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How to Substitute Milk in Your Pancake Recipes

How to Substitute Milk in Your Pancake Recipes

Who said vegans can’t enjoy fluffy and delicious pancakes? Or those who are lactose intolerant? Who said you can’t make your favorite pancake recipe just because you have run out of milk?

There is a number of milk substitutes you can use for cooking and baking.

Substituting Milk with Other Dairy Products in Pancake Recipes

 

The best choice is to replace milk with another dairy product. Wonder which one? There’s more than one option:

Evaporated milk is probably the best substitute. Mix one can of evaporated milk with water in 1:1 ratio, then replace the regular milk required in the recipe with this mixture in the same amount. Condensed milk can be used in the same way but in this case, bear in mind that it is sweetened and reduce the amount of sugar called for in the pancakes recipe.

Powdered milk will do the trick as well. Prepare it following the instructions on the package or, if you are like me, add 1-2 teaspoons more than the amount of powdered milk required in the instructions. I find prepared powdered milk rather bland.

Sour cream or yogurt can also replace milk in equal amounts. If you decide to go with yogurt, choose the plain, unsweetened version. If all you have is Green yogurt or sour cream, dilute them with water first. If you have only flavored yogurt versions, expect your dessert to obtain the same flavor note. This is not always a bad thing. For instance, vanilla-flavored yogurt will make your pancakes even better. However, I have tried mango-flavored yogurt in chocolate pancakes and I wasn’t thrilled with the result. As you might have guessed, this is also forbidden in case you’re making savory pancakes. So, before adding flavored yogurt, consider the recipe.

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Plant-Based Milk Substitutes

Vegans love plant-based milk and for a good reason. They are great replacements for regular milk and work great in pancakes. Just replace the amount of milk required in the recipe with the same amount of plant-based milk of choice: soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, cashew milk… Different types of milk have different flavors that will also affect the flavor of your pancakes. I find these perfect for nutty pancakes – almond milk is ideal for pancakes that contain crushed almonds!

However, if you don’t want any extra flavors in your pancake recipes, the best option is rice milk since it is closest in taste to cow’s milk. Bear in mind that rice milk is thinner than cow’s milk so the texture of your flapjacks will probably be different than you’re used to.

To solve this problem, opt for unflavored soy milk. It is thicker and will contribute the necessary texture.

Another reason why soy is good is that it contains high levels of protein. Besides being important for health reasons, this is also important for fluffiness. To be more precise, milk and acid have the same effect of buttermilk in making the pancakes soft, tall, and fluffy. To replace buttermilk, combine a cup of soy milk with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let the mixture stand for five minutes before adding it to the batter. Other suitable plant-based milk alternatives are oat and hemp milk (although the latter is a bit strong in flavor).

 

Can You Replace Milk with Water in Pancakes?

The answer is yes, water can be used instead of milk but there will be certain changes in taste and texture. Your flapjacks will probably not be as soft and fluffy and they’ll taste less creamy than those made with milk.

It is best to add one tablespoon of butter for each cup of water you use to make up for the fat lost with the exclusion of milk. If you’re vegan, you can use nut butter for this purpose. To add some extra flavor, consider adding chocolate chips, berries, or vanilla extract to the pancake batter.

 

Dairy-Free Pancake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips

Method of preparation:

Preheat a frying pan to medium heat. Mash the banana with baking powder. Add the egg, almond milk, oil, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the oats and whole wheat flour until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop about 1/4 cup per pancake onto the greased pan. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

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Crepes 101 – The Art of Making French Pancakes

Crepes 101 – The Art of Making French Pancakes

What’s the difference between fluffy American pancakes and e thin French crepes (besides the obvious difference in thickness, of course)?

Pancakes are familiar. You can make them with your eyes closed. They are quick and easy. They’re our regular weekend breakfast. Crepes are… well, fancy. When you eat them, you think of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, you imagine Versailles and Marie Antoinette. They’re French!

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Making Skinny French Pancakes

 

Being fancy doesn’t mean that crepes are not as easy to make as pancakes. In fact, they are even easier! Firstly, crepes are made with fewer ingredients than pancakes (for instance, they don’t need buttermilk). Hence, they require fewer kitchen tools and produce less mess in the kitchen. So far so good.

Secondly, crepes are more neutral in taste than American pancakes and allow you to combine them with both sweet and savory fillings. And the best of all, they won’t spoil or alter the taste if you make them ahead and keep them in the fridge. Well, what more could you wish for from your pancakes?

