Give the gift of a great (and healthy) breakfast
As far as I'm concerned, the best holiday gift is one that's handmade and edible. And if you can make it in big batches on a budget — and have it be healthy — even better.
That's the thinking behind this delicious pancake and waffle mix. Face-to-face with a whiny child on a Sunday morning, too many otherwise accomplished and adventurous home cooks reach for a box of pre-fab pancake mix. That's a shame, not least because it's easy to make your own mix, using ingredients of your choice, and to do so in — you guessed it — a jiffy.
The food police love to vilify pancakes and waffles as nothing more than carbs and sugar, but these guilty pleasures can be nobler than that. At their base, pancakes and waffles depend on a few key ingredients: flour, salt, sugar and leavener. If you swap in whole-wheat flour for at least some of the white flour, add a little flaxseed, slash some of the sugar, and top off the finished product with fresh fruit, you're suddenly looking at a very respectable breakfast. Heck, you even could drizzle a little Grade B maple syrup (my favorite) on top, and it still would be a healthy choice.
Using whole-wheat flour in the mix should not be terribly objectionable. Though there are some folks who insist their bread be white because “brown bread tastes yucky,” no one feels that way about pancakes and waffles. And when you toss in some flaxseed, you really amp the recipe's nutritional value even as you add a subtle but distinctive nuttiness.
Flaxseed is showing up more and more frequently on supermarket shelves these days, and you can always find it online. I often add a tablespoon or two of it to my breakfast cereal in the morning. Just keep in mind that flaxseed isn't properly digested unless it is ground. You can buy it pre-ground or grind it yourself in a spice grinder. After you open the package, keep it in the refrigerator or freezer; it tends to go rancid quickly.
At holiday time, you can measure the batch into pretty containers — old canning jars are perfect for this purpose — attach a nice hand-written label and recipe with a ribbon, and consider it done. The deluxe version? Just add a little package of dried fruit or a tiny bottle of maple syrup.
Chef Sara Moulton writes this column for the Associated Press
Flaxseed Pancake and Waffle Mix
Start to finish: 10 minutes
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup flax meal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
Into a medium-size bowl, sift together all of the ingredients. Transfer the mix to a 1 quart glass bottle or canning jar and screw on the lid. Attach the recipe (below) with a ribbon.
Makes 4 cups of mix
Flaxseed Pancakes or Waffles
Wrapped tightly in plastic, these pancakes and waffles also freeze nicely, so consider making a double batch.
Start to finish: 10 to 15 minutes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 large egg
11⁄2 cups flaxseed pancake and waffle mix
Nonstick cooking spray
Freshly cut fruit or berries and pure maple syrup, to serve
If using butter, in a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it is light brown in color and has a nutty in aroma. If using oil, skip to the next step of the recipe.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk the milk and egg. Add the pancake mix, then mix with a spoon, stirring just until the ingredients are combined. Stir in the browned butter or oil.
To make pancakes: Heat a large nonstick skillet brushed with oil or coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and ladle either 1⁄4 cup or 1⁄8 cup portions of the batter into the pan (depending on whether you want large or small pancakes). Let the pancakes cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until small bubbles appear on the surface. Flip, then cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden on the second side.
Pancakes can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven while remaining batter is cooked.
To make waffles: heat the waffle iron according to product directions. Lightly coat the cooking surfaces with cooking spray.
Spoon out 3⁄4 cup batter (or the amount recommended by the manufacturer) onto the hot iron. Using a rubber spatula, smooth the batter to within 1⁄4 inch of the edge. Close the lid and cook until browned and crisp. Repeat with remaining batter, coating the cooking surface between waffles with additional cooking spray only if they begin to stick.
Waffles can be kept warm in a 200 degre oven while remaining batter is cooked.
Serve the pancakes or waffles with fruit and maple syrup.
Makes 6 large (31⁄2- to 4-inch) or 12 small (11⁄2- to 2-inch) pancakes, or 4 large waffles (depending on the manufacturer's instructions)
Nutrition information per large pancake: 200 calories (80 calories from fat), 9 grams fat (3.5 grams saturated), 45 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams dietary fiber, 310 milligrams sodium.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Foreign influx in Allegheny County at ‘tipping point’
- 1 intruder killed, other shot and wounded in Carrick home invasion
- Steelers hope new faces breathe life into team
- UPMC, Pittsburgh drop tax-status fight
- Autopsy scheduled on Pleasant Hills man, 95, who died following crash
- Steelers WR Wheaton wants to produce after injury-plagued rookie year
- GM Colbert expects Roethlisberger to end career with Steelers
- Range Resources increases profits to $171.4 million in Q2
- State lawmaker still pushing merger of Pennsylvania Game and Fish commissions
- Steelers hope group of low-budget cornerbacks can deliver
- Roethlisberger ‘prays’ he can stay with Steelers when deal expires