No Eggs, No Milk, No Love?
YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME. Oh, vegan baked goods. Where do I even begin?
Before I start, let me show you where I finished up this morning. Here is what I ate for breakfast. It was fantastic.
But … I’m going to level with you. There are some truly horrible vegan creations out there. And I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve made some of them.
When I’m about to try an untested vegan version of something that would ordinarily be made with milk and eggs, it feels like a game of Russian Roulette. Or craps. Or some other hard game with terrible odds.
But unlike the gambler’s fallacy, the more you take a chance on vegan baking – or pancake making – the better things get. I promise!
Why Start From Scratch?
One day, I just really wanted pancakes. I’d never tried making vegan pancakes before. So I decided to play it safe. I’m not a chef. I don’t create recipes. I follow them.
First, I used a buckwheat pancake mix and subbed soy milk for dairy. I used egg substitute. And threw everything in the compost. That mix was so bad, I’m confident that the omnivore version would have been disgusting, too.
Undeterred (but hungry!), I turned to a beautiful vegan cookbook with the most sensational looking recipe. I gave it a whirl.
I mixed the batter. It seemed to have an awful lot of liquid …
I poured it in the pan. It spread out very thinly. Maybe it would be more like a crepe? I was hopeful.
I stood there. It wasn’t cooking. I turned up the heat. Still not cooking.
I added more flour and tried again. It came out really gluey. I added some blueberries.
I was ravenous at this point. I ate it, but I did not enjoy it. It wasn’t a pancake so much as a floury, rubbery sweet mixture firmed up in a pan. Oh, and by the way, it took FOREVER to cook.
Putting “The Joy” Back in Cooking
You know, back before I made my kitchen mostly vegan, I was a killer pancake maker. This sub-par pancake situation, I took it *personally.* I am an excellent pancake maker. So why was I making such god-awful pancakes?!
I went back to my roots. The Joy of Cooking “Basic Pancakes” recipe never fails. Of course it’s not vegan, but I figured that it was as good a starting point as any. And guess what? It took very little tinkering with that masterful recipe to make it vegan and make it delicious.
There’s no sugar or soy in this recipe, and I use a mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour. Increasing the baking powder raises the sodium content – so if you are watching your salt, you might consider using less baking powder (3/4 tsp would be the amount used in the original non-vegan recipe) and using soy milk instead of almond milk. Soy makes things rise.
The Dragon Fruit Vegan PancakesAdapted from The Joy of Cooking Yields about 4 medium sized pancakes, serves 2 Dry Ingredients 3/4 c flour (1/2 c whole wheat flour plus 1/4 c all purpose flour) 1 1/4 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt Wet Ingredients 2/3 c almond milk 2 Tb agave nectar 1.5 Tb oil (I like to use walnut oil. I’ve also used peanut oil. If you use coconut oil, warm the almond milk and the oil to enable mixing. You can use less oil and still get a nice result.) 1/2 tsp vanilla extract Optional Extras for the Pancake Batter – Add Some, All, or Your Own Lemon zest, to taste Juice of 1/6 lemon Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (1/8 – 1/4 tsp) 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/4 c dried blueberries (I like Trader Joe’s Dried Wild Blueberries – no sulfur) Topping Dark agave nectar Dash cinnamon
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, mix well. Combine wet ingredients in bowl, mix well. Add any extras to the dry or wet ingredients and mix. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix.
Heat pan over medium – medium-high heat. Spray a light to medium coating of oil over the bottom of pan. When a drop of water sizzles on the pan, it is ready. Pour batter and heat pancake(s) through until bubbles form and the edges turn firm. Flip and cook other side. You can test with a knife inserted in the center for doneness – there should be no raw batter that oozes out of the cut.
Remove from heat, top with some agave nectar, a dash of cinnamon, extra lemon zest, fruit, or whatever else is delicious and available.