So, what’s the downside? It’s not a downside per se, let’s call it a skill that should be perfected. In order to make your crepes perfect (read: super-skinny), you need to spread the batter thin enough in the pan. For that, you’ll need some practice and lots of destroyed crepes at the beginning. But don’t worry. Even if your early crepes are not super-thin or contain strange-looking lumps, they’re still edible (just make sure they don’t tear).

 

Making the Batter for Your Skinny French Pancakes

 

Here is the list of basic ingredients needed to make crepes:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted melted butter

 

Simpler French pancake recipes are made of three ingredients only: flour, eggs, and milk. Sugar is left out in case you’re planning to fill them with savory ingredients.

I add butter to make the crepes a bit softer and some salt for flavoring (whether sugar is involved or not). In addition, when making savory crepes, I add some fresh herbs to the batter.

 

Mixing the batter

So, what’s the best way of mixing the ingredients together? If you follow the method used for American pancakes, i.e. whisking the ingredients by hand in a large bowl, you’ll get denser and smoother crepes.

This method is OK, but there is another, simpler way to mix the ingredients together – using a blender. Just throw all the ingredients together and mix for about 15 seconds, until everything is smooth and well combined. Crepes made in the blender have tiny bubbles throughout their surface. I love these bubbles. In fact, some crepe recipes (or Balkan-style palachinke pancakes) even call for soda water in order to get more of those tiny bubbles. Awesome!

 

Resting the batter

Should you let the crepe batter rest or not? Some cooks claim that resting the batter for at least 30 minutes (or better yet, overnight) can improve its taste and texture. But considering that crepes are cooked only for a short time and are served with flavorful fillings, resting is not of crucial importance, so feel free to skip this step if you’re in a rush.

 

Cooking Your Skinny French Pancakes

 

The pan

Which pan is best for cooking super-thin pancakes? There are two options to choose from:

–    Carbon steel crepe pan is shallow and has highly tapered edges, which facilitates flipping. However, if crepes are not something you make on a regular basis, I don’t recommend investing in such a pan.

–    Regular nonstick pan, the one used for standard pancake recipes is the next best thing. To make sure it heats evenly, try copper, aluminum, or a tri-ply clad pan.

 

Oil or butter for the pan?

I find butter to be better than vegetable oil because it produces golden-brown crepes with lacy surface. Be careful not to use too much, though – rub a thin layer of butter into the preheated pan, then wipe the excess out with a paper towel.

 

Pouring the batter onto the pan

As mentioned before, this is the trickiest part. How to pour and spread the batter perfectly? You surely can’t use the wooden spreader used in creperies.

Method 1

Try pouring batter directly from the blender onto the pan (an amount that equals a few tablespoons). Pour the batter in the center of the pan and immediately start swirling so that the batter covers the bottom evenly in a thin layer.

Method 2

Pour more batter than you actually need in the center of the pan, then swirl the pan to coat the bottom evenly. Immediately tip the pan to remove the excess batter by pouring it back into the blender. I find this method easier than the first.

Cooking time and temperature & flipping

Heat the pan on high heat, then lower the temperature to medium heat after pouring the batter. Cook the crepe for about 15 seconds, until the top has set and looks dry.

Crepes are very thin and delicate so, using a spatula to flip them is not recommendable. Use the spatula only to release the edges of the pancake, then pick it up using your fingers and slowly turn it over. Cook until the other side is light brown, for about 15 seconds more.

Stack the cooked crepes on a plate and serve immediately or store covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for a few days.

Stuffing Your Skinny French Pancakes

 

Sweet crepes

There’s nothing easier than stuffing your crepes with a sweet filling – simply smear some Nutella and roll or fold. Other sweet fillings to consider sugar and lemon juice, jams, butter and maple syrup, fruit slices.

Savory crepes

Traditionally, classic stuffed crepes are folded into quarters. When it comes to savory fillings, think omelets. This means that anything that goes into omelets, works for crepes as well. For my favorite savory crepe filling, I combine sautéed spinach, cheese, and onions. Other savory fillings you can use are Gruyère cheese, ham, but again, bacon, sautéed peppers, sunny-side-up eggs, etc.

Spread the ingredients over half of the crepe, then fold it over twice. To take the taste to another level, heat the stuffed and filled crepes with a little butter in a pan/skillet. Cook them shortly, just until they become crispy and brown. Flip and cook the other side.

