Pfannkuchen und Waffeln

einkorn oat pancakes |

Some more thoughts on the topic of inspiration: I think I do get a lot of it from cookbooks. But it’s not the recipes that inspire me, it’s the ingredients. I realised this when I started to test for the awesome new cookbook project by Tami Noyes and Celine Steen. The Great Vegan Whole Grains Cooking Book will be available in 2016 and it’s going to be full of unique and inspiring grain recipes. Cooking recipes for this book brought me back to a phase where I used to have all kinds of grains stuffed into my pantry. That was when I bought a grain mill and made my own bread. The grain mill gave me a lot of flexibilty when it came to baking. I made whole flours not only from wheat, rye, or spelt but also from farro, oats, buckwheat, einkorn and kamut. But having all those grains around also inspired me to use them in their whole form for everyday meals. Then I stopped baking bread because I let my starter die a couple of times. I used up all the grains and went back to eating expensive and far travelled quinoa instead of cheap and local buckwheat or einkorn.

Testing recipes for Celine and Tami has been very inspiring. I restocked my pantry with whole grains and have been using them a lot not only for test recipes. I use different flours for baking again, especially for those pancakes pictured above, which a certain person in our household demands several times a week.These were made with homemade einkorn flour. The recipe will be at the end of this post. If you don’t have farro flour, you can use another whole grain flour such as wheat or spelt. Pancakes are very hard to mess up and great for experimentation!

I also remembered how much I love oat flour! It can be a bit difficult to grind because it is so soft. But that is also an advantage because you can make it from oats using your food processor.  These cookies are adapted from the Chocolate Almond Bake or No-Bake Cookies from 500 Vegan Recipes.  The original recipe calls for only a handful of ingredients and is super easy to make. I had no chocolate on hand I used 1/4 cup of oil instead and it worked like a charm.

almond oat cookies |

Pancakes are not the only food F is obsessed with lately. She also likes to make pizza. I know I need to stop bragging about my child here, but I think it’s pretty great that a three year old makes her own pizza. We knead the dough together and then she gets a piece to roll out and top. She can do that with no help at all. I like that she’s so interested in cooking and making her own meals. We do not demonise frozen foods or convenience products but I still think that she’ll have a lot of alternatives to frozen pizza once she has to cook for herself. I think that no matter what, knowing how to cook is a great skill to have and I am glad F is starting so early with this. It also teaches her that every family member is responsible for food preparation and she can be part of it, too. Last weekend we were home alone and F decided we should make another pizza. When we were mixing the dough from freshly ground spelt kernels I realised that we had made way to much! I guess I got carried away a bit. It didn’t matter though because leftover pizza dough makes great bread. We made mini spelt breads tossed in poppy and sesame seeds and that way we were set both for dinner and our next breakfast.

mini spelt bread |

If you experiment and improvise a lot, you can sometimes find great new cooking techniques for foods you are not so wild about. For example, I was never a big fan of buckwheat. Many people like to eat it raw (for breakfast cereals) or cooked but I could never deal with its consistensy. Buckwheat doesn’t seem to absorb much liquid. If you mix it with water, it will get a texture similar to soaked flax and chia. And I am not a fan of slimey foods. So since all that didn’t work for me, I ground the raw buckwheat into a flour and tried to use it in baked goods. It’s is pretty popular with gluten-free folks and I thought I should give it another chance. But when I made my first waffles with buckwheat flour I realised that I had to combine it with many other ingredients to make its much to prominent earthy flavour go away. So after a bit of experimentation I went for a gluten-free flour mix instead, including buckwheat and other flours. The waffles I made based on that mixture were actually pretty good! But I still think that buckwheat flour is a much better ingredient for breads or other savoury baked goods than it is for sweet waffles or pancakes. And I still don’t like it cooked except for one recipe, which I really love. One time when I wanted polenta fries but was out of polenta, I cooked some buckwheat instead, processed it, and placed it in a baking dish. Once it was cooled it was very easy to slice and had exactly the consistency of cooked and cooled polenta. And it also tasted fantastic, especially when mixed with garlic. So after all that ranting here is a recipe for simple buckwheat fries that made me, the buckwheat hater, turn into a buckwheat fan. The fries are really easy to make and you can both fry and bake them. You can also store the prepared and processed buckwheat in the fridge and fry it whenever you want. The sticks make a wonderful snack but are a fantastic side dish, too. I like to combine them with stir fried bok choi and chickpeas. Oh, and don’t forget the hot sauce.

