It all started with an oatmeal pancake recipe from an old, out of print vegetarian cook book that my mom used to make waffles from when I was home visiting a few years back. I remember rolling into the kitchen following the smell of warm oats and melting butter as my mom loaded up the waffle iron with another ladle of batter and loads of cut-up fresh fruit pieces like apples, peaches and blueberries. The waffles came out light and fluffy and stuffed with tons of oats and fruit. A singularly delicious meal that would carry you through the day and maybe even further. I made the recipe again as soon as I got home, in the form of pancakes, and was gravely disappointed. They were ok but not as fluffy as the waffle version and without all the fruit inlaid in them they were bland at best. So back then, in the galley kitchen of my old apartment in this vast and amazing, old Victorian home in Kingston, RI,
I set out to redeem this seemingly good pancake recipe and turn it into a winner, one that I would want to cook up again and again every weekend. I have been making changes to this recipe for at least two years now and I think I have finally found a formula that I don’t want to change. I don’t remember exactly how the original recipe evolved, but I do know that my husband and I have eaten these pancakes a lot since then and every time they get a little bit better.
makes about 8 medium-sized pancakes
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup milk or soy milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-3 tbs demerara sugar or brown sugar*
1 tbs ground flax
1 tbs wheat bran**
1 tbs wheat germ**
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp oil
1 tsp grated lemon zest
*This depends on how sweet you want your pancakes. I use 3 tbs when I don’t use maple syrup and only 1 when I do.
**If you don’t have all of these ingredients you can substitute one for the other or vice versa but I highly recommend the wheat bran it adds a very subtle nutty flavor that balances out the flavors of the other grains.
First add the milk to the oats in a large bowl. It is important that this is done first so the oats can soften while you prepare the rest. Then combine all the dry ingredients and the lemon zest in another bowl and whisk together. Add the egg and the oil to the milk and oats and whisk together. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix together until just blended. Allow the batter to sit for a few minutes while preparing the pan. Heat a pan on medium-high heat with oil or butter. Add 1/4 cup of batter to the pan for each pancake and cook no more than two at a time as they are a little challenging to flip. Cook for a couple of minutes on the first side or until you see bubbles, then flip them immediately.
They will still be a bit runny and almost stick to the spatula but if you wait any longer they tend to burn. They cook quickly on the second side, about a minute or less, so don’t leave them to cook for too long after they’ve been flipped. Serve as they are or garnish with butter, maple syrup or fruit.