a sea of butter. Remember, coconut flour likes to horde everything, so it will soak up the butter it’s swimming in. Watch to make sure you don’t run out and burn your pancakes. Don’t be a Scrooge with your butter, add more if needed.
When little bubbles pop up, or the batter is shiny, it’s time to flip. Here’s where using a traditional griddle makes more sense: my little skillet has that smooth rim to keep things inside it, which does not help when trying to flip pancakes. Also, butter in its melted state hurts like a sonofabeach when it flies out of the pan and hits your finger. Just saying.
The pancakes don’t take long once you flip them. When they’re nice and puffy, pull them off the griddle and set on a plate to cool just a bit. I usually dollop in my next round of batter as the current cakes cool. There is already syrup inside the batter, so they don’t need much, if any, extra decadence, but that’s up to you, of course.