I had a real problem with what to feed my kids for breakfast when we left behind our milk, eggs, bacon, ham, butter, and sausage. That pretty much left us with dry toast and orange juice. Which, after eating for a mere two days in a row would have had my children in full revolt status, planning their coup against me. We did find a substitute for milk that two of the three of them liked. We tried the following veggie-based milks: hemp, flaxseed, almond, soy, coconut, sunflower, rice and oat. I put the milks in cups labeled with a code letter for each type of milk and let the kids sample them all and give me feedback, which I wrote down in the form of “really like,” “sort of like,” “not very good,” “hates,” and “please, dear God, don’t ever let me taste that again.” Through this voting system we found that two of our three kids absolutely adore oat milk and one of our three kids would rather drink water in his cereal than have any of the aforementioned milk substitutes. My husband likes the oat milk in his cereal and I can’t drink anything except coconut milk, which I LOVE. Coconut milk (at least the Silk brand) is the creamiest of all the milks I’ve tried. It’s also one of the whitest, which, in my opinion, helps make it more appealing. Plus I just love the taste of coconut, so it was an easy sell.
So we found ourselves back in business for cereal-eating. At least for four of our five family members. For a long time the milk-straggler was eating toast with healthy, corn syrup-free jam on top. This was our solution to butter being kiboshed. Sometimes he would use peanut butter on his toast or even peanut butter AND jelly. (Alert the press! This is the best invention ever!) But he was tiring of the toast circuit. So I decided to make pancakes. Except my old standby pancake recipe was egg-laden. And milk-laden. It even had melted butter in the batter. Time for my very first vegan recipe.
How I created the vegan cinnamon pancake recipe:
It worked to simply substitute oat milk for the dairy milk and omit the butter without substitution. I was able to get rid of the eggs when I added lemon juice to react with the baking soda for some fluff. I switched the white granulated sugar out for coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is made from the nectar of the flower being dried out and processed into granules. It tastes like brown sugar and it’s texture is like a cross between granulated and brown. It wants to be moist and clump up, but isn’t hard to break back into granules. It substitutes 1:1 with sugar in recipes. Then I switched the bleached white flour with a mixture of whole wheat, oat, and unbleached all purpose flour. (I couldn’t make them too full of wheat or my kids wouldn’t eat them. I know. I tried.) Then to mask the sight of the tiny dark wheat flour particles, I decided to add cinnamon to the mix. Best. Decision. EVER. These pancakes are amazing and have gotten TONS of compliments! The lemon juice even gives a little kick that’s hard to pinpoint. Simply scrumptious! Have these with genuine maple syrup if you can afford to splurge. If not, I found maple-flavored agave nectar at my local specialty store and that’s still a better option than the corn syrup-laden stuff at the grocery store. (you could probably even get your favorite agave nectar bottle and just add maple extract to it yourself) What I do for the kids is make my own syrup with granulated sugar, water, and Mapeline maple extract. I know the white granulated sugar isn’t the greatest thing, and it’s not technically vegan due to the way it’s processed, but I can’t afford the real stuff very often and in my opinion it’s still better than using corn syrup. And talk about C-H-E-A-P, cheap! Making homemade sugary syrup costs a fraction of what buying it costs.
Homemade Maple Syrup Substitute (recipe from the bottle of Mapeline): (click the recipe title for a printable version)
1 cup of tap water
2 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 t. Mapeline brand maple extract (I do not get paid or endorsed by any products! I just name the ones I like.)
Follow this carefully to avoid the syrup crystallizing later in the bottle.
Pour the water into a medium-sized pot and avoid getting water droplets on the sides of the pot. Add the sugar to the center of the water and allow to dissolve naturally. Do not stir. You will never stir this. I repeat; DROP THE SPOON. Turn the heat to high and leave on the burner until the liquid is not only clear and bubbly, but starts to darken slightly. Now that some of the water has evaporated and the liquid is starting to darken, put a lid on the pot and turn the heat off. Just let it sit there all afternoon until it’s cool. Get your bottle or jar ready to pour the syrup into using a funnel if needed. Stir (okay so you CAN use a spoon!) in the Mapeline at the last minute before bottling it. Lid that sucker right away. Even if condensation forms, leave the lid on. Crystals may form otherwise.
Vegan Cinnamon Pancakes (recipe by Sarah Lynn Wells): (click the recipe title for a printable version)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. oat flour
2 T. coconut sugar (or date sugar other other dry sweetener)
1/2 T. ground cinnamon
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt (use fine sea salt if desired)
2 c. oat milk (or veggie-based milk of your choice)
2 T. lemon juice
Premix the oat milk and lemon juice and set aside.
Heat a griddle or large stovetop pan to medium-high heat.
Combine all dry ingredients with a whisk in a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients mixture and pour in the oat milk mixture, combining with the whisk until few lumps remain. It will be slightly lumpy. Do not over mix or you will have flat and fluffless pancakes.
Spray your preheated pan lightly with cooking spray unless you have a super-duper slippery non-stick pan. Dollop about 1/8 cup of batter onto the pan for each pancake. Turn after bubbles have started to pop around the edges. Your first batch may be bland-colored if the pan wasn’t hot enough when you added the batter.
Cook on both sides until the pancakes bounce back when pressed lightly with your finger.
Serve warm with whatever toppings you desire; syrup, jam, or fruit. My kids even love them plain as a midday snack!
I make two or three batches of pancakes at a time. I let them sit out on wax paper until they are totally cool and then package them airtight in gallon-sized freezer bags. My kids just pull out three or four every morning and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Viola! Breakfast solution! And bonus, this batter recipe seems to work perfectly in our waffle maker as well. It’s a little dense for waffles but my kids love them anyway. To get some extra fluff I am planning to create a vegan yeast waffle recipe in the near future. Check back!
Tags: breakfast, cinnamon, coconut sugar, freeze, frozen, kids, oat flour, oat milk, pancakes, snack, syrup, wheat