Food & Drink Meatless in Steer City

Hotcakes sans huevos

I’m not a vegan, but I discovered this excellent vegan pancake recipe out of sheer laziness. Craving pancakes on a Sunday morning, but having no eggs in the fridge and no desire to change out of my pajamas for a trip to the grocery, I got out my trusty dairy-friendly cookbook and got started, doubtful but enthusiastic. Using the dairy recipe as a guide, I substituted soy milk for whole and oil for butter. To replace some of the lost moisture the eggs would provide, I upped the oil, soy milk, and baking powder in the recipe.

Expecting a far less superior version of my favorite breakfast, I was shocked by the fluffy concoction that arose on the skillet. Similar to its eggy cousin, my vegan pancakes were light and rich, almost making me forgo the essential pancake companions of butter and syrup. Almost. Now, I’ve gone vegan for my breakfast cakes. Who needs eggs when some soymilk and baking powder can yield flapjacks as good as these?

I love how these filling hotcakes stick to my ribs and provide a hearty base for whatever I add to them: Fresh, frozen, or dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips are staple crowd pleasers `Note: Add the ingredients to the johnnycakes after ladling them onto the grill, otherwise you’ll find a cake with one blueberry and another with 30`. I like to reduce the recipe to 1 cup flour and a 1/2 cup rolled oats and toss in some cinnamon and raisins for an oatmeal-cookie taste. And when I add dried coconut to the mix, I don’t even bother with maple syrup.

Health-food junkies may want to substitute their favorite vegan-friendly sweetener, such as whole organic sugar, maple syrup, or stevia for the refined sugar, and nix the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour.

Mel’s Vegan Pancakes
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes. Serves 4

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 T sugar
1 T baking powder
3 T vegetable oil
1 t salt
1 3/4 c soymilk or water
Optional: dash of cinnamon
and 1/2 t vanilla

Whisk lightly all ingredients in a large bowl. Only whisk the batter enough to moisten. Do not be tempted to stir until lumps are gone! Over-stirring will make the pancakes tough and cakey. Let the batter rise 5-10 minutes, gently fold over, and let it rise for another 5-10 minutes if everyone isn’t hounding you to get them on the griddle. Fold the batter over one more time before ladling about 1/3 cup onto an oiled skillet. Cook medium to medium-high until golden on both sides. I like to flatten the pancakes with a spatula after flipping them. This prevents them from rising too high and resembling biscuits. Serve immediately.

When making flapjacks for a crowd, don’t hoard them away in the kitchen so they become soggy and listless. Serve them hot and fresh as they come off the griddle. If you must delay serving the pancakes, keep them hot in a preheated 200-degree oven, slightly overlapping and covered loosely with aluminum foil. For us non-vegan hedonists, brushing both sides with a dash of melted butter before placing in the oven will keep these griddlecakes moist and delicious.

By M.L. Sharpe

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