So let's talk pancakes, shall we? Cuz everybody loves 'em, at least my family does! I don't repeat many recipes in my column Kitchen Parade – but pancakes are an exception! There's my sister's recipe (thick and fluffy with tiny, small, medium and large batches for changing family sizes) and my mom's recipe (the classic! calling for either buttermilk or "sweet" milk) and cornmeal pancakes (especially good with blueberries) and even pancakes made with cottage cheese (extra moist). You see?! And now I add to the arsenal, completely addictive Spinach Pancakes. I love their color, love their texture, love their good taste.
No surprise, my family knows its pancakes. Two things help [FYI, this is not a sponsored post, just pancake tools I like]:
A PANCAKE GRIDDLE If you make pancakes often, wow, does an electric pancake griddle ever help. First, the temperature is so even, across the entire griddle, evenly browning every single pancake. Second, you can make a lot of pancakes, all at once! This really helps even with a small group, everyone can eat hot pancakes all at once instead of cooking two or three pancakes at a time. Third, no added fat! Although you can butter/oil a non-stick electric griddle (some people love those crispy edges, I get it, I do!) but you don't have to. My sister Adanna loves her pancake griddle so much, she travels with it, knowing she'll be expected to make multiple batches of her famous Lifetime Pancakes. This is the griddle she and I both use, there are smaller versions as well.
A PANCAKE DISPENSER This started off as a gift for a certain doting grandfather who on weekend mornings is often compelled to produce "bear pancakes" for certain pancake-loving grandchildren. So far, no bear pancakes but the dispenser makes it so easy to control the shape and size of pancakes, also to squeeze one pancake after another onto the griddle, quick-quick, I really love it! It's called a pancake pen. Now before anyone gets excited about "drawing" with this pen, we haven't yet tried bear pancakes with it and when I tried creating four-leaf clovers with the spinach-pancake batter, no luck, the batter was a little thin. It might well work with a thicker batter. I see the reviews on Amazon are mixed and some reviewers suggest using an inexpensive squeeze bottle, I tried that first since I use them for Homemade Chocolate Sauce In-a-Flash and caramel sauce (recipe coming!) but no luck, they are hard to clean and didn't hold enough. For us, a Pancake Pen is perfect.
RECIPE for SPINACH PANCAKES
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes about 12 medium-size pancakes
1 cup white whole wheat flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup (225g) non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (125g) low-fat buttermilk (other milks work too)
1 large egg
1 cup tightly packed (50g) fresh spinach, leaves only
MIXING BOWL Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, a fork or wooden spoon works just fine. Form a depression in the center.
BLENDER In a blender, combine the yogurt, buttermilk and egg until well-combined. Add the spinach and process until the liquid is uniformly green, with only tiny specks of spinach visible.
COMBINE Pour the liquid into the center of the bowl, with a wooden spoon, combine just until the dry ingredients are barely mixed in, no more.
SKILLET or PANCAKE GRIDDLE Lightly grease a skillet and heat on medium heat or set a pancake skillet on 325F and give it time to completely heat (I usually get out the griddle to heat while mixing the pancakes). Pour pancake batter onto the top, when the first side is done (you can tell when the bubbles that form on top "pop"), flip it over and cook for until light brown. Serve immediately.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
SUGAR I tried, I really did, to make the pancakes without sugar. It wasn't that they tasted like "spinach" when there was no sugar, they just didn't taste like "pancakes". So in with the sugar! I suspect Splenda / other sugar substitutes would work as well.
FLOUR Even with a whole-grain flour, these pancakes were as light and lovely as could be. One batch, I used half rougher plain whole wheat flour, again, excellent. All-purpose flour would substitute well, I suspect.
NON-FAT DAIRY PRODUCTS To my taste, most non-fat Greek yogurts taste good straight off the spoon and are also excellent to bake with. Low-fat and full-fat Greek yogurt would work as well, I just don't usually have them on hand. I nearly always have buttermilk on hand, especially Homemade Buttermilk, but whole milk and low-fat milks and even skim milk would work fine. One batch I was short on Greek yogurt and substituted part sour cream, excellent.
A BLENDER ~AND~ A MIXING BOWL, REALLY? Yes, really. It takes the full complement of liquid to grind the spinach into little bits, an inexpensive blender does the trick. (I'd love a high-powered VitaMix, for example, but don't have one. Pricey!!) But you know how quick-bread recipes (including pancakes, a "bread" leavened with only baking powder/baking soda instead of yeast) always say, "Mix in the dry ingredients, just until combined." That's because if you combine the batter any further, the baked bread/pancakes will have holes, something we'd like to avoid. And ... a blender over-combines the batter (experience talkin', yes) and results in holes. But if you mix the dry ingredients into the wet liquid in a bowl by hand, you have more control. No holes!
CLEANING THE BLENDER Be sure to rinse the blender right away: it's like glue!
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~ Healthy Creamed Spinach ~
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~ more spinach recipes ~
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