Blueberry Multigrain Pancakes

IMG_3606Most weekday mornings find us rushing around getting ready for work, taking care of the whining furry beasts (some people might call them cats), watering the balcony garden, etc. Breakfast on a weekday is something we take seriously, mind you, but we probably have only a few minutes to devote to both the cooking and the eating of it.

On the weekends, though, I usually like to enjoy a morning with a decidedly more laid-back pace. Maybe sleeping in an extra hour or two, letting the sun wake me up rather than the alarm clock! Instead of those nutritious but snappy standby recipes with maybe 2-3 ingredients involved that we’ve nearly worn out Monday through Friday, I like to break out and have a nice sit-down breakfast at the table — no TV, no commercials, no news, no itinerary, maybe some soft music in the background. It’s amazing the things you can discover in a conversation with your family and friends over a nice breakfast and a steaming mug of fresh coffee.

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Today’s recipe is one I developed to help us use up some of last year’s frozen blueberries. I can’t begin to describe to you how much I love blueberries, but suffice it to say that we freeze pounds and pounds of them so that I can enjoy them throughout the year and so they’ll last at least until we can pick more the next summer! Naturally, then, I wanted to create a pancake recipe that would let their flavors shine through while incorporating hearty whole grains.

Let’s Talk Ingredients

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour — If you follow this blog with any regularity, you’re probably already familiar with this ingredient because I add to it almost any baking recipe that allows it. If you’re not familiar with it already, whole wheat pastry flour is whole wheat flour that is ground extra finely so it doesn’t weigh down soda-leavened baked goods the way regular whole wheat flour might. If you don’t mind a slightly denser texture, though, and you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, feel free to substitute regular whole wheat flour.

Oat Bran — Oat bran is the hard, outer layer from oats – usually removed – which contains high amounts of dietary IMG_1411fiber. You can usually find it in the bulk grains section or somewhere amidst the baking aisle. Bob’s Red Mill, a widely-distributed brand, is usually easy to come by. If you aren’t able to find oat bran, however, you can easily substitute quick oats (also known as quick-cooking oats) and get nearly the same effect, though with less fiber.

Flaxseed Meal — You have probably heard of flax seeds whether you’ve brought them into your kitchen or not. These nutrient-rich seeds are high in both Omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber. Whether kept whole for a hearty crunch or ground into meal (as in this recipe), they’re a sneaky way to boost the nutrition value of almost any baked good. Bob’s Red Mill is my go-to brand for flax seeds ground or whole. You usually find all of their products near one another down the baking aisle and sometimes down the cereal aisle.

Cardamom — In my opinion, blueberries and cardamom are a quintessential duo. Cardamom is a very potent spice that adds IMG_0970dimension to the blueberry flavor and goes beyond the usual cinnamon flavor. It can be found in almost any grocery store’s spice aisle and is at home in many savory or sweet recipes. Once you try it, you’ll want to start sneaking it into some of your favorites.

Buttermilk — A lot of modern home cooks knock buttermilk for some reason, relegating it to other forms of “granny voodoo”. I happen to love it. It makes baked goods tender, adds an unbeatable flavor, and there’s no substitute for it, in my opinion. That being said, you can approximate its role in this recipe by adding 2 tablespoons of vinegar to two cups of regular milk and letting it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. You won’t get the flavor but you will match the acidity. Personally, I vote that you pick up some buttermilk and keep it in the fridge. Even when it has gone beyond its expiration date by 1-2 weeks, it’s still quite flavorful and useful and you can’t beat it when making impromptu pancakes or biscuits.

Method to the Madness

Making moist yet fluffy pancakes can sometimes be challenging even though the recipe itself is easy to throw together. The key is to not overmix the batter and to allow the batter to sit for about 5 minutes after you’ve mixed in the wet ingredients before you begin to cook the pancakes. This sitting period allows the baking soda and baking powder to go to work. Baking powder, in particular, does two risings: the first begins when you add the liquid ingredients to the dry mixture, the second rising is when the batter is cooked. If you simply mix together the batter and start heaving it onto your griddle or skillet, you cheat yourself out of the double rising and your pancakes will likely be flat and maybe even a bit tough or gummy. Your goal of keeping the air bubbles in the batter is achieved by letting the batter rest and by not stirring it constantly while you’re cooking the pancakes.

Rather than mixing the blueberries into the batter and winding up with a few pancakes loaded with berries and other pancakes sadly devoid of blueberries, it works far better to drop the blueberries onto the pancakes as they’re cooking, before you flip them. No need to defrost the berries, either; the berries will defrost and cook along with the pancakes.

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You can tell that pancakes are ready to be flipped when they appear dry along the outside and bubbles are surfacing all over. Attempting to flip them too soon will result in pancakes splattering all over the skillet or breaking apart. James will tell you firsthand, by the way, that I always put him in charge of flipping because I’m capable of throwing pancakes all over the kitchen! Though pancakes need to cook at a relatively high heat setting, if you’re finding that the pancakes are scorching before they’re ready to flip, this simply means that the heat is too high. It takes a little bit of practice and back-and-forth to learn which heat setting works best for your skillet.

