Thursday, February 6, 2014

Vanilla Cornmeal Pancakes with Berry Syrup

I haven't yet introduced gluten to the clever baby.  I am pretty slow in introducing new, potentially allergenic foods to my kids.  I just have this paranoia about food allergies and figure holding off until way after babies theoretically can handle any particular food can't hurt.  So I wait.  And that can make feeding them a bit more challenging for me, so I just have to get creative.  This past weekend I made Vanilla Cornmeal Pancakes with Berry Syrup for breakfast.  It was a hit!

The pancake recipe is from Mark Bittman, though it also includes pine nuts, which I did not include (no nuts have been introduced yet either!).  These pancakes are a lot like fried polenta, so if you like polenta, these will be right up your alley!  As you can see from the photo above, mine were a bit thick (like a regular pancake), which made the insides very soft.  This was fine, but if you want a bit of a crisper interior, you could add more milk to the batter, thinning it out a little more.

Besides just being a nice change from my regular butttermilk pancakes, these are a gluten-free option!!

The syrup recipe is something I just created as I went along, but I am happy to share it with you!

Vanilla Cornmeal Pancakes
adapted from Mark Bittman

1 1/2 cups fine or medium cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, more as needed
2 TB vegetable or olive oil, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pine nuts, optional

Place a cooling rack inside a sheet pan and place it in the center of your oven.  Heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Combine the cornmeal, salt and 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a bowl and let it sit until the cornmeal absorbs all of the water and softens.  This will take 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir in the milk, a little at a time, until the batter is spreadable but still thick.  Add 2 TB oil, the vanilla and the pine nuts, if using.

Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.  When a drop of water dances across the surface, it is ready!  Spoon out the batter into any size pancakes you like.  Cook until bubbles form on the top and burst, and the underside is golden brown.  This will take 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pancake.  Flip, and cook again until golden.  As each pancake finishes cooking, place in the oven on your prepared rack to stay warm.  Serve with berry syrup.

Berry Syrup
2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries (thawed if frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, juiced
Mix berries, sugar and water together in a small saucepan, and allow to simmer until thick. Add the lemon juice to your taste.  You may want to try with adding NO sugar and then add if necessary, making sure it fully dissolves before serving.  This is what I will do next time!  Often, berries are sweet enough without any added sugar.
Printable Recipe

I had a cute photo with the clever baby eating these pancakes with berry syrup all over his face, but it is saved on my desktop computer which, between starting to write this post last night and now, has decided to crash.   Please say a prayer with me that, whatever happens with that crazy computer, all of my photographs will be SAFE.  Please, oh Computer Gods??

Have a great one!

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