These buckwheat fries are so easy to make and they are the only buckwheat recipe you will ever need. Even if you are a buckwheat hater, you will love these! They are both crispy and moist and they are also gluten-free and vegan.

Simple Buckwheat Fries

100 g (3.5 oz) buckwheat
240 ml (1 cup) water or broth
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying or baking

Combine buckwheat and water. Cook buckwheat cook for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the buckwheat is soft. Also check your package for specific directions on cooking buckwheat.
Immediately place the hot grain in a food processor with garlic and salt and process until most of the buckwheat is finely ground. Transfer to a greased baking dish about the size of a loaf pan (Of course you can also use a greased loaf pan!) and use a spaltula to press the batter down evenly. Let cool completely.
Once cooled, cut into 1-2 cm (1/2-1 inch) thick strips.
Heat a pan and brush with oil. Fry the sticks on all sides until crispy. Add more oil if necessary. If you want to bake these, brush them with oil and bake until crispy.

Einkorn Oat Pancakes

120 g (1 cup) einkorn flour (use spelt or whole wheat as a substitute)
30 g (1/4 cup) oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
240 ml (1 cup) water or soy milk
60 g (1/4 cup) apple sauce
2 tablespoons agave nectar
oil for frying

Combine all pancake ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Heat a pan over medium heat and add oil. Pour about 2-3 tablespoons of batter into the pan and fry until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. Einkorn flour browns very fast so check often and don’t burn the pancakes.
Serve with jam or sugar.

savoury buckwheat pancakes |

Recently a fellow German blogger asked me to do a little interview. One of the questions was: “Where do you get the inspiration for your recipes?” I had to think quite a while before answering. Most of the time my inspiration comes out of nowhere. I have a certain ingredient in mind and then I start thinking about what to make from that ingredient and how to serve it. I think about new flavour combinations, colours, and themes. But for this recipe the first inspiration did not come from my head, it came from my daughter. She loves us to read her books and she listens to audio plays. Among her favourite stories are Pettson and Findus. Findus, the cat, loves pancakes and Pettson, the old man Findus lives with, makes them for him all the time. In one of the books there is a picture about how exactly they are made: in a cast iron pan with about six to eight indentations. Once F saw this, she wanted pancakes for breakfast every morning. But she wouldn’t let me make them alone. She wanted to help and she had very precise thoughts about how they should look like. “First”, she told me, “we need maaaaany ingredients. And then we need to stir them.” So we added all of the ingredients to a bowl and F stirred. Then she said I was not allowed to make large pancakes. “Findus only eats small pancakes.” And to make sure I wouldn’t cheat, she dragged a chair in front of the stove and climbed up to check. This is how I cook in my kitchen these days, people! I have fierce competition and supervision.

After all these pancake mornings I thought about changing things up a bit. I tried to think about pancakes in a different context and with warm, wintery ingredients. Buckwheat flour came to my mind first, because of its quite unique rustic and earthy flavour. In my opinion it’s best highlighted in savoury foods so I wanted to make sugar-free pancakes. Then I thought about different meal types. If we can have pancakes for breakfast, why not for lunch as well? And then complementing flavours came to my mind, which would have to be quite wintery as well. Sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) are a wonderful and aromatic winter vegetable. They taste sweet, earthy, and nutty at the same time and to enhance all these flavours, they should be roasted. Just like buckwheat flour they have a very unique taste both are so differerent that they are not competing each other. The pancake recipe was adapted from this sweet version and it was quite easy to veganise. There’s no need for an egg replacer but since the recipe calls both for an egg and yoghurt, I added some blended chickpeas into the batter to make up for it. Both the pancakes and the vegetables are seasoned with fresh ginger, which makes the dish a little bit hot and you can leave it out if you are serving this to kids (or other people) who are sensitive to heat.