 

Eat crepes for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, or even in the middle of the night as a midnight snack! Bon Appetite!

Cream of Tartar – the Secret to a Perfect Pavlova Cake

Cream of Tartar – the Secret to a Perfect Pavlova Cake

Who has heard of Pavlova? The cake that sounds like the last name of some Russian woman actually is the last name of a Russian woman!

It was invented in New Zealand or Australia (there’s a dispute between them regarding this cake) and named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who visited both countries in the 1920s.

What is Pavlova Cake?

 

This recipe composed of meringue with fruit and cream is a perfect solution for emergency situations. Have a bunch of people coming to your house tonight but you’ve forgotten to buy dessert? Need something that looks mind-blowing but requires minimum skills? Pavlova cake is just the thing you need. Pavlova and cream of tartar, of course.

There are many reasons you should make this cake. First of all, it looks incredible – pillow-y and graceful, just like a ballerina.

Pavlova is also economical, even when you need to feed a crowd. One cake can serve about 15-20 people and it will cost you approximately a dollar per person! Ain’t it great?

Pavlova is very easy to make and quite adjustable, without any special ingredients (except for cream of tartar, which is a must). Even the use of fruits is flexible: in Australia and New Zealand, passion fruit, kiwi, and strawberries are most commonly used. In the States, people seem to favor berries. But who is to stop you if you decide to go with entirely different fruit options?

Where Does Cream of Tartar Fit in Pavlova Cake Recipes

 

Traditionally, Pavlova cake is made with a French meringue. Meringues are very simple in their core – egg whites beaten with sugar and then baked. The baking is at low temperature and lasts for an hour, resulting in a light, crispy exterior, and creamy, fluffy interior. This is the ideal situation. However, contrary to popular belief, meringues are quite easy to mess up.

Enter cream of tartar. Hard meringues, like the French version, usually contain an acidic ingredient such as cream of tartar, which acts as a stabilizer. This means that cream of tartar keeps the meringue from deflating. In addition, it keeps the eggs white and bright, which is certainly important for the final appearance of the cake. Optionally, you can use cream of tartar substitutes such as lemon juice or white vinegar. However, bear in mind that cream of tartar substitutes produce slightly different results.

I highly recommend that you buy a packet of cream of tartar and keep it in your pantry. It is inexpensive, you can use it in different recipes, and it will last for a very long time (it has an indefinite shelf life)!

Pavlova Cake Recipe Step by Step

 

Here are the ingredients you need to make a pavlova cake.

For the meringue:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

 

Step 1: Making the French Meringue

Besides cream of tartar to stabilize the egg-white foam, the type of sugar and sugar-to-egg ratio are also important when making meringues. The best type is superfine sugar because it dissolves more easily when whipped. As for the amount, hard meringues like the one required in pavlova cake, call for ¼ cup per egg white.

To take your meringue to another level, use a total of six eggs and heavy cream. The final result will be incredibly rich and marshmallowy. Optionally, flavor the meringue with vanilla, orange or rose blossom water (a teaspoon is enough) or even booze. You can add a bit of bourbon to the mixture (1-2 shots) but in this case, expect a bit longer whipping. Oh, and don’t worry, your kids can still have a slice of this boozy cake; the amount is quite low and most of it will evaporate during baking.

Step 2: Making the Cream

The cream in this cake is a no-brainer. It’s actually plain whipped cream, but you’re not going for plain things here, are you? You can turn ordinary cream into extraordinary by adding maple syrup, cinnamon, orange or lemon zest, or even herbs like mint. But my favorite cream is definitely the chocolate one!

Here is how to make a chocolate cream: dissolve half a cup of cocoa in two cups liquid cream, then whisk until well incorporated. To make the pavlova even better, combine the whipped cream with crème fraîche, sour cream, or soft cheese like mascarpone or ricotta.

Note: Use the stabilizing and whitening properties of cream of tartar when preparing the cream as well, by adding a 1/8 teaspoon to the mixture before whipping.

Step 3: Adding the Fruit

The addition of fruit gives the cake a tangy note that pairs beautifully with the creaminess and sweetness of the base.

As mentioned before, berries are always a good choice (I favor strawberries and cranberries) but citrus fruits like grapefruit or blood orange produce an even better-pronounced contrast of flavors. Consider also apples and pears caramelized in a little butter, plums, or even pomegranate.

