Whole Wheat Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

When my sister and I were younger, my mom used to make us a pancake breakfast every Saturday. We’d wake up and watch cartoons, ready to have our delicious weekly special. And special it was! My mom has never been one to follow recipes and this was no different. She’d buy a giant box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix and and the accompanying bottle of syrup. Every Saturday, she’d empty a large mountain of dry mix into a bowl, add an egg, and eyeball the milk until she deemed fit. She’d preheat a giant skillet; one with little tiny squares on it, and would melt a glob of margarine. In the giant pan, she’d pour the prepped mix.  The result was a giant, fluffy pancake; complete with the tiny square imprint from the pan, that was perfect to hold a melting mound of margarine. My sister and I would split this massive pancake, and slather it with margarine and syrup while watching cartoons. I still don’t understand how my mom managed to even flip over such a huge pancake, but I guess that’s part of the motherly superpower allure.

As a kid, I used to think everything my mom made was delicious. Actually, that still rings true but as an “adult,” I realized that even though my mom had her own way of making things, it wasn’t always “right.” I am a stickler for following recipes, sometimes to the letter but my mom isn’t. The fact that she didn’t follow the directions on the box doesn’t bother me much because the pancakes came out consistently tasty anyway; it helps that it is box mix. The only issue I have now with our old pancake breakfasts was how she cooked it. Since the pan was so huge and my mom is short on patience; she’d throw all the batter in at once, creating a massive disc of dough. Because of its size, the middle would sometimes come out undercooked and the edges would get slightly burned. The texture of the pancake would go from fluffy to gritty, making us leave more than half of our pieces on the plate.

I watched her make it a few times and noticed she would lid it so it would cook completely. I didn’t understand the error of that method until I was older and actually knew what was happening under that lid. The pancake created steam, which dropped the water it created back into the pancake. A super moist pancake is not the end of the world but it did produce a different tasting pancake. It was still tasty, but it was just weird.

Now that my sister and I are older, and my mom is no longer home on Saturdays, I have taken our weekly special upon myself. I make pancakes almost every Sunday and they are very different to what my sister and I grew up with. I make mine from scratch, using this ultimately adaptable recipe. Apparently, I got snobby with age because I now frown upon anything pre-mixed; including cake and pancake mix. We may not buy the Aunt Jemima pancake mix anymore, but my family is still a fan of the syrup. We usually have a bottle laying around for this exact purpose.

Now, these pancakes are awesome. They may not be my mom’s but I think they’re equally, if not better tasting. I have made this recipe verbatim but here is the modified version I currently use. I’m even positive this recipe could be veganized (something I’m going to have to test). Eating these on the weekends, slathered with margarine and Aunt Jemima syrup, brings back that nostalgia from our Saturday specials. Even though my mom isn’t home on Sundays either, I always make these with her in mind and plan to make them for her the next time she has a free weekend.

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Whole Wheat Good Old Fashioned Pancakes slighltly adapted from Allrecipes.com

Makes 7-8 pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 3 3/4 tsps baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups of soy milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsps unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder,and salt.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, agave, and melted butter.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just incorporated.
  4. Heat up your lightly greased griddle or pan over medium-high heat. Scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
  5. The pancake is ready to flip when bubbles appear near the edges. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • All-purpose flour works well in this recipe. You could use a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat or just use all all-purpose 
  • If using all-purpose, 3 1/2 tsps baking powder is plenty. Whole wheat flour is slightly heavier than all-purpose, so the extra baking powder helps lift an otherwise flatter pancake 
  • If using all-purpose flour, sift the dry ingredients together
  • White or raw sugar also works in this recipe. If using raw sugar, I would add a little more that a tablespoon because it is slightly less sweet than regular white sugar. Add the sugar to the dry ingredients
  • I use all soy milk in my recipe but use any milk you’d like
  • If you like a flatter pancake, add 1/4 cup more of milk
  • Remember to plate it on a cartoon plate, for added nostalgia
  • If you beat me to the punch and veganize this recipe, please let me know what substitutions you made and how they came out!
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