I love breakfast and will never skip this meal. Most of the time I am just having a bowl of yogurt with fruit and coffee, or almond butter multi-grain toast. No matter what I am eating, breakfast is a sacred and meditative time of day even if it only lasts for 10 minutes.
Our usual breakfast routine is self-serve. I stock our pantry and frig with our habitual breakfast foods, Joe does his thing in the morning and I do mine. Joe makes us a big pot of coffee so all I have to think about first thing in the morning is locating a clean mug. Sometimes it is the little gestures that mean so much, I love waking up and seeing a full pot of coffee ready and waiting. The coffee is made, and I can ease into the routine of the day.
Thanksgiving is a month away, and I am looking forward to having a full house and time to dig into a big breakfast shared with people I love. The table loaded with any variety of cherished breakfast delights like eggs, pastries, bacon, fruit, coffee, and oj. Everyone is lounging around in their pj’s, hair ruffled and the sleepiness wearing off of their expressions, helped along by jokes and ease. We are all relaxed and enjoying the morning before the work or activities begin. Family breakfast time is a luxury and I cherish each one I get.
But why wait until a holiday to enjoy a breakfast meal together? I believe it is time for me to bring back an old tradition we used to have when we were dating. It is time for a breakfast date, and pancakes will be on the menu.
Not just any pancakes though, Dutch Baby pancake with a slight variation: made with oat flour. Dutch Baby, or German pancakes, are light pancakes cooked in a skillet in the oven. It is one of the easiest things to make and has very few ingredients. It is incredible. They are similar to crêpes and popovers with the light layers of dough and air, but what makes them really stand out is adding a hint of nutmeg in the pancake batter and finishing with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the sprinkled confectioners sugar. Wow. The plain and simple transform into a regal delicacy.
Why change a good thing and substitute all-purpose flour with oat flour? Why not. Oat flour has a slightly nutty and caramel flavor making it a complimentary ingredient to use in a variety of baked goods. It is also a great gluten-free substitute for all-purpose flour. Replacing all-purpose flour with oat flour makes the butter taste more buttery, if that is possible, and the slight nuttiness is a nice welcome. You do not have to worry about over-mixing the batter either when you use oat flour. Dutch Baby pancakes made with oat flour will not rise up the sides of the pan like a traditional one, but it will puff up randomly, creating hills and valleys for pools of butter and syrup to collect. This oat flour Dutch Baby pancake reminds me of funnel cake with its irregular shape.
It is also great to experience cooking with alternative flours in the event you need to prepare a meal for someone on a gluten-free diet. Cooking with gluten-free flours is not that simple, but making pancakes with them is because you do not have to worry about the structure like you do for making a cake. Using alternative flours in pancake recipes is an easy starting point to become familiar with gluten-free flours.
More recipes with alternative flours click here for my favorite gluten-free cookbook by Alice Medrich, Flavor Flours.
Make a breakfast date with your special someone, or enjoy breakfast with good friends. This Dutch Baby pancake recipe is simple to make, impressive to look at, and taste light and airy and bright, just asking to be drizzled with warm maple syrup.
This recipe is adapted from David Eyre’s Pancake, The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
Other recipes using oat flour, Gluten-free Nifty Cake
Where to buy oat flour? Oat flour is becoming widely available at some large supermarkets, such as Stop&Shop and Whole Foods, and smaller specialty grocery stores like Mrs. Green’s and other family run markets like DeCicco’s in Westchester and Putnam Counties. Bob Red Mill is the most common brand and they have a gluten-free oat flour and rolled oats. King Arthur, and Arrowhead Mills have oat flour but they may not be gluten-free. Oats and wheat are often grown together and/or milled at the same place. Unless it says Gluten-free on the label it could be made from rolled oats that have been cross pollinated or cross contaminated with wheat. You can also buy oat flour on-line at Amazon, but it is double the price compared to my grocery store.
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