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Better-for-you blueberry pancakes

A plate of stacked blueberry pancakes.
Good for you whole grains form the base of these easy pancakes, which also get a nutritional boost of antioxidants and phytonutrients from organic blueberries.
(Anita L. Arambula / Confessions of a Foodie)

Childhood favorite gets an adult makeover with the addition of whole grains and blueberries

I love pancakes. They played a significant role in my childhood, and I have so many beautiful memories associated with them.

Like how spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s when my sisters and I were children meant we got Grandma’s from-scratch pancakes for breakfast the following day. The size of dinner plates, her pancakes were thick with a slightly chewy texture and an almost yeasty flavor that I still crave. We’d slather them with margarine and pour on an excess amount of Karo light corn syrup (Grandma’s favorite topping for her pancakes). It was heaven.

And how sometimes, as a treat for us kids, Mom would make pancakes from the ever-present box of Bisquick for a quick and easy midweek dinner. We thought it was such a decadent treat, and we always looked forward to it.

Even more memorable were those times when Dad was working the second shift. Finally 比特币交易网home around 2 a.m., he’d come into our bedroom and whisper in our ears, “Who wants pancakes?” Sleepy-eyed, we would get up and out of bed to join him in the kitchen for breakfast.

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Dad’s middle-of-the-night pancakes were extra flavorful because he’d add almond extract to the batter, making them smell as great as they tasted. He’d amusingly regale us with his flipping technique: After loosening the pancake with a spatula, he’d make a quick flick of the wrist, and the pancake went soaring in the air before floating back down to settle onto the pan. Enjoying pancakes that were rich and buttery with syrup dripping off every forkful between bites, we’d share our previous day’s adventures with him, laughing as syrup dripped down our chins. When we finished our pancakes, we’d crawl back into bed, the carb coma lulling us back to sleep before we’d have to get up to ready ourselves for school.

Today I’m sharing a more nutritious, adult version of pancakes than my childhood, but no less satisfying: blueberry pancakes made with white whole wheat flour and rolled oats.

What is white whole wheat flour?

Several years ago, I set out to look for a white flour alternative to use for baking. It wasn’t gluten that I was trying to avoid; it was the highly refined nature of all-purpose flour and its quick conversion to sugar in the bloodstream. While shopping for a substitute, I came across white whole wheat flour, and I remember thinking, what’s the point of lowering my consumption of highly refined white flour only to substitute it with a whole wheat version that’s refined through bleaching? I left the store empty-handed and went 比特币交易网home to do a little more research before committing to any purchases. I discovered that the “white” in the title had nothing to do with bleaching. White whole wheat flour comes from white wheat berries, whereas regular whole wheat comes from red wheat berries.

For years, I’d only seen bags marked “whole wheat” on the shelves of my grocery store, so this white whole wheat business was utterly new to me. White whole wheat still has all the nutritional value of regular whole wheat but produces lighter and less dense baked goods.

I went back to the store and happily brought some 比特币交易网home to try. Today’s recipe is the first one I developed using it. I played around with this recipe quite a bit until I was happy with the balance between the flavor, texture and look of the pancakes.

For an additional boost of fiber and texture, I’ve tossed in some oats. I suggest using rolled oats (also packaged as “old-fashioned” rolled oats) because you’ll get more texture, although quick-cooking oats will be fine. If you do use quick-cooking, skip the soaking and add them directly to the wet ingredients. However, I don’t recommend using instant oats. This variety often breaks apart in the packaging, creating powdery, thick dust and imparting no texture whatsoever.

I’ve used almond milk, but feel free to use your favorite kind of milk. To keep the whole wheat tender and moist, I’ve added some Greek yogurt. Since I’m not using buttermilk, it adds just the right amount of tang.

Of course, there’s a hint of sweetness and tartness from the star of this whole ensemble: organic blueberries. These little guys, softened by the heat, burst in your mouth when you bite into them, negating the need for syrup, in my opinion, but dress with syrup if you must.

