Tuesday, July 5, 2011

2 Recipe #276: Blueberry-Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

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The other day a runner pal of mine, Penny (a.k.a., @southbaygirl), asked me if I had a recipe for oatmeal pancakes. I didn't, but of course, then offered to custom-create one just for her. Needless to say, Penny took me up on the offer. :-D So this morning, I decided to test out the recipe that I'd created and written the night before.

The funny thing is that I've never even made oatmeal pancakes before today, but since I'd already made other types of whole-grain pancakes in the past, I figured, how hard would it be to create another yet another variety? The same basic principles still apply, even if the ingredients for oatmeal pancakes might vary slightly from say, buckwheat or whole wheat pancakes. Also, it wasn't like I was really going out on a limb, like the time I'd created an original recipe for pumpkin pancakes, yet another dish I'd never made before until a friend requested a recipe for it. ;) I had even less to go on for that recipe, just my wits and culinary instincts, which thankfully didn't let me, or the aforementioned friend, down. LOL.

As for the recipe creation process for the oatmeal pancakes, I decided to go with blueberries as they seem to be made for pancakes. Whoever first thought of that classic combo was a genius. :) They provide the perfect flavor and texture contrast, and also won't caramelize in the pan like some other fruits do. I love how they get all warm and gooey as they cook. Yummmmmm.

I'm happy to report that my test batch of blueberry-oatmeal buttermilk pancakes was a rip-roarin' success! Otherwise, you wouldn't (yet) be seeing a recipe for them here. Haha. My general rule of thumb for recipe-posting is as follows: If at first you don't succeed, then don't post the recipe to the blog unless you do. ;) After all, it is I, and any willing family members (!), who are supposed to be the recipe guinea pigs, not you. Har. See, what sacrifices are being made so that you get only the results of my best efforts. ;)

The surprising thing about this recipe is there's not a drop of butter in the batter and yet it still tasted really good. Here's the secret to accomplishing this amazing little feat: It's actually the lowfat buttermilk that allowed me to get away with that. ;) I haven't yet tried using nonfat buttermilk for this recipe as the supermarket was all out of it at the time. However, I suspect that the batter might be a little bit drier, as a little fat might be need to keep the batter pliable, although I'd have to test that theory to be absolutely sure. From knowledge gained from past experiments, I can tell you that sometimes no-fat baking can lead to some rather rubbery results. ;) Of course, buttermilk does lend a lot of much-needed moisture to the batter, so it's hard to say without doing a trial run with the nonfat kind.

Here's yet another pretty cool thought: Not only does this recipe provides a fun and tasty way to get in your daily fiber, but the pancakes themselves don't even taste remotely like oatmeal, just pancakes. :) Personally, I think that's probably a good thing. :) While I do enjoy oatmeal as a breakfast cereal or as ingredient for an apple tart crust, I must admit that I was initially a bit concerned that the batter for the oatmeal pancakes wouldn't turn out so well -- i.e., as in dry, flavorless, &/or lumpy and such. ;)

Thankfully, that concern was quickly put to rest. The batter was smooth, and to my surprise, the end result was actually pretty darned tasty. The pancakes were moist and warm with just the right amount of spice and vanilla. They had tons of blueberries that melted in my mouth and oozed with flavor and sublime deliciousness. :)

So, thank you, Penny, for making this recipe request. :-D I hope that you, and everyone else who tries this recipe, will enjoy it!

Blueberry-Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

1 large egg, beaten
3/4 c. lowfat buttermilk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. honey
1 1/4 c. whole oats, finely ground (into oat flour) in a food processor
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1 c. fresh blueberries (if unavailable, fully thawed frozen ones will do)
1 Tbsp. (or less) unsalted butter (for lightly coating the pan)

Directions: Prepare the batter: In an electric mixing bowl, whisk together all of the liquid ingredients (i.e., the first 4 ingredients listed above). In a separate, medium-sized bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients (i.e., the next 7 ingredients listed above), minus the blueberries, which should be well-washed and placed into a separate bowl. Then, empty the bowl of dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, gently whisking together on the lowest speed until just combined (i.e., until the dry ingredients become wet). Turn off mixer and add blueberries, gently folding them into the batter by hand.

Batter should be fluid and thick, but not lumpy. Be careful not to make the batter too wet, because this'll make the pancakes harder to flip. For the best results, use a light touch and be careful not to overmix batter or it'll be gluey and heavy and will yield stiff, unpalatable pancakes.

Make the pancakes: Heat pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles when dropped on the surface. Next, melt a 1/2 Tbsp. of butter in a (12-13"), nonstick sauté pan (or griddle). Then turn down heat to medium-low, quickly spreading the butter across the pan with a heat-proof pastry brush. Working in batches, quickly but carefully ladle out batter, about a 1/4 c. at a time, tilting the pan so that the batter forms a thin layer (or spreading batter with back of a spoon), and cook on medium heat for about 1 minute per side, or until small bubbles appear on the pancakes' surface and the undersides are golden brown. Repeat procedure with the remainder of the batter until all pancakes have been made. If necessary, melt and spread some of the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. butter across the pan/griddle between batches each time until it’s all used up. Try to fit as many pancakes as possible into the pan, while leaving yourself enough room to flip them, about 1/2" between pancakes. (Try not to crowd the pan, or it'll be a real challenge to flip the pancakes. ;) ) Stack pancakes on a warm plate (that's been heated in the microwave for a few seconds) to keep them warm while you are making the rest of the pancakes. Transfer pancake stacks to plates. Serve hot, with pure maple syrup or honey, (if desired).

Yield: 8 pancakes, about 3 1/2 - 4" in diameter each.

Chef's Notes: If you happen to make a few too many pancakes, not to worry; pancakes freeze well for future use. :) Pancakes can then be reheated in the oven, or even in the toaster oven, if they aren't too large for it.

I could've made these pancakes without adding any butter into the non-stick pan/griddle. However, even with nonstick cookware, a little bit of butter is needed to cook the pancakes, as it's the key to creating crisp edges. It also helps to give them a nice golden brown color and, of course, adds a bit of richness to their overall flavor. The amount of butter used is a very moderate amount; it's only a 1/2 Tbsp. per 4 or 8 pancakes, depending on whether you use the 1/2 Tbsp. or the full 1 Tbsp. You could possibly try making the pancakes without butter, but they might be a bit harder to flip. Whatever you do, don't try substituting a strongly flavored oil, especially one like olive oil, which doesn't complement the flavor of pancakes, and won't taste very good at all. Considering how healthy and lowfat the rest of the recipe ingredients are, a small amount of butter, in moderation, is perfectly fine.


Southbaygirl said...

Can't wait to try these!!!!! I will let you know!!!

Cyberpenguin said...

Yes, please do. :) Hope you like them!

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