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50% Whole Wheat Fruit Pancakes

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With the assortment of cool weather, dreary days we’ve been having for every 1 day of sunshine, nothing starts a weekend morning like a big plate of pancakes.  It’s also an opportunity for Hubby to use the electric griddle I bought him in college that he never used until we got married.

I’ve learned quite a bit about them over the past few years.  Don’t overfold frozen blueberries because they WILL turn your batter green.  If egg whites aren’t whipped properly they WILL result in a flat, dense cake.  Coarse cornmeal WILL NOT break down in your pancake and will make it feel like pebbles in your mouth.  Hot butter WILL lump up if added to cold liquids with no return.

I’m going to get personal here.  My retirement ambition is to run my own bed and breakfast.  This requires the ability to make some fan-freakin-tastic pancakes; tender enough to make you want to stay forever but also hearty enough to give you energy to go out and enjoy your surroundings while I clean your room.  Could the title of this recipe be any less tasty?  I’ll work on it for the day I open my B&B.

Hubby usually likes my pancakes, but never enough to try to eat half a dozen while I wasn’t looking.  I had to wrestle the plate away from him.

Tip #1: Egg whites whip well on a dry day, at room temperature.  Your egg whites are successfully stiff if you can hold the bowl upside down and they cling to the bottom.  This is very scary (especially over someone’s head – or maybe it’s just really funny), but a sure sign.

Tip #2: Any whole wheat is better than 100% all purpose flour. Pancakes are a great canvas to sneak in some healthful items, like whole wheat flour and flax seed.  I only use half whole wheat flour because the more you use, the denser the product gets.  It does bring that hearty texture I love so much.  Don’t forget to refrigerate your whole wheat flour to keep it from going rancid.

Tip #3: Keep that butter from lumping up. Whisk melted butter slightly to begin cooling, and then while still whisking, add in just a little of the cold liquids.  This will help “temper” it and smooth out the mixture.

Tip #4: Who says you can’t stay local in the winter? I hoard 80% of the fruit I pick during the year in the freezer so we can use them for smoothies, desserts, pancakes, etc.  Please ignore the fact that there is a bowl of fresh cut strawberries on the side.  I hang my head in shame because there is no comparison.

50% Whole Wheat Fruit Pancakes
Technique adapted from The Joy of Cooking

This is a thick batter due to the yogurt in lieu of buttermilk.  Add up to 1/4 cup extra milk if needed.  Lactose-free alternatives are listed – I use almond milk but keep the butter.

Makes about 16 3-4 inch pancakes

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal, fine or medium ground
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups plain fat-free yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat milk OR almond milk OR soy milk
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly OR olive oil
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 large egg whites, room temperature

1 cup fresh or frozen diced strawberries
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Whisk together the first group of ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk the second group of ingredients in another bowl or large measuring cup.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined.

Beat the egg whites in another bowl until peaks are stiff but not dry (see Tip #1).  Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten, then fold in the rest of the egg whites just until combined.  Fold in fruit.  Fold in up to 1/2 cup additional milk if batter is too thick to spread.

Spoon 1/3 cup of batter onto the griddle and spread out slightly with two spoons (about 1/3 inch thick).  Cook until top of pancake is covered with bubbles and some have popped.  Flip over and cook until underside is lightly browned.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven.  Serve with maple syrup on top (how Hubby likes them) or on the side (how I like them) of the plate.

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