Ingredients list: 1. Empty promises 2. Shattered dreams 3. Whole grains
We're talking about most recipes for make-ahead whole grain pancake mix. They're a perfect parfait of lies layered with deception garnished with betrayal. And what's so depressing isn't just how good they sound on paper, but the fact that most of them advise mixing up about 8 months' worth at a time. So you open a jar the size of an airplane hangar, pour in tons of fiber-rich grains, label it with a brand new Sharpie ("Whole Grain Pancake Mix"), and go to sleep dreaming of morning pancake perfection.
The next day, of course, all hell breaks loose when you make your first batch. You've been duped, big-time, with pancakes as light as a brick and as tender as a saddle.
But, friends: it doesn't have to be this way.
In her lovely new book Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons, author Megan Gordon offers a recipe for make-ahead Whole-Grain Pancake Mix that produces featherlight pancakes with the quick addition of an egg, buttermilk (I use yogurt because, well, it's probably obvious), milk, and a pat of melted butter. The pancakes are silvery thanks to the inclusion of buckwheat flour, a grain falling on the color spectrum somewhere between what Restoration Hardware calls silver sage and fog.
The nice thing, too, is that the mix makes enough for four batches of pancakes, so you don't have to commit to it through 2087.
When I first made these, I served them to my kids along with Megan's Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. If you'd like that recipe, I encourage you to order Megan's book. It's filled with all kinds of winning sweet and savory breakfast and brunch options, all of which straddle that invisible but happy line between healthful and indulgent. And do check out Megan's serene, reflective blog, A Sweet Spoonful, when time allows. She's a writer of poise and grace. The fact that she also happens to make granola isn't just the icing on the cake; it's the syrup on a tall stack of supremely tender pancakes.
On another note entirely, I'll be delivering one of the keynotes at The Big Traveling Potluck in Southern California the weekend of April 25-27th. For details and registration information, click here.
Ten Speed Press was kind enough to allow me to excerpt the recipe for Megan's pancakes (along with the make-ahead mix) so you can take them for a test-drive. Both recipes below (and accompanying head notes) are reprinted with permission from Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon (Ten Speed Press, © 2013).
Whole-Grain Pancake Mix
I grew up on Bisquick. It reminds me of Sunday mornings at the kitchen counter with my dad. While the ingredients leave much to be desired (relying on hydrogenated oils), I harbor no hard feelings toward the big yellow box, and nothing beats the ease of having a mix all ready to go. But these days instead of Bisquick, I whisk together this whole-grain mix once every month or so and keep it in a big glass jar in the pantry. Folding rolled oats into pancakes gives them a hearty, toothsome quality that I love. Some folks prefer a more uniform, smooth pancake and grind the oats down in a food processor before adding them. Choose your route, but I urge you to try the version below first. I have a feeling you might like them.
Makes about 4 cups; 4 batches whole-grain buttermilk pancakes
2 cups / 240 g unbleached all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup / 100 g buckwheat flour
1⁄2 cup / 60 g spelt flour
3⁄4 cup / 75 g rolled oats
3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Scoop into a large resealable plastic bag or a large glass jar and store for 6 to 8 weeks. Refrigerate for longer shelf life (3 to 4 months). Give the mix a good stir before using it to integrate any ingredients that may have settled.
Whole-Grain Buttermilk Pancakes
So many pancakes made with all white flour are fluffy but taste largely like whatever you top them with, while so many whole-grain pancakes end up tasting great but cook up flat and dense. This recipe offers the best of both: it yields relatively fluffy pancakes boasting a nice, earthy flavor from the whole-grain flours. While I’ve been known to add grated fruit like apples or pears to the batter, I tend to serve these pancakes as they are, simply topped with a little butter, honey, and seasonal fruit. makes 9 or 10 pancakes
Morning Notes: I like to cook these pancakes to order, but I also like to sit down and eat together with friends. Luckily, you can warm them in a 200°F oven for up to 30 minutes without drying them out.
1 large egg
1⁄2 cup / 120 ml milk
1⁄2 cup / 120 ml buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for greasing the pan and for serving
1 cup / 165 g Whole-Grain Pancake Mix (see above)
Honey or maple syrup, for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, buttermilk, and butter. Whisk the pancake mix into the milk mixture until smooth. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes to allow the dry ingredients to soak up some of the liquid. If the batter feels far too thick and difficult to easily whisk or stir, add 1 tablespoon more milk or water to loosen it up.
Melt a nub of butter in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat (you want the melted butter to completely coat the pan). Scoop 1⁄4 cup of batter into the pan. Repeat, depending on the size of your pan. Cook each pancake until the bottom is golden brown and the top begins to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side an additional 1 to 2 minutes. You’ll likely need another bit of butter in the pan in between batches. Serve warm, topped with butter, honey, or maple syrup, as desired.
Make Ahead: You can make the batter and store it, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. You’ll probably need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons more milk or water to loosen it up after it sits overnight.