Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gluten-Free Birthday Pancakes

Pancakes for Everyone

Pancakes are easy. Right?

Well, I certainly thought so.

I've made them dozens and dozens and dozens of times before.

With gluten. Without gluten. No matter. Making pancakes is making pancakes.

That is, until you delete some sleep, stir with some distractions, and add some pressure.

The Boy wanted a sleepover birthday party with pancakes in the morning.

Sounded simple.

And it should have been. But it didn't quite happen that way.

He wasn't asking for much. He wanted only a few specific things for his party.

A sleepover.

A favorite pasta dinner.

Watch a movie downstairs before "bedtime".

Go fishing early in the morning at the lake.

Eat homemake pancakes before everyone leaves later in the morning.

That's it. That's pretty much the sum total of what he requested.

Sounded reasonable. Sounded doable. Sounded too good to be true.

Did I mention that five ten-year-old boys were in my house for more than eighteen hours?

It was too good to be true.

It would have been great if six of those hours actually included some sleep. But sleep was not part of the equation for this sleepover.

Go figure.

It was an early morning start, with my husband taking the boys down to the lake for fishing. Early, as in, before breakfast.

Our daughter was at a friend's house for her own sleepover, specifically to avoid being here with all those boys.

Smart girl!

But I had to pick her up before the boys got back from the lake and started demanding pancakes. So, I laid everything out for making the pancakes. I prepared the pancake batter, except for adding the wet ingredients. I got the pan and oil ready. I laid out plates and set the table. Everything was in place before going to get her.

After getting back to the house, I made sure everything was ready to go. Butter? Check. Syrup? Check. Powdered sugar? Check. Then I had another mug of badly-needed coffee.

And then the boys announced themselves as back from the lake.

They were all worked up. Immediately, they dove into the Xbox. Talking and yelling encouragements. Horsing around. Bouncing around the house.

I threw the last few ingredients together and heated the pan. 

I started to make pancakes. But immediately there was a problem. These weren't coming out as pancakes. They were sticking. As in, I-can't-get-them-out-of-the-pan-at-all sticking.

No matter how much oil I added. No matter how hot I made the pan. No matter how cool I made the pan.

I could not get a single pancake out of the pan without it ripping to shreds and ending up as a mound of mush. Cooked mush. Cooked mounds of mush.

And the boys were getting more worked up.

They may have been hungry.

And I was desperately trying to get some pancakes made. Any shape, any way, anything that would resemble a pancake.

It wasn't happening. Nothing I tried worked. Not even another pan. Not even another cook!

My husband could not get them to come out of either pan.

And the boys were bouncing off the walls.

They might have been just a wee bit hungry.

We had nothing resembling pancakes. I was starting to consider putting out boxes of cereal.

But pancakes were one of the few things The Boy wanted for his party. I had to figure out how to make this work for him.

Out of shear frustration, I decided to make a whole new batch of pancake batter. And fast. It was time for drastic action.

And the boys were bouncing off each other!

They must have been majorly ravenous.

I started putting that new batch of batter into the pan. And I waited. And I watched. And I bounced on my toes.

Time to flip.

Edge the spatula under the just-dry lip of that pancake. Slide the spatula under. Maybe... just maybe. Go under the pancake, please. 



Yes! Success! Quickly, I filled the pan and started making pancakes as fast I could flip them out. Both pans. My husband manning one pan, me the other.

And we started feeding those bouncing monsters boys!

Finally. The pancakes were pancakes.

I could breathe.

Pancakes were finally flying onto those plates. Not as fast as the demands, but they were flying. And the boys were eating.

And the monsters boys were calming down. Well... calming as much as ten-year-old boys calm.

But what in the world went wrong with that first batch of batter?

And then it occurred to me. When I made the second batch, I remembered adding eggs.

Eggs! I forgot the eggs in the first batch! That's it!

I bet that if I added eggs to what we still had of the first batch, it would work. That had to be it.

After adding the eggs, I tested the first batch of batter again.

And success! It worked just like pancakes are always supposed to work. Yes!

And I kept making pancakes. Second batch of batter was made and eaten and gone. All of the first, fixed batch of batter was made and served.

And they were good.


Who knew eggs were so critical to pancakes? I knew them to be a part of the recipe, but critical? 

Yes, critical.

Now I know. 

And now, you know.

I wonder if sleep is a necessary ingredient in pancakes....

Gluten-Free Pancakes

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup potato flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 Tbsp flax seed meal
1 Tbsp hot water
2 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
2 cups milk
4 Tbsp safflower or sunflower oil
6 hours of sleep, minimum

In a small bowl, mix the flax seed meal and the hot water. Stir. Let stand while mixing other ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together all flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, and cooking oil. Add liquids to flour mixture all at once. Add flax and water mixture. Stir until just combined.

Heat skillet. Add just enough additional oil to lightly coat pan. Pour or spoon several tablespoons of batter into pan for each "dollar-sized" pancake. I like mine a bit smaller than the size of a tea saucer. Make yours the size you like best.

Cook until pancakes are barely dry at the edges and the bubbles no longer close on themselves. Turn. Continue to cook until golden brown on both sides.

Makes half as much as needed to serve six bouncing, ravenous monsters boys and the rest of the hosting family.

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