Gingerbread Pancakes

Today A is feeling under the weather; I’m thinking it must be a touch of the flu; the same bug that has gone all around our school, neighborhood and back again.
So far, it hasn’t had any affect on her appetite – so much for starving the flu.

Whatever her affliction, she’s requiring classic comfort food; warm herbal tea sweetened with honey (my kids like Red Zinger), leftover rice, cinnamon toast and pancakes.

These gingerbread pancakes have become popular with my kids, and I guess that’s no surprise. It must be that they are sweeter and spicier than my usual no-fail buttermilk pancake recipe.

I’m hoping that a promise of gingerbread-pancakes-in-bed will be just what the doctor ordered for a speedy recovery. And if I must reveal my alternate motive for serving a sick little girl breakfast in bed, it is this: I want her to stay in bed, tucked away in her room – keeping all her flu cooties with her! Here’s to health…

Gingerbread Pancakes

Makes about 16 pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons molasses

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cloves.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat together eggs, sugar, oil, milk and molasses; pour over the dry ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spray a griddle with non-stick spray or grease with butter; place over medium heat until hot.

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto griddle. Cook until small bubbles emerge and start to pop on the surface of the pancakes; turn with a spatula and cook until second side is lightly browned.

Serve hot.

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Copyright (c) 2008 FamilyStyle Food

Gluten-Free Almond Waffles

A waffle for everyone
We invited some friends over for brunch over the weekend who are fish-eating vegetarians with a child who has Celiac disease and is on a gluten-free diet. My husband T doesn’t eat any dairy products, and my own kids want nothing but pancakes and bacon for breakfast on Sunday mornings.

What to do? Trying to find the perfect menu on occasions like this is challenging, to say the least.

But I take it on with relish (no, not the kind with pickles). Figuring out the right formula of foods that will please everyone can be like solving an intricate puzzle, kind of like completing the Sunday New York Times crossword. Not that I ever attempt crosswords; my own problem-solving skills come directly from the right side of my brain.

I felt satisfied with my choice to make Belgian waffles, because everyone likes them, but I needed to make them acceptable to those avoiding wheat and dairy.

Because I’m now in the business of cooking for people, (look at my new DinnerStyle website!) catering to each of their personal dietary needs, restrictions and desires is also my business. So I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to test a recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free waffles.

Fellow blogger Sheltie Girl at Gluten A Go Go recently posted a recipe for hazelnut waffles that looked delicious – I decided to give them a whirl.

I ended up playing with the recipe quite a bit (which always manages to drive T a little crazy – he’s a left-brained instruction-follower sort of guy), because I didn’t have exactly the ingredients that Sheltie Girl calls for in her recipe.

There was a spine-tingling moment just minutes before our guests arrived when I thought the experiment was a dud – I was this close to sending T out for bagels, but the batter came together and baked up into big, beautiful waffles with a crisp outside and tender inside. Success!

I served them with warm maple syrup and a big bowl of fresh fruit.

Gluten-Free Almond Waffles

Makes about 6 Belgian-style waffles

2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour ( I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1/2 cup almond flour or meal
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 eggs, separated
1 3/4 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Heat waffle iron to medium-high and spray with nonstick spray if necessary.

Mix flours, flaxseed, baking powder, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Stir in the egg yolks, soy milk, oil and extracts and whisk until smooth. Let batter stand 5 minutes to allow flaxseed to gel.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer or with the whisk attachment of an immersion blender (my favorite method for beating small amounts of egg whites) until soft peaks form; fold egg whites evenly into batter.

Pour batter onto waffle iron and bake about 5 minutes, or until steaming stops. Remove waffle carefully and transfer to a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven to keep warm.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Whole Grain Pancakes with Roasted Pears

photo courtesy of Josh Monken

‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? To me, that means doing the rest of my holiday shopping on the internet (they deliver!), staying up past my bedtime with a glass of wine, and not getting up in the morning until I’ve read a chapter or two from my latest book. I wait until J finds his way next to my pillow, finally realizing he’s hungry for breakfast and nudging me out of the sack.

There’s no question that pancakes will be on the menu on holiday weekend mornings around here, so I dreamed up a few extra-special recipes.

The December issue of Sauce features my pancake story with more recipes – pick it up!

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food