Savoury Buckwheat Pancakes with Roasted Sunchokes and Chickpeas (yields 8 pancakes)

For the pancakes: 180 g (1 1/2 cups) buckwheat flour 1 tablespoon cornstarch 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 2 teaspoons grated ginger 2 cloves garlic, grated 360 ml (1 1/2 cups) water 90 g (1/2 cup) canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained oil for frying Instructions: Place flour, starch, baking powder, salt, ginger, and garlic in a bowl and mix well. Combine water and chickpeas in a blender and purée until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until the batter is smooth. Preheat a large pan and brush with oil. Use a serving tablespoon and place about 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of batter in the pan. I usually cook three pancakes at once. Cook until the pancake is lightly browned and flip around. You can keep these warm in the oven until ready to serve or you can reheat them in a toaster. For the roasted sunchokes: 300 g (10.6 oz or 2 cups cut pieces) sunchokes, peeled and cut into cubes (1 cm or 1/2 inch) 90 g (1/2 cup) canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1 tablespoon oil 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke 2 teaspoons grated ginger 2 cloves garlic, grated salt and pepper to taste Instructions: Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Combine all ingredients in a small oven save dish and mix well. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the sunchokes are soft. stir from time to time and season with salt and pepper once the vegetables are done. Serve over pancakes with a salad on the side.

glutenffree nut waffles

My pantry is filled with quite an amount of gluten-free flours from my last bread baking experiment. I thought about easy gluten-free recipes to use up the flour. And waffles came to my mind. I looked around online for tips on making gluten-free waffles. And of course the most important thing is the equipment. It seems that you need a good quality waffle iron to make gluten-free waffles work. (Figures.)

The waffle iron I had was a hopeless case. It was cheap and I always had to grease it like crazy and still the waffles would stick and tear. Even though I knew it would probably end in a huge fail, I tried to make a batch of gluten-free waffles in that iron. Yeah. That was the end of my patience and my cheap waffle iron. I said good bye and ordered a new one. Not the usual heart shaped kind available in Germany, but a double non-stick round Belgian waffle iron.* This non-stick waffle iron changed everything, probably even my life. I was a waffles-are-okay-person before. Now I am a I-want-to-eat-nothing-but-waffles person. And the best part my waffles finally came out crispy. I mean, look at that picture. (I guess you have all looked at waffle recipes online and their authors claim that they are crispy and then you look at that picture and they look all wobbly. Yeah.)

I made these waffles with a homemade gluten-free flour mix. The recipe is here. It is a hearty flour mix with a pretty strong buckwheat taste. I liked that for these waffles, it went well with the nuts and also with the maple syrup. But of course you can just try these with any flour mix you have on hand. The locust bean gum is optional, but it improves binding. For the flours I went with metric measurements only. If you want to swap out anything it is easier to do this measuring your ingredients by weight. I weigh all my ingredients and look most of the cup measurements up here. If you are not gluten-free and do not have gluten-free flour on hand, I suggest you use all-purpose flour instead. It should work. In that case, you can leave out the locust bean gum. And maybe you have to adjust the liquid.

About the oil: I made regular waffles with less oil, but for this gluten-free recipe the oil really helps making the waffles not stick to the iron. If you want less, you can probably half the amount. Make sure to grease your iron well.

Of course you can freeze these and reheat them in the toaster.

Edited on October 14, 2013: I suggest not to leave out the locust bean gum.  It acts as a thickener and without it the batter will be runny and might stick to the iron. If you have to leave it out, you could try to add some more flour to thicken the batter. I do not recommend to substitute xanthan or guar gum.

Gluten-free Nut Waffles (makes 5-6 large round Belgian waffles)

For the waffles:

120 g gluten-free flour
60 g chickpea flour
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
50 g ground hazelnuts
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon locust bean gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
360 ml (1 1/2 cups) soy milk
60 ml (1/4 cup) oil

For the nut syrup:

4 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts

To make the waffles: Preheat your waffle iron. Brush with oil, if you don’t have a non-stick iron.

Combine the flours, sugar, hazelnuts, baking powder, locust bean gum, and salt. (Make sure to sift the flours, especially the chickpea flour.) Mix well and add remaining ingredients. Whisk to combine.

Pour the batter into your iron and cook each waffle according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

To make the syrup: Combine maple syrup and nuts and pour over the waffles. Serve with fresh fruit.

*It’s a German brand hardly available internationally. If you still want to know, you can email me.

It took me quite some time to get my vegan waffles right and I blame our waffle maker. I had to find out that it hates a batter that is too liquid and has too much sugar. Your waffle iron is probably totally different from mine so feel free to adapt the recipe to your needs.

Oat Waffles (makes 4 regular waffles)

120 g (1 1/2 cups) oat flour
80 g (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
2 tablespoons flax meal
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
240 ml (1 cup) almond milk
60 g (1/4 cup) soy yoghurt

Preheat and grease your waffle iron. Sift together flours, flax meal, baking powder, and salt. Add almond milk and yoghurt and stir until no lumps remain. Cook according to manufacturers instructions. (For me medium heat and longer cooking time works best.)