Friday, July 23, 2010

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Coconut Syrup and Fruit

This just might be my favorite breakfast. Although, that might be because I don't eat very interesting breakfasts in the first place. Plain oatmeal, Ezekiel toast, grape nuts with peaches and bananas don't exactly scream excitement. But this, this is something to celebrate!

If you have never had coconut syrup before, I pity and urge you to make it a priority to taste this week. I first had it in Hawaii where it is served commonly like maple syrup is here. My husband and I stayed in Kauai for the "baby moon" of our second child. Lucky us. The sun shone, the clouds rained and since there were no cocktails to be had, the guava juice and coconut syrup flowed. I remember my cousin Harrison had bottles of coconut syrup in his pantry that he would bring home from his trips to Hawaii because you couldn't get it here. Harrison's dad is Hawaiian and had connections. I knew early on that it was a precious and much coveted commodity. I thought you had to order coconut syrup over the Internet to get it here, and I did a couple times, but then I found a recipe online for making it yourself at home and I was intrigued. So I tried it and it's dang close people. Close enough that I probably won't buy it again over the Internet.

I had a very memorable breakfast at my Aunt Jenny's house a couple years ago. Becca and Micah were there. I'll just call them my cousins even though Becca is really my aunts, husbands sister. I grew up around her and even though we are not blood related, anyone married in or remotely related to me in anyway gets chalked up to "cousins" in my mind. Any who, we had this amazing breakfast consisting of these outrageous butter waffles (they are called butter waffles for a reason) covered in various chopped up fruit with coconut syrup and whipped cream. Can anyone say gut-bomb? It was absolutely delicious but I didn't feel very good the rest of the morning. Sugar tends to do that to me. Gut-bomb aside, I certainty couldn't go the rest of my life without having these flavors for breakfast every now and again so I thought about how I could change it to make it both healthier and to cut down the sugar quotient. This recipe is what I came up with and can I tell you, you don't miss a thing! You don't need all the butter in those waffles or the extra sugar in pre-bottled syrup and whipped cream. Because this, my friends, is breakfast nirvana.

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Coconut Syrup and Fruit
adapted from allrecipes.com and various other sources that are just hodge-podged together

for the pancakes:

1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup wheat germ or oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a food processor or a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, white flour, wheat germ or oats, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and salt.

Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife, and add the butter to the flour mixture. mix until the mixture has a sand like consistency (If using a bowl instead of the food processor, just warm the butter in the microwave for a few seconds so it blends easily).

Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, and add the buttermilk and eggs. Stir until the liquids are fully incorporated.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and grease the surface with 1 tablespoon of butter or oil. Ladle the batter onto