“I love waking up to Sunday morning pancakes. The whole process of making them, just out in the kitchen together making pancakes on a Sunday morning; that’s an experience every girl should have.” – Ronda Rousey
Pancakes rule. Lately, I’ve been eating one every morning. Since I was a kid, since before I was in shape, during the non-athletic kid years, I’ve slaved over many griddles in search of pancake perfection.
At the risk of sounding disgustingly vain, yes I have six-pack abs, for whatever that’s worth. This is despite eating pancakes all the time. Lest you should think I am blessed with the genes of super models, I can assure you both of parents do not have six packs.
The secret to enjoying pancakes “all the time?” You eat one, making sure that cake is balanced.
The problem with most pancake recipes is calories and nutrient balance. It’s really hard to sneak in calories and make a pancake that isn’t gummy. I know. I’ve tried all the recipes.
Here are three alterations you can make to your pancakes to enjoy a more balanced cake. I’ll let you control the portions, but less is more.
What’s more classic for breakfast than eggs? Sure, bacon, but humans have likely been eating eggs longer.
Eggs are already an ingredient in pancake recipes. Most will call for one or maybe two per batch. Try to double the eggs in your recipe.
Just be careful. Extra protein will cause those cakes to get rubbery if you’re not careful.
The trick is to add the milk and eggs last, in that order, only stirring enough so they disappear. It’s okay of you have lumps of flour in your mix. We’re not making a wedding cake.
This one gets tricky. Different protein powders work differently when mixed into your favorite pancake mix.
Some will bind the whole thing up like a rubber band if you just dump them in. Like eggs, you have to beware of over-mixing, but also beware the full nutrient profile.
Some protein powders as much meal replacements as they are straight protein. You may not only be fouling your trusted recipe but also not upping the protein as much as your upping the sugar.
Sure, they may taste good, but for all your efforts did you actually improve the nutrient profile?
When I’ve done this successfully it’s been with whey protein powders, no additives. I’ll add my own sweeteners, thank you very much. Start with less, then add more next time. Keep track of your results, just like in the gym.
With alternative flours, I’ve been around the globe. I’ve used flour made from corn (coarse and fine), rice (ew), coconut, almond, and many gluten-free flours which combine the best of the non-wheat varieties.
Recently discovered by me, chickpea flour blows them all away. To be honest, I don’t know why.
The thing that makes wheat the perfect flour for pancakes is the gluten. You can substitute xanthan gum to simulate gluten, but for some reason, you don’t need this with chickpea flour.
Best guess? The high levels of protein. A cup of chickpea flour drops 20 grams of protein into your mix, versus the 13 in wheat flour. While that variance isn’t that high, it’s the protein to carb ratios that are awesome.
Wheat flour is 1:10, protein to carb, where chickpea flour is 2:5. You can swap the chickpea flour one-for-one in most recipes without xanthan gum. Those cakes will rise.
No chickpea flour at your grocery? Go to the legume aisle. Buy two bags of dry chickpeas. Put them in your blender, food processor or coffee bean grinder, whichever will pulverize them best. Grind until fine or course, however, you prefer. The course grind will give your cakes a nutty texture.
Of course, the easier way to add protein to your cakes is shop online for protein pancake mix. Most of the big supplement brands make some kind of mix. In my book, that is delicious, nutritious cheating.
There is something far more rewarding in eating cakes you built yourself. It’s not that hard and the mistakes are tasty.
One more thing… While normally you want your griddle or cooking surface to be pretty hot for good flapjacks, if you’re having trouble flipping them, turn it down a little and cover your cakes.
Extra amino acids can make things gummy, sticking to pans or generally not cooperating. When you cover them they tend to bake more like an oven, so flipping gets easier.