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To help get breakfast on the table hot and fast, I recommend putting a large sheet pan in your oven and turning the oven to a very low setting; 200-degrees or less. As your pancakes are cooked, slip them into the oven while you cook the rest of the batches.

Blueberry Multigrain Pancakes

A Tales of Thyme & Place Original
Serves 4-5

    3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup oat bran
    1/4 cup cornmeal
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
    2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 large eggs
    2 cups low fat buttermilk
    1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    1-2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

    In a large bowl, sift together the first 11 ingredients (whole wheat pastry flour through ground cinnamon).

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture; stir just until combined. Allow mixture to sit for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the griddle or non-stick skillet.

    Pour batter onto preheated griddle or skillet by 1/4-cups. Sprinkle a few blueberries over the tops of each pancake; press lightly into the batter. When sides of pancakes look slightly dry and bubbles have traveled through the pancake all over, flip each pancake with a spatula and cook an additional minute or more until evenly browned. Keep finished pancakes in a low oven on a sheet pan, if desired.

    Serve piping hot with butter and maple syrup.

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We usually serve these with a simple cheese or cheese-and-veggie omelet and maybe a few strips of lean bacon or sausage to round out the meal.These pancakes come together in a snap and are a hearty, summery breakfast treat — perfect for a lazy weekend morning when you’ll want to linger over the breakfast table savoring the blueberries and the conversation.

(Approximate nutrition data: 1 serving [3-4 pancakes] = 375 calories, 14g total fat [7g sat., 4g mono., 1g poly.], 113mg cholesterol, 6g fiber, 712mg sodium.)

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~ by Jason on September 1, 2011.

12 Responses to “Blueberry Multigrain Pancakes”

  1. OMG….once again you are making me HUNGRY…..alas, I will have to settle for the blueberry pancakes that come from a bag in the freezer section at walmart. Until I visit Chicago again, then maybe I can try yours….although, I must say it would be hard pressed to be better than the banana nut ones that you made last time I was there…..Yummy!

    • Well, I guess we’re both making each other hungry because I’d somehow forgotten about those Banana-Nut Pancakes until just now. We’ve not had them in a very long time! 😀

  2. I often make pancakes on weekday mornings, but they are always from Bisquick. Shhhh….don’t tell anyone that! Of course it’s only out of necessity, not taste. However, I think I could easily put this together in a baggie for a quick weekday morning too! I also have a recipe for cottage cheese pancakes that I want to try soon. I never really liked pancakes as a kid, but now they are a favorite!

    • There’s a recipe in Simply In Season and/or More With Less for something called “Master Baking Mix”. Essentially it’s a homemade Bisquick and the recipe makes a HUGE supply of it that you can keep in your pantry (it uses shortening instead of butter, so it’s shelf-stable). We’ve used the recipe several times and it makes decent pancakes and biscuits. You should try it sometime if you’re looking for an alternative. 🙂

      I don’t think there was ever a time in my life when I didn’t like pancakes! 😀 And — though I probably come across as picky and particular because of my blog — I’ve never met a pancake I didn’t love at least enough to finish. 😉

  3. Any chance you have a recipe for blueberry topping to go with those?? 😉

    • Hmm… I’ve actually never tried that on my pancakes — I’m usually more of a maple syrup kinda guy. But, I’ll bet the blueberry sauce recipe from the Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake recipe (a couple weeks ago on my blog) would be tasty. Another idea — even quicker — would be to melt some of your favorite blueberry jam (fruit-sweetened or low sugar would probably be good), add a little lemon juice, maybe a pinch of cinnamon and/or cardamom, and throw in some fresh or frozen blueberries and stir until it’s syrupy enough for you. We did this exact thing, recently, as a topping for mini lemon bundt cakes (recipe to come) — it was tasty, not too sweet, and had lots of blueberry flavor.:-)

  4. That settles it ….when I become a millionaire, I am hiring you as my cook!!!!! 😉
    Good grief, think I am drooling like my dog does when he sees something he loves!!!!

  5. Yummy

  6. Wow!
    Lovely blog you have here and may I just say that though I’ve been on a health kick for the past two months or so, I will definitely be giving it a break briefly to try this out!

    Thanks so much for sharing, came to your blog through another and glad I did.

    If you don’t mind, would like to add this to my blogroll on my own page.

    Cheers…

    • Thank you. 🙂 Actually, no need to break with your “health kick” to make these pancakes (unless your kick involved giving up whole grains, dairy, fruit, or other goodies). Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, after all — especially on the weekend. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. OMG – I LOVE your blog. Seriously, do you take those photos? I love the prose, too. So conversational and yet – such serious cookery. Mmmm. Ina better watch her back.

    I must admit, though, I am confused. Have you written a cookbook? Need to stalk around a bit more here because it looks like you have a cookbook. Is there a cookbook? I want the cookbook.

    • Thanks so much, Jodi, for all of your lovely compliments. I do take all of the photos, yes, except for a few exceptions here and there that were taken by James or my older brother. I usually just take a photo of my plate before diving in or try to find an ingredient or two that feels particularly photogenic on that day.

      This blog is probably as close as I’ll ever move toward publishing a cookbook. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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