Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hearty and Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

I'm sure everyone has that one food that they are on bad terms with. Maybe it's sushi and the thought of eating just one bite of white stuff wrapped in green stuff wrapped in possibly uncooked seafood stuff makes you want to curl up into a little ball. Maybe you were in a hot dog eating contest and although you won the contest for eating 28 hot dogs in 12 minutes (I'm just making up that number by the way), you still ate 28 hot dogs and now you can't even go down that aisle of the grocery store. 

For me, the foodstuff that elicits slight disgust and a good cringe every time I'm in the room with them is.... pancakes. Now, I hope you'll continue reading my blog despite the fact that I dislike one of America's favorite food groups (because, let's face it, most people eat it as often as possible) because I am on a mission to conquer my aversion. I pride myself on not being a picky eater, or at least I used to, and now that I eat basically a vegetarian diet with as much organic and local food as I can possibly find, it has become hard to eat out or with friends that aren't veggie-crazy. 
So this morning, being a Saturday morning and a ritual at least in my family to eat a good hearty meal on weekends, I decided to try making an acceptable pumpkin pancake that would satisfy and also not leave me feeling a little bit dirty for giving up my standards (hey, don't judge me!). I had some left over pumpkin puree from when I made pumpkin bread and I also have tons of applesauce that I canned earlier this fall. I found a recipe online that I could use as a template and I built a pumpkin pancake through trial and error. 
I also have to mention that despite my attempts to try and branch out in the pancake world, I will probably never like or eat diner pancakes again. You know, those fluffy, golden, perfect pancakes that leave you hungry in an hour and are generally doused with so much maple syrup and butter that they resemble a mushy sponge? Well, I'm sure you can tell I'm not a huge fan. So, if you're like me and what a pancake that is a little bit more dense and leave you feeling full, these are the pancakes for you. 
One last little note about these pancakes is that I try to cook as healthy and organic as possible. These pancakes are almost vegan, except for the addition of an egg, but it would be very easy to replace the egg with a traditional vegan egg replacement like plain yogurt. I've even heard of a concoction using flax and water but I've never tried it. 
Hearty and Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes                                                 (Makes 8-10)
Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
a pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cup milk (I used rice milk but you can use any kind that you have on hand)
1 egg
1/4 cup powdered sugar

1. In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and sift together with a sifter or stir well with a fork. Set aside
2. In a separate large bowl, add all the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly by sprinkling a little bit in at a time and stirring until incorporated. At this point, if the batter is not runny enough for you or it looks a little more chunky than you'd like, feel free to add a little bit more milk 
3. In a non-stick pan, cast iron skillet that is oiled or some other kind of pancake friendly pan, cook the pancakes in 1/4-1/2 cup dollops at a time on medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side. NOTE: My stove cooks fast so I turned the heat way down and had to cook some of the pancakes very slowly once the pan was hot. The way to tell when a pancake is ready to be flipped is if you can see a change in color and texture around the edges of the pancake. Also, if you can get your spatula under the pancake without the pancake falling apart, it should be ready to flip. This is the hardest part for me because flipping pancakes requires a bit of patience. 
4. Depending on the kind of pan or skillet you are using, you might need to oil the pan in between pancakes to ensure that they don't burn.  
5. Enjoy your pancakes with a little bit of butter, pumpkin butter, powdered sugar, or just plain like I did. I think I could get used to this :)

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