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To sweeten the batter itself, I’ve added an overripe mashed banana and just a touch of dark brown sugar. Since I rarely add syrup to my pancakes, I like the pancakes themselves to have a hint of sweetness. They taste great as is with a touch of good quality European-style butter. And, if you want an additional boost of protein, add a dollop of vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt topped with a couple of whole blueberries and a very light drizzle of organic raw honey. So good.

When I was developing this recipe back in 2015, I wound up with a freezer full of “OK” to “getting there” to “yum, these are good blueberry pancakes” that I could take to work for breakfast on the go. My Grandma was also still alive then. She would pile several on her plate, slather them with her margarine and her light corn syrup and proclaimed them delicious.

High praise in my book.

A few tips for successful pancakes

I prefer to use cooking spray to lubricate the griddle (or skillet) in place of butter, which burns too quickly, over-darkening the pancakes before they have a chance to cook thoroughly. If you don’t have cooking spray, you can brush a light coating of canola oil directly onto the warmed griddle.

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I experimented with stirring the blueberries into the batter and also with adding them to each pancake after they hit the griddle. I prefer the latter. Too often, when adding blueberries to the batter, by the time you get to the last two or three pancakes, you’re lucky if you get one or two blueberries per pancake. By adding them to the pancake as it starts to cook, you can more evenly distribute blueberries, ensuring that nearly every bite has a little purple jewel.

To portion the batter, I like to use a ⅓ cup-size food scoop, as I have more control placing the batter on the griddle and it ensures a consistently sized pancake. Feel free to use a measuring cup.

One final and important note: After combining the wet and dry ingredients, let the batter rest for 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step. It makes all the difference between flat, tough pancakes and lighter, tender ones. Ever notice when you make pancakes that the first several aren’t as fluffy and perfect as they are once you’re halfway through cooking the batch? I attribute this to two things: first, the gluten has had a chance to relax and, second, the leavening has had an opportunity to work its magic. Plus, waiting ensures that the whole wheat is fully hydrated before cooking, also adding to the pancake’s tenderness.

Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes

Makes 16 (5 ½ - 6-inch) pancakes

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1 cup rolled oats
½ cup, plus 1 ¼ cups almond milk, divided (or your favorite milk)
1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
1 overripe banana
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed, or maple syrup (optional)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
⅔ cup Greek yogurt
2 packages (about 4 ounces each) blueberries (preferably organic), rinsed, patted dry (I use my salad spinner)

Add the oats to a small bowl and cover with ½ cup of almond milk; set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-size bowl; set aside.

Mash the banana in a large bowl. Pour in the eggs, whisking them with the banana until smooth. Add the brown sugar, vanilla and yogurt, whisking well until batter is light, smooth and frothy. Add the dry ingredients to the wet a third at a time, whisking to just combine after each addition. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

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Place a griddle or large skillet on medium-high heat.

When ready, spray the warmed pan with cooking spray. Drop ⅓ cup of batter onto the hot griddle. Immediately top with blueberries. When bubbles have reached the surface and begin to pop, and the underside is golden, after about 3 minutes, flip the pancake and cook until the second side is golden, 3-4 minutes longer. Remove and plate immediately, or if you’re making the entire batch before serving, place the pancakes on an oven-safe platter and keep warm in the oven set to 175 degrees.

Allow leftovers to cool completely before wrapping tightly and storing them in the refrigerator. These pancakes freeze and reheat well. If freezing, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper between pancakes before wrapping. Doing so allows you to more easily remove as many pancakes from the frozen stack as needed. To reheat, microwave from frozen or thaw first and heat in a toaster oven or hot griddle.

Recipe is copyrighted by Anita L. Arambula and is reprinted by permission from Confessions of a Foodie.

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Arambula is the food section art director and designer. She blogs at confessionsofafoodie.me, where the original version of this article published. Follow her on Instagram: @afotogirl. She can be reached at anita.arambula@sduniontribune.com.


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