Pancakes are more than just weekend breakfast around here. We make at least one batch a week, and freeze leftovers to pop into the toaster on sleepy, cold mornings. They even make a decent breakfast to go, spread with peanut butter and wrapped around a banana.
Once you’ve made them once or twice, pancakes are a snap to make from scratch. (I’m amazed that pancake mixes are actually big sellers, containing little more than flour, sugar and baking powder!) Stirring them together yourself isn’t much more effort, and is at least as inexpensive. Doing it yourself is also a great opportunity to play around with whole grains and boost nutrients and fiber with ingredients like ground flax. The braised apples are optional, but great in fall, when they are at their peak. To pretty them up, add whipped cream or a snowy dusting of powdered sugar.
Flax Pancakes with Maple Braised Apples
2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour (or use half whole wheat, half all-purpose)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. melted butter or oil
1 Tbsp. each oil and butter
2 large, tart apples, sliced
a shake of cinnamon
1/2 cup maple syrup
Stir together the milk and lemon juice in a small bowl or measuring cup; set aside to thicken.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, flax seed, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and butter.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture; stir just until the two are combined. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out – overmixing will result in tough pancakes!
When the skillet is hot (you can test it by flicking some drops of water on it – they should bounce) spray it with nonstick spray or drizzle in about a teaspoon of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Ladle the batter onto the skillet, making the pancakes any size you like. If you are using them, place berries or slices of banana directly onto the batter. Turn the heat down a little and cook for 2-4 minutes, until the bottom is golden and bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Use a thin, flat spatula to flip them over and cook for another minute on the other side, until golden.
Repeat with the remaining batter. If you want everyone to eat at the same time, keep finished pancakes uncovered in a 200ºF oven. If you don’t want to cook them all at once, the leftover batter can be covered and kept in the fridge for several days.
To make the braised apples, heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat and saute the apples for a few minutes, until starting to soften. Add the cinnamon and maple syrup and cook for about 5 more minutes, until the apples are soft but not mushy. Serve warm, over the pancakes.