Oat and Maple Pancakes

If you’re on vacation right now you don’t have to wait for the weekend to enjoy a hearty pancake breakfast.  These delicious oat and maple pancakes are made with oat groats, the whole grain version of oatmeal.  Oatmeal and maple are great flavor pals, and along with buttermilk and maple sugar, they combine for a delightful breakfast treat.  For those of you not on vacation, the pancake batter can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days.  Warm maple syrup is the logical garnish, but maple yogurt would be good as well.  Mix up a batch; your family and friends will thank you!

Oat and Maple Pancakes
(serves 4)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, liquid from cooking the groats, or a mixture
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, or 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 to 3 tablespoons maple sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup oat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked oat groats*
Oil or melted butter for the pan
Maple syrup or maple yogurt, for serving
Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, butter or oil, maple sugar (to your taste), and vanilla.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients and quickly combine them with a fork or rubber scraper.  Stir in the groats.  If the batter seems too thick, add a little more buttermilk.  (If not using immediately, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days).  Warm a wide non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Brush a little oil over the surface.  Add the batter in 1/3 cup measures (or larger if you like).  Cook without disturbing until the surface is covered with holes, then turn the pancakes.  Don’t pat them down, and don’t turn them a second time.  Cook until the underside is browned and they’re cooked within.  Serve with butter, warm maple syrup, or maple yogurt.
* For the oat groats:  Rinse a generous 1/2 cup oat groats and place in a heavy medium saucepan with 2 1/4 cups water and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the grains are tender, but with a bit of chewiness.  Drain the groats and reserve any cooking liquid (you can use it to make the pancake batter).  Let them cool before adding them to the batter.  This should yield a little more than a cup of cooked oat groats.
(minimally adapted from “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison)  

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