Step 4: Toppings

A basic pavlova cake is made up of three elements: meringue, cream, and fruit. But adding some sauce won’t do any harm. On the contrary! You can add various molasses & syrups or nuts for crunchiness. My personal favorite is pistachios but I sometimes use almonds too.

Here is a recipe for my favorite sauce made with berries, which actually unites the obligatory use of fruit with the optional use of sauce!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package frozen berries
  • 1 tablespoon cherry brandy
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Preparation: Make the sauce by simmering the berries, brandy, and sugar together for about 20 minutes. Let it cool before placing it on top of the cake. That’s it!

Baking the Pavlova Cake

 

Here are some basic tips and tricks that will help you make a perfect Pavlova cake every time.

Step 5: Preparing the Baking Sheet

Line the baking sheet with parchment paper to facilitate the meringue removal. If the baking sheet is rimmed, turn it upside down and bake the meringue on the other side.

When you put the meringue on the baking sheet, form a shallow hole in the center of the meringue to form a little ‘nest’ for the fruits after baking.

Bear in mind that the cake will expand during baking so make sure to leave some space on all sides.

Step 6: Baking the Cake

During baking, try not to check the cake by opening the oven door too often. Temperature changes caused by letting cold air inside will make your meringue crack and look less appealing (this won’t affect the taste, though). However, even if the meringue cracks, don’t fret; the cake is covered in whipped cream and fruit anyway. Being messy suits this cake (very unlike a ballerina J)

Ideally, the Pavlova cake should be light in color. So, if you notice the cake is going brown on the surface, lower the oven temperature.

Step 7: After Baking

Once your cake is baked, let it cool completely before topping. Keep it in the oven, with the door closed to avoid cracking or take the cake out of the oven and cover it with aluminum foil.

I love that the meringue for Pavlova can be made a day or two in advance. You just add the cream and fruit when you’re ready to serve.

In case of leftovers, store in a container after breaking up any larger chunks of meringue. Keep in the fridge until the following day.

What’s your favorite pavlova cake recipe?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Making Perfect Oatmeal Pancakes

The Ultimate Guide to Making Perfect Oatmeal Pancakes

The first association for oatmeal, at least for me, is ‘healthy’. I have read so many articles and recipes on pancakes that use oats instead of regular flour that I simply had to make one. I had no idea oatmeal pancakes tasted so good!

To be fair, the ones I made were not plain regular oatmeal flapjacks. I spiced things up a little bit by toasting the oats and browning the butter (oh, yeah!). One might assume that oatmeal pancakes are not as soft and fluffy as the classic American pancakes we all adore. Well, one might be wrong! With a few tips and tricks up the sleeve, you can make the best oatmeal pancakes ever!

Oatmeal Pancakes Recipe

Wanna make light and fluffy pancakes with nutty flavor?  Try toasted oats,

tangy buttermilk, and browned butter all in one amazing recipe. Toasting the oats make the most of the oats’ flavor, whereas browning the butter will add even more nuttiness and depth to the recipe. The perfect combination of wet and dry ingredients results in the fluffiest and softest pancakes you’ve ever seen.

Let’s start with the ingredients and move step by step.

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • vegetable oil (or butter) for cooking
  • maple syrup, for topping

The Oats

The first question to answer is ‘How much oats are enough’? I replace part of the regular flour with oats ground in a blender or coffee machine. Use a scale to make sure you substitute the right amount of all-purpose flour with oats. If you don’t own one, consider buying it because that is one of the most useful kitchen gadgets you’ll ever have.

Next question is ‘What type of oats are the best?’ There are three main varieties sold in grocery stores:

–    Rolled oats that have been processed through steel rollers in order to flatten them and turn them into flakes;

–    Steel cut oats that have been cut without flattening and take the longest to cook;

–    Instant oats that have been partially cooked and then dehydrated again.

I vote for the steel cut oats because, even though they take more time to cook than the other two types, taste the best. However, all oat types have a mild taste. If you really want to feel their taste in the pancakes, adding more oats to the batter is not the solution. On the contrary, it will result in denser and chewier flapjacks. In addition, unlike regular flour, oats have no ability to form gluten; hence too much oats can ruin your pancake’s structure, i.e. you’ll end up with flapjacks that fall apart.

So, how do you enhance the oats’ flavor? By toasting them before grinding! Just place the oats in a skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning. This should take about five minutes until the oats become flavorful and nutty.

