Vegan Blueberry Almond Pancakes (or Jane's Famous Memorial Day Flapjacks)
When hosting someone with food allergies or diet preferences, the best etiquette policy is to provide ample options. Make the majority of dishes available to everyone and it will remind your guests of what they have in common and that they should feel at home. In the event that you are not able to tailor your menu, do as our President advises and “build a wall.” Not actually. But just separate the table based on preferences. Then, instead of announcing this loudly at the table, and drawing extra attention, pull aside your guest and let them know discreetly. Ask them to please sit by the _special food section_, so that they are within reach of all the food they can eat.
This past weekend. my brother’s best friend Jakob stayed with us at our family cottage in Pennsylvania. Jakob is a vegan. Uncooperatively, our cottage diet consists primarily of meat, wheat and dairy. Whoops. To make matters worse, my favorite breakfast in the woods is blueberry pancakes. I have a recipe that I rarely stray from, and the only adjustment I’ve ever made was keeping some berry-free for my weird brother, who doesn’t eat fruit… I know… insane.
As soon as I woke up on Saturday and I wanted those blueberry pancakes. Nothing else would feel like the inauguration of summer, or bring a bluer smile to my face. But the recipe traditionally calls for milk and eggs. To add to the dilemma, the cottage kitchen did not have any ingredients that would help “veganize” this recipe. No flax seeds to make a “flax egg”, no coconut oil to substitute the butter. What’s a gal to do? Of course I turned to the internet, and quickly tinkered with a few recipes. I found this base recipe, and made a play on it tailored to the ingredients we had at home. I hoped that with enough cinnamon, brown sugar, and maple syrup, they would at least be edible.
Low and behold, these were the best pancakes I ever made. Seriously, don’t ask me how. I don’t even get it! This was some kind of amazing beginners luck. I wrote down the recipe, and made them again the next morning. I was sure that this second time, something would go awry. I mean, again, this was a random collaboration of 3 recipes that I found on the internet. But they worked! And so, I’m very happy to share with you what Jakob endearingly titled “Jane’s Famous Memorial Day Flapjacks.” They’re sweet, fluffy, cinnamony, come together quickly, and will work with just about any fruit you have on hand. Give them a try this weekend!
Vegan Blueberry Almond Pancakes
2 1/4 cups flour (I use white, you can use whole wheat, make sure it’s not bleached)
1.5 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
2 cups almond milk (I used unsweetened but any will do)
2 tablespoons avocado oil in the batter + more for frying
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup of water (set aside and not used unless your batter is too thick)
1 pint of blueberries or any desired fruit
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large measuring cup add remaining ingredients, except the water. Whisk well, so that all of the brown sugar is dissolved. Add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and whisk again. Don't overmix, or your pancakes will be tough. You just want to quickly combine everything. Your batter should not be too thin or thick. if you feel it’s very thick (you still see lumps of flour, etc), slowly drizzle in water and mix until desired texture is achieved. Let the batter sit for a few minutes.
To fry, use a nonstick pan. You should use a neutral-flavored frying oil that stands up to heat well. Some recommendations include avocado or canola oil. I add a little bit of oil in between each set of pancakes. I find that not only does it help them fry better, but it also keeps them from drying out. I understand the temptation to avoid all oil, but I don’t recommend it for this recipe.
I use a medium ice cream scoop to measure out each pancake. This helps remain uniformity in size, and they also cook at the same time. Once your pancakes are in the pan/griddle, immediately sprinkle a handful of blueberries (or whatever fruit you're using) on each one. Cook the pancakes on a medium high-heat, for about 4 minutes per side. You should see bubbles forming all around the pancake. Once the bubbles are fairly close to the center, flip, cook for 3-4 more minutes, and serve immediately! You can serve these with any or all of the following: butter, maple syrup, honey, sour cream, jam.
Additionally, if you are making these for a crowd, you can keep the cooked pancakes on a sheet pan as you make more. Then, just pop the sheet pan into a warm oven (250) for 5 minutes before sitting and voila! All your pancakes will be warm again.