Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

Pancakes are among my favorite ways to start off my weekends.  There's really nothing much better than quickly mixing up a bowl of pancake batter, ladling it onto a hot griddle, and watching it transform into a fluffy and tasty breakfast treat. I've become a bit of a pancake snob in recent years, thanks to my sister, who's without a doubt a bigger pancake obsessed person than I am.  Pancakes from a box are a big no-no.  In my opinion, there's no reason to ever make pancakes from a box, given that they're completely effortless to make from scratch (and they also taste way, way better).  Seriously, I have yet to taste a Bisquick pancake that's as fluffy and tangy as my favorite homemade buttermilk pancakes. 

And then my mom went gluten-free, and suddenly, I was in a predicament.  My mom usually isn't much of a big breakfast person, as she tends to be happy with just coffee and toast, but she does love pancakes.  Blueberry pancakes, especially.  I couldn't very well make my own homemade pancakes to enjoy on the weekend to have my mom watch on without any pancakes on her plate (because what kind of person denies their mother of buttermilk pancakes, right?), so I had to figure out how to make the perfect batch of gluten free pancakes that could hold their own next to my traditional favorites.

I actually started out with gluten free mixes, and while the pancakes they produced were just fine (more ok, than anything), I wasn't going to settle.  If I refused to eat pancake mix pancakes then my mom certainly wasn't going to either.  After several failed attempts at homemade pancakes sans gluten, I finally got the pancakes I had been looking for.  A blend of white rice flour, brown rice flour, and buckwheat flour gave me pancakes with a balanced and slightly hearty flavor, and all the necessary starches and xantham gum ensured that the pancake batter held together.  Even though the batter has both baking soda and baking powder, I decided to ensure that I'd have essential fluffiness of a good pancake by whipping the egg whites until they were stiff.  I do this trick whenever I make waffles, and I figured that it wouldn't hurt to include it in my gluten-free pancakes.  

Since blueberry pancakes are my mom's absolute favorite, it only made sense to include some blueberries in what ended up being my first batch of really successful blueberry pancakes.  Normally, I have a huge stash of blueberries in my freezer from the summer, but my frozen berry stash was completely empty (so sad!). Fortunately, I was able to get a pint of fresh Driscoll's blueberries to mix in (ok, I got two pints, one for the pancakes, and one for me to eat as I flipped'em).  As good as plain buttermilk pancakes are, blueberry buttermilk pancakes are even better.  I always add the blueberries directly to the pancakes as I ladle them onto the griddle, and I love hearing the sizzle of the blueberries as they hit the hot griddle when the pancakes are flipped.  A giant stack of blueberry pancakes cloaked in maple it the weekend yet?  I need more of these in my life!

My mom declared these blueberry pancakes to be a huge success.  They were thick, fluffy, bursting with berries, and totally gluten free, exactly what she was looking for.  The flour blend in the recipe below makes way more than you need for one batch of pancakes, so now I'm armed and ready with the ideal pancake mix for any weekend my mom gets a pancake craving.  All it takes is a little mixing, beating, griddling, and flipping, but a delicious stack of g-free pancakes is always within reach now.  Even if you're not on a gluten-free diet, these pancakes are worth including on your weekend breakfast menus, because they're just as good, if not better, than any traditional pancake.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes
flour blend adapted from Silvana's Kitchen


For the Flour Blend

2 cups white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
3/4 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon xantham gum
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour blend
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh blueberries


In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the flour blend, making sure to whisk thoroughly.  Set aside 1 1/2 cups and store the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To make the pancakes, whisk together the flour blend, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside. In a large measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, egg yolks, vanilla, and melted butter with a fork to combine. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy.

Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, stirring only until just combined. Gently fold in the egg whites, one half at a time.  Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.

While the batter rests, preheat your griddle or a cast iron pan until  hot. Add a little butter or nonstick spray, and ladle 1/4 measures of pancake batter onto the griddle. You may need to help spread the batter slightly.  Add a sprinkle of blueberries over the top of each pancake, and cook until bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes and the bottoms are golden brown.  Flip the pancakes and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes, or until golden. Remove the pancakes from the heat, and repeat with the remaining batter and blueberries.  Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Makes 12-14 pancakes


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