Baking

Healthy and Homemade Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

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Ahh yes, carbs could quite possibly be one of my weaknesses, but it does not surpass my weakness for ice cream.

But, to make a sometimes thought of as unhealthy breakfast item, I added fruit to my pancakes, and also tweaked the recipe to give it added nutritional qualities. I suppose the unhealthy version depends on how much syrup you put on them.  In that case, mine are super unhealthy! Eek!

Let’s get down to business.   All purpose flour is not all that bad for you. 

But, whole wheat flour, does have slightly lower Calorie levels, more fiber and a touch more protein.  Therefore, if looking for the BEST ingredient in terms of flour, whole wheat is better to choose than all purpose.  With this being said, whole wheat flour has a bit of a nutty flavor.  It is something that has to be acquired over time.  I recall the first time I switched from using white bread to whole wheat bread.  I did not like it at all!  However, over time, I have grown to really enjoy that robust flavor from whole wheat flour, and now prefer most whole wheat items, due to flavor.

My next change in the recipe came from the sugar.  Only a few tablespoons of sugar were required in the recipe.  The sugar contributes to the caramelization and maillard browning reactions that occur as heat is applied to the food.  Without getting into heavy science material, a maillard reaction occurs when a protein source and sugar react in the presence of heat.  This reaction is most commonly seen in the browning of bread.  The sugar in the recipe would allow for some browning to occur of the pancakes, as well as some flavor development.  With the small amount of sugar in the recipe, I decided to opt out of this ingredient.  The brown color could still be developed from the darker flour, and from the cooking of the product.  The blueberries, themselves, also would provide some sugar source.  I feel that pancakes do not need sugar in the recipe, because I put sugar laden syrup on my pancakes which makes them sweet enough!

My next step for health-ifying this recipe was to remove the butter and oil in the recipe.  Instead of using a tablespoon of butter for the griddle, I used olive oil spray. This allowed for me to use less oil, while still preventing the pancakes from sticking.  I also removed the butter from the recipe, as I felt it was not necessary.  The small amount of butter in the recipe would serve to make the pancakes more tender.  However, since it was a small amount, I felt the added tenderness would not be significant enough for me to justify it being necessary.

Instead of using a high fat buttermilk, I made my own.  This is an ingredient I do not use often anyways, and find it easier to make my own.  I used 1% milk + 1 T distilled white vinegar.  Usually you let this sit for 10 minutes, until you see the milk curdle.  I usually don’t get it ready in enough time, and instead stick it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds in order to speed up the reaction.  Typically the ratio of milk to vinegar is 1 c milk to 1 T vinegar.

Lastly, instead of drowning my pancakes in syrup, I made my own syrup.  I used a combination of sugar-free maple syrup with fresh blueberries.  The cooking of the blueberries allowed for the sugars to come out of the blueberries.  This also allowed for me to use processed syrup on my pancakes, as the natural sugars from the blueberries accounted for a good portion of it.

Melt-in-your-mouth pancakes
Melt-in-your-mouth pancakes

Fluffy, Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c milk + 1 T vinegar (heat in microwave for 10 seconds)
  • 1 c blueberries (fresh or frozen) – add more if you like

Syrup:

  • 1/2 c sugar-free maple syrup, or syrup of your choice
  • 2 c blueberries
  1. Stir together all dry ingredients.  Add in heated milk+vinegar (this speeds the reaction, which turns it into “buttermilk”) and beaten egg.  Stir together until just blended, but still slightly lumpy.  If you watch closely, you can see the batter bubbling from leavening ingredients!  This is fun for kids to watch.  Finally add in the blueberries, making sure to not stir too much, or your pancakes will turn  blue!
  2. Turn on your griddle to 300F.  Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop out the pancakes onto the griddle.
    IMAG0329
    Cooking the Pancakes on the griddle!

     

  3. While these are cooking, put the syrup and blueberries in a small pot on the stove.  Allow to cook for 8-10 minutes or until blueberries are soft, and juices have come out.
  4. Once pancakes are done, drizzle with hot blueberry syrup.

Makes 6 pancakes.

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