The easiest (vegan) pancakes
This post was created in partnership with Mountain Valley.
It's 5AM and we stayed up watching Stranger Things until just past midnight last night so, needless to say, today is probably going to be a two-mugs-of-coffee kinda day (or maybe a go-back-to-bed-after-I-post-this kinda day*). Although, initially, I wasn't too psyched about adding another TV show to my nightly roster so soon after finishing up all six seasons of Game of Thrones (!), I've got to admit: there's something kind of nice about crawling into bed at 9PM - with the laptop and my man - and watching a new show together. Since we spent a decent portion of the past two months watching (me) and re-watching (him) GoT before hitting the pillows, I've gotten used to a nightly ritual that contains some shared screen time. And despite the fact that I typically prefer to spend my final waking hour catching up on the latest on Grist (sidenote: this plus all the sad faces) or reading how-to articles for things like getting scratches out of stainless steel and mastering the art of caulking (homeownership 101, yo), I've been really enjoying our late-night television dates.
But let's talk about rituals for a minute because, as things get crazier around here, I've found that sticking to an established routine makes things seem just a little less overwhelming than what they really are. While I don't have a solid nightly ritual just yet, I'm pretty adamant about sticking to my morning ritual - one that kicks things off with a big mug of coffee and an even bigger glass of water, and is reinforced with a hearty and wholesome breakfast. I'm a creature of habit so it should come as no surprise that I scarf a nutrient-dense waffle more often than not. Except lately. Because lately the main event of my morning ritual has been heavily dependent on pancakes. Ones that are piled high and doused in syrup - which is totally unlike me because hearty and wholesome, remember?
I was always a pancake person growing up but, as an adult, the convenience of waffles lured me to the other side. Waffles are easy, require less active-time, and are generally more forgiving than their flat-sided counterparts. Pancakes, though - pancakes require technique and a watchful eye. And there's a part of me that's come to love that about them even though pancake-making is far more time consuming than waffle-making. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think I've always been a pancake person at heart but, for a brief moment of time (ahem, damn-near a decade), my laziness got the best of me.
So I'm curious: are you a pancake person or a waffle person? I've found that people have seriously strong feelings about pancakes and waffles, and rarely do they ever have equal feelings toward both so I would love to hear your thoughts. Regardless of which side you're on, here's my plea: if you're a waffle person, you need to make these pancakes. And if you're a pancake person, you obviously need to make these pancakes. Because the addition of starch gives these things just enough structure to ensure they don't crumble within a few minutes of being drenched in syrup. And swapping part of the liquid with sparkling spring water** adds just the right amount of lift to create vegan pancakes that rival the box-mix (SUP BISQUICK) pancakes from my childhood.
Oh, and while you're here, I'd also love to know all about your morning/nightly/middle-of-the-day rituals because 1) I'm nosey and 2) I'd really love to know more about you guys because I've felt weirdly distant from this space lately. But more on that later because it's 8AM, which means it's time for pancakes.
*I actually fell back asleep before I got around to hitting publish (HAAAAAA). **If you live in Denver, you can now have Mountain Valley water delivered straight to your door (!!!) which is pretty much the best thing ever because one look in our pantry and you can tell that I'm a big fan of buying things in bulk - and lemme tell ya, buying in bulk is way more fun when you don't have to go to the grocery store and put all the stuff in your cart then head home and schlep it up two flights of stairs. ;) For a limited time, the local supplier is offering a BUY 2 GET 2 deal which means you can have two cases to drink and two cases to use to make pancakes! If you don't live in Denver, you can head here to see if your local supplier is offering a similar deal.
Notes: From time to time I'll replace 1/4 cup of the all-purpose unbleached flour with whole wheat and it makes for a very similar end result (I've not tried replacing the entirety of the flour with a more wholesome variety so proceed at your own risk and know that the texture WILL be compromised). While the starch isn't 100% necessary (I've successfully made these pancakes without it), it does help to act as a binder so I'd definitely use it if you have some starch (potato or corn) on hand. Feel free to use coconut sugar, maple sugar, or whatever sugar your little heart desires. But, at the end of the day, processed sugar is still processed sugar, babes. For thinner pancakes, add an additional two tablespoons of almondmilk. For gluten-free pancakes, replace the flour and starch with 150g of your favorite gluten-free flour blend. For more ways to cook (and bake) with bubbly water, head here.
This post was sponsored by Mountain Valley, supplier of my favorite bottled water that comes straight from a spring that's tucked deep into the Ouachita (WASH-ah-taw) Mountains. All opinions are my own (and I think Mountain Valley rules).
THE EASIEST PANCAKES
1 cup (140g) all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch, optional (see notes above)
1 tablespoon (12g) cane sugar
1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
1/2 cup (102g) Mountain Valley sparkling spring water
1/2 cup (112g) unsweetened almondmilk
1 tablespoon (12g) suncoco oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)
YOU'LL ALSO NEED
Coconut whipped cream
Fresh peaches, blackberries, etc.
Pecans (or your favorite nut)
Pure maple syrup
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch (if using), sugar, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the sparkling spring water, almondmilk, and oil; whisk just until combined.
Heat a stovetop griddle or large frying pan over medium-low heat and lightly grease with oil. After a few minutes, check to make sure the pan is hot by flicking a few drops of water on it; if it sizzles, you’re good to go (if not, wait a few minutes longer). Stir the batter with a spatula to deflate it, then pour it on the pan in 1/4 cup measurements (using a stainless steel scoop makes this super easy). Cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.
Stack pancakes on a plate and top with a dollop of coconut whipped cream followed by fresh fruit, granola, pecans, flaked coconut, etc. When you're finished piling those toppings high, douse that stack in syrup because I'm a firm believer that it's the only way to eat 'em.
Yield: 8 4″ pancakes (enough for two)