I never had “cool” cereal growing up. My parents jumped on health-freak bandwagon in the early 90s and never looked back. They bought a juicer, and soon we were drinking lunch; they started boiling cabbage and making these weird soups; we never had real milk anymore, it was all rice and soy milk. Obviously, at that moment, I knew the potential for mornings filled with Captain Crunch and Corn Pops were long gone. It really put a cramp in my sleepover style since the morning after all of us girls were subjected to a few boring options: Kelloggs plain, boring as hell corn flakes, or my Dad’s buckwheat pancakes. Yeah, not bisquick with Aunt Jemima syrup, but buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup. Now, as an adult, I’d leap at the latter, but when you’re nine and donning Care Bear PJ’s with three of your best girlfriends, the former is where the fun is at. So when I picked up Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, I was a little hesitant. Is everything gonna taste mealy? Is it going to taste too grainy, and all “healthy-like”? Are the muffins going to weigh 10 lbs? I’d baked with whole wheat flour and oat flour before, but my experience was really limited, and associated those types of flours with being healthy, something that of course I’m concerned with, especially in the month of May when the possibility of being in a bathing suit is one wretched heat wave away.
In the beginning of the book, Boyce explains how baking with different flours actually enhances flavors, makes them more complex, and adds great texture. As I was flipping through the pages, these bright red pancakes flew off the page. My first thought? Healthy red velvet pancakes! Well, not exactly, but close (kinda). These pancakes call for three types of flours: quinoa, whole wheat, and all-purpose. Now, I generally never advocate running to the store for super specialized ingredients. But with this recipe, I totally do. And plus, it’s just one special ingredient: quinoa flour. It can be used over and over (see below, I included links to other recipes utilizing the flour). Aside from being strikingly beautiful, these pancakes were subtly sweet, had a great earthy, nutty flavor and texture, were surprisingly light and actually tasted healthy (whatever that means).
If you’re a parent, facing some serious bummed out kids from the lack of sugary cereals in the cupboards, these flashy, hot pink pancakes will be a winner. Or if you’re just some girl (like me), trying to be healthy and feel less guilty about a pancake addiction, these are for you too.
Quinoa and Beet Pancakes
Since I’m now sort of a psycho fan of this book, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more recipes from it shortly, but if you do buy quinoa flour, here are two more recipes using the ingredient: Heidi Swanson’s (101 Cookbooks) Quinoa Cloud Cookies, and Sarah Easterling (BlueRidge Baker) Quinoa Cookies (also from Good to the Grain).
Butter for the pan
3 medium-small red beets
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F. Place the beets in a glass or metal baking dish with about 1/2 cup water in the bottom. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until very tender, about 1 hour. Cool, peel, and purée the beets in a food processor or blender until smooth. You will need 1/2 cup of beet purée (any remaining purée can be frozen for another time).
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, melted butter, egg, and 1/2 cup of beet purée until smooth. Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. Using the spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. The batter should be the consistency of lightly whipped cream and crimson in color.
Although the batter is best if used immediately, it can sit for up to 1 hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. When you return to the batter, it will be very thick and should be thinned, 1 tablespoon at a time, with milk–take great care not to overmix.
Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Rub the pan generously with butter; this is the key to crisp, buttery edges, my favorite part of any pancakes. Working quickly, dollop 1/4-cup mounds of batter onto the pan, 2 or 3 at a time. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancakes, flip it over and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total. Wipe the pan with a cloth before griddling the next batch. Rub the pan with butter and continue with the rest of the batter. If the pan is too hot or not hot enough, adjust the flame accordingly to keep results consistent.
Serve the pancakes hot, straight from the skillets, with a pitcher of warm maple syrup, encouraging your guests to pour as they please.