Sesquecentennial Pancakes


If you’re in Vermillion this week, it’s hard not to notice how busy our otherwise sleepy summer town has become with the culmination of the Sesquecentennial bash and the VHS all-school reunion festivities.  This morning there’s a parade, and last night I accompanied H to a dinner at the Eagles for an eight or nine year span of classes.

In honor of the parade this morning (and to get some breakfast in M’s belly before and in case candy is tossed from the floats), I made whole grain oatmeal pancakes.  I’m also suffering from digestive derailment from my brush with West Nile or whatever that was, so my diet (besides last night’s bean-and-tavern feed–oh, my belly!) has been tending toward grain and fruit.

The original rule for these pancakes comes from the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book, though I have made a number of modifications since I first made them in 2002 in the kitchen of Freemans’ old farmhouse on Frog Creek Road, where I found the cookbook in their incomparably delicious-smelling pantry.

The basic recipe: Soak one cup of oats in 1 1/4 cup of milk for at least 15 minutes.  Add two beaten eggs, a tablespoon of oil, then mix in the dry ingredients: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt. Drop by big spoons-full onto a hot buttered griddle, flipping when the underside gets brown.

Since the original recipe makes pancakes that are very dense and heavy, I have taken to separating the eggs and beating the whites, folding them into the batter at the end to lighten the cakes up a bit.

I also tend to add about 3 tbsp of brown sugar instead of just one, as I like my cakes a little sweet, so I don’t have to use as much syrup. This tends to mean adding a bit more flour as well.

I also occasionally add in a mashed over-ripe banana (to the oat-milk mix) if I have one, and I almost always throw in a little almond or vanilla extract and some cinnamon, nutmeg, or both.

Even with the separated and whipped whites, these are a very sturdy pancake!  Those who have trouble with white flour pancakes and the accompanying late-morning carb-sugar crash will do much better on these.

Unless you are serving four people, you’ll likely have a few cakes left over, which to my mind is a bonus, as they make a nice little fold-over sandwich with some jam or cheese later in the afternoon–an oat cake with your tea!

I served the cakes with a drizzle of real Vermont maple syrup (M’s favorite) and for H and I–the slightly tart and very tasty cherry syrup I boiled down from last week’s canning project.

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