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Friday, 2 August 2013

Better For You Baking - Healthier American Pancakes

I mentioned last week that I have been working on a new monthly segment or series for The Extraordinary Art of Cake. I have been thinking about and working on this new little monthly series of posts for a while now and this is my very first offering. This new segment is entitled 'Better for You Baking' and will feature revamped, healthier versions of your favourite bakes.

Since in the entire time I have been writing this blog, I have never once posted anything even remotely healthy, I feel I should explain.

When I was little my Mum was firstly a vegetarian and later a vegan, this meant that my brother, my sisters and I were also vegetarian or vegan for a large part of our childhood.  I will be honest, I absolutely hated every single soya meat, vegan cheese filled moment of it and as you can probably tell, as I grew up I ran at full speed in the opposite direction.  Milk, butter and eggs are as far as I am concerned, heaven sent. What is a life without cake after all?


Lately however I have noticed something strange happening, our cupboards are suddenly stocked up with whole grains, the fridge is full of organic fruit and veg and all of a sudden I like nothing more than munching on some pumpkin seeds and dried fruit. What is going on?

My only explanation is that as I get older, I'm reverting back to type, all of a sudden I'm craving the seriously healthy food I grew up on. Don't get me wrong there isn't a chance on earth of me becoming a vegetarian or vegan, that is definitely not for me but I do think I might be working towards a happy ground between the regimented, health obsessed vegan diet of my childhood and the sugar packed, cake filled nirvana that I have since created for myself.

With that in mind, I thought that this recipe would be the perfect recipe to introduce my new Better For You Baking segment because lets face it, I need pancakes in my life but there is no reason they can't be better for you pancakes.


My Better For You Baking series isn't about fat free, skinny recipes, I don't do fat free.  Better for you baking is about delicious, much healthier, more natural versions of your favourite treats.

This healthier recipe took a while to create, I made batches of healthier pancakes almost every day for a week before I hit the jackpot, I tried all sorts of combinations of ingredients, some were pretty good, some were really awful but this recipe was absolutely perfect.

These pancakes are officially scrumptious. They are not at all heavy, dry or grainy, they are light, fluffy, sweet, heavenly little clouds of deliciousness. 

I have replaced the usual white flour with whole grain spelt flour and oats, the caster sugar with coconut sugar and the butter with raw virgin coconut oil.  I have also used only egg whites, omitting the yolks and replaced the milk with unsweetened almond milk.

Coconut sugar is a natural sugar made from coconut palm tree sap. The sugar is made by heating the sap until most of the water has evaporated.  In texture and appearance coconut sugar is a bit like a drier brown sugar.

Coconut sugar is far from perfect, it is sugar after all and I wouldn't go as far as saying that it is good for you but it is the most nutritious of the possible sugars, it’s is the most sustainable sweetener in the world and it has an extremely low glycemic index (35).

I love the taste and I love that it is all natural and relatively unprocessed, unlike many sweeteners, to me natural is always best.

Please feel free to replace the coconut sugar with a sweetener of your choice.

Raw virgin coconut oil is another new favourite baking ingredient of mine, it is so unbelievably delicious and it is said to have loads of health benefits including, promoting a healthy heart, boosting the body's immune system, helping to prevent and fight diseases like diabetes and alzheimers and it is even said to increase metabolism and energy and help with weight loss. Coconut oil contains high quantities of antibacterial, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and nutrients such as vitamin K and E and iron. In short is shockingly good for you for something so delicious.

 If you are based in the UK like me, you can buy both raw virgin coconut oil and coconut sugar from Holland & Barrett and you can even find raw virgin coconut oil in some branches of Tescos.



Healthier American Pancakes

Serves 2-4

For the Pancakes:

100g spelt flour
50g oats, ground in a food processor
2 tsp baking powder
20g coconut sugar
40ml raw virgin coconut oil
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
200ml unsweetened almond milk
3/4 tsp vanilla paste

To Serve:

2 tsp organic honey per serving
1 tbsp organic natural yogurt per serving
Small handful fresh raspberries per serving

Combine the spelt flour, ground oats, baking powder and coconut sugar in a large mixing bowl or jug and whisk to combine.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the coconut oil, egg whites, almond milk and vanilla paste.  Whisk to combine.

Leave the batter to stand for a couple of minutes while you prepare the plates, honey, yogurt and raspberries for serving.

Place a large non-stick frying pan on the hob over a medium heat, grease lightly with coconut oil.  Spoon a ladle-full of batter into the frying pan, wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to around 1cm thick.

Repeat until all the batter is used up.

To serve, stack the pancakes, drizzle with honey and top with fresh raspberries and a dollop of natural yogurt.



I would love to know your thoughts on healthier baking, do you have any great healthier recipes or ingredient substitution suggestions? 

I already have a delicious Better For You Cookie lined up and some scrumptious Better for You Muffins. I am absolutely loving experimenting with new ingredients and recipes, I'm full of ideas and have a whole list of bakes to tackle. Please don't worry if you're not a healthier baking fan though because the sugar packed, cake filled nirvana that is this blog isn't going anywhere, I will just be throwing in the odd healthier bake too.

Happy healthier pancaking!

1 comment:

Pancake recipe said...

The above given recipe is really very nice. It is easy and tastes good. Thanks for such a great recipe.