Gluten-free Carrot Cake Pancakes
While I try to contribute my fair share of original content, today’s post will not be one such contribution.
Instead, I pay homage to the great Joy the Baker, with a gluten-free cover of her astonishingly fantastic recipe for Carrot Cake Pancakes. Joy’s Carrot Cake Pancake recipe is like the Stairway to Heaven of pancake recipes; the web is teeming with food blogger cover versions of it. There are vegan versions, peanut butter versions, and even adaptations of adaptations of the original. But in my defense, this one appears to be the first gluten-free rendition. So I suppose my knock-off is more original than some of the other knock-offs. Tee hee hee.
I’ve been making these pancakes for my kids about once per week ever since she published the recipe in her cookbook last February. I was initially attracted to this recipe for the fact that it called for 2 whole cups of finely grated carrots and not too much sugar (so long as you leave off the frosting, as I always do). They are so flavorful and moist that they don’t even require any maple syrup. My kids loved them, and although I couldn’t eat them myself, the feeling one gets when one’s children eat an entire serving of vegetables by 8am left a delicious taste in my mouth nonetheless. Leftovers make a terrific and portable toddler snack.
As the weeks progressed, I tinkered slightly with the original recipe. I’d swap in half whole wheat flour, I’d replace the buttermilk with lowfat kefir (since I always have it on hand), I’d experiment with different nuts or no nuts at all. Every so often, I’d try–and fail– to make them with various combos of gluten-free flours so that I could partake in the fun, too.
Finally, last month, I hit on the winning gluten-free flour combo, and made the perfect batch of Joy’s Carrot Cake Pancakes– gluten-free. They were so light and airy, in fact, that my 2 year olds each downed 10 of them for breakfast, as opposed to their normal 3 or so. I couldn’t get them out of the pan fast enough! With full respect to Joy and her amazing recipe, I daresay I think the gluten-free version produces a batter that is easier to work with than the original wheat flour based recipe. It’s a bit thinner and pancakier– while cooking, the gluten-free version produces more “bubbles” that signify when the pancake is ready to flip. (In the original version, I often found the batter was a bit too thick and dense, and sometimes the pancake would be burning on the outside before it was cooked through on the inside.)
The key to the gluten-free version of this recipe is Carol Fenster’s Gluten-free flour blend (click on link for recipe), which is essentially 37.5% sorghum flour, 37.5% potato starch and 25% tapioca starch . I’d suggest making a large 4 cup batch and storing it in an airtight Tupperware for future use.
If this recipe seems like too much effort for breakfast, do as I do: prep the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients in separate bowls the night before, and grate the carrots into a separate, third bowl. Then in the morning, just combine the wet and dry, add the carrots, and start cooking. Let your kids eat the pancakes as they come off the griddle, and let them nibble on extra grated carrots while they wait for the first batch to be done. This has become our family’s happy Saturday morning ritual.
Lastly, if you haven’t checked out Joy’s blog, it’s worth a spin. Ideally when you’re not on a diet or particularly hungry. She has a formidable section of gluten-free recipes on her site, including some extremely tempting desserts and brunchy items.
Recipe: Gluten-free Carrot Cake Pancakes
Adapted from Joy Wilson
- 1 cup Carol Fenster’s Gluten-free Sorghum flour blend (see recipe link above)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or alternatively: heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon, scant 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ginger)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup lowfat plain kefir (I use Green Valley Organics Lactose-free brand) or buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely grated carrots (about a 3/4 pound whole carrots)
- Organic butter for the griddle
- Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl and set aside
- Combine the egg, brown sugar, kefir and vanilla into a bowl and whisk well
- Stir carrots into the wet ingredients
- Add wet ingredients into dry ones and stir until just combined.
- Heat butter in a large non-stick griddle pan over medium heat
- Spoon batter onto griddle to form pancakes of desired size (the batter consistency allows for both larger and smaller pancakes– perhaps start with 2 TBSPs and go from there?)
- Cook until batter starts bubbling well over the entire surface and underside is golden brown
- Flip pancakes and continue cooking until second side is golden brown
- Transfer momentarily to a wire cooling rack and serve while still warm! (alternatively, if not serving immediately, transfer to a 200 degree oven to keep warm).
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