Let me start by saying that I love gluten. I don’t apologize for that. In fact, as I was tucking two 5-pound bags of “Better for Bread” flour into my cart today, I thought how I wished that they would just call it what it is: flour with extra gluten. After all, no one who buys bread flour can be gluten-phobic…right? But I’m sure that the flour marketing bigwigs have done focus groups and discovered that the very presence of the word “gluten” on the package will instantly reduce sales by 17.3% or something. That’s the same reason my favorite brand of frozen berries now boasts that it is “gluten free,” a fact which makes me roll my eyes almost painfully every time I see the bag.
That said, this recipe happens to be almost gluten-free, and it could be completely gluten-free, if–for reasons either genuine or imaginary–you choose to avoid wheat proteins. These pancakes are the real deal, too. My kids and my husband are pancake snobs, thanks to my fussiness and to the fact that I always–even in weeks when I manage not to do a comprehensive grocery trip–have buttermilk on hand. Even when we’re out of milk, for Pete’s sake, I usually have buttermilk. It belongs in several of our favorite things–biscuits and cornbread and all fifteen of my favorite varieties of pancakes (also known as “manyakes,” thanks to my littlest guy).
OK, there aren’t really fifteen of them, but there are a few. I like standard buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk blueberry pancakes, buttermilk buckwheat pancakes, and overnight yeast buckwheat pancakes. These quick oatmeal ones have become our favorites, though, and the recipe is all my own. I don’t know why it hasn’t yet won any huge recipe prizes, but I’m not giving up on it. I’m going to keep submitting it every chance I get because it is so yummy. Seriously. You’ve gotta try these:
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
buttermilk (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup melted butter + more for frying, if you want
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or white flour or some flour-alternative if you want to go gluten-free)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dried fruit or nuts, if you want
1. To a big glass measuring cup or the glass pitcher of your blender, add 2 cups of oats. (You could probably use quick-cooking oats, but it might throw off the measurements a little bit.) Then fill with buttermilk to the 4-cup line. (This is usually about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of buttermilk.)
2. Then add the eggs and melted butter and sugar. Use an immersion blender (like I do) or the blender itself to whizz it all up.
3. Combine your dry ingredients in a medium bowl and mix them up well. Then add your pitcher full of oatmeal slushy and gently stir to combine it all into a pourable batter.
4. Heat your large skillet over medium and spray it with cooking spray and then add a little pat of butter (if you want your pancakes to taste fried). After a few minutes, fry a test cake to test the temperature. It should get bubbly and browned on the underside in about 1 minute. Finesse your temperature as necessary. Then fry up your cakes, a few at a time.
5. If you want to add any fruit or nuts (I usually add things to about half and leave half of them naked for the kids), sprinkle them into the pancake batter as soon as you pour it into the pan. It’s good with raisins, craisins, dried cherries, dried berries, all kinds of nuts and–here’s the surprising one–shredded coconut. Really. If you like coconut at all, you should try it. The coconut toasts on the underside when you flip them over. My knees go all wobbly when I think about it, actually.
6. My mom used to keep flipping pancakes while we all ate and then she’d eat at the end. I don’t do that. I keep mine warm in a 200-degree oven on a cooling rack and fry them all up, so that I can sit lazily and eat with the rest of my family.
If you serve these alongside some mostly thawed frozen berries (gluten-free ones, of course!), they’re maybe even better. The cold berries, the hot pancakes, the melting butter, the toasted coconut–and hardly any gluten. Hallelujah. These are a Saturday morning miracle just waiting to happen!