Due to the fact that oats have no gluten, you might want to increase the amount of baking powder in the pancake recipe. This will ensure the pancakes have structure but will also help them rise and become fluffy. To be more precise, add half a teaspoon of baking soda and two teaspoons of baking powder.

Other Ingredients

To balance the sweet and savory flavor, add ½ teaspoon of table salt (or a teaspoon of kosher salt) in addition to the 3 tablespoons of sugar.

As for the wet ingredients, combine two large eggs with two cups of buttermilk. This will yield a rather thick batter which results in extra-light flapjacks. If you don’t have buttermilk, make it at home by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice into a cup of regular milk. Leave it for five minutes and voila! your homemade buttermilk is ready!

There are a few more secrets to make your pancakes super-fluffy. Besides using buttermilk, whose acidity is the first step towards fluffiness, you should take care not to overmix the batter.

Overmixing will encourage the development of gluten which can make the griddlecakes dense and tough. Mix until the ingredients are just combined. A few lumps here and there are not only acceptable but highly desirable!

 

Cooking Oatmeal Pancakes – Pro Tips

To cook your oatmeal pancakes, choose a steel griddle or a heavy pan.

To make your flapjacks are evenly golden brown, without any spots and splotches, make sure you use the right amount of oil or butter to grease the pan.

If you use very small amount of oil, the batter will stick to the pan’s bottom and possibly burn before you have a chance to release it. On the other hand, if you add too much oil or butter, the pancake batter will not stick at all causing bubbles to for at the bottom of the flapjacks. These bubbles will lift parts of the pancake and result in those unwanted spots.

The best way to grease the pan is by using a paper towel dipped in oil. Or, pour the oil and then wipe the excess before you start adding the batter.

Heart-Healthy Pancake Recipes

Heart-Healthy Pancake Recipes

Can pancakes be good for your heart? They can if you think outside the box. Stop regarding pancakes as sugar-loaded sweet treats. The era of ignorance is behind us – today we know how to adjust each and every meal we consume so that it fits our needs.

When it comes to pancakes, in order to make them better for you, start by replacing sugar with a natural sweetener like stevia or pure honey. Also, get rid of the white refined flour and switch to whole wheat. And finally, stop using refined vegetable oils and opt for healthier, cold-pressed varieties like coconut and olive oil.

Pack Your Pancakes with Potassium

The heart-healthy ingredient to include in your quick and easy pancake recipes is potassium.

Besides being very important for normal functioning of the heart by lowering high blood pressure, this essential mineral helps maintain electrolyte and fluid balance in the body. Moreover, it keeps kidneys, brain, and muscles in good shape!

One potassium-rich ingredient found in almost all pancake recipes is yogurt. Plain yogurt is often added to the batter to make the flapjacks softer, moister, and fluffier (3/4 cup). Besides potassium, it also contributes extra calcium and vitamin D.

Sweet Heart-Healthy Pancake Recipes

Avocado

Avocado is considered a superfruit for a reason. On top of all the nutrients, it also contains high levels of potassium. In fact, there is no food richer in potassium than avocado! Adding a mashed avocado into the batter will not only make the flapjacks healthier but will also contribute silky and creamy texture!

Banana

You will find banana is almost all healthy pancake recipes. Due to its dense texture, mashed banana is often used as a flour substitute in the batter (often combined with oatmeal or egg whites to boost the protein content). This yellow fruit also acts as a natural sweetener.

Apricot

You can use fresh or dried apricots in the batter (1/3 cup should suffice). They work very well when paired with nuts (especially almonds) and spices like cinnamon or cardamom.

Apricots, similar to peaches, also pair great with booze, bourbon and rum in particular. You can make this pairing by adding a ¼ cup of alcohol into the batter or soaking the fruits in it beforehand (for about half an hour). Most of the alcohol will evaporate during cooking so don’t worry, your kids can safely devour these flapjacks.

Savory Heart-Healthy Pancake Recipes

Spinach

We all know how healthy spinach is. And what better way to sneak spinach into your kids than flapjacks? Make a stack of savory flapjacks for a change by mixing this leafy green with potatoes and onion, then top with crispy bacon slices.

Sweet Potato

Add some color to your flapjacks! Mashed sweet potatoes can serve as a base for both sweet and savory pancakes – add some spices and sweetener to satisfy your sweet tooth or mix them with onions and serve with sour cream on top for a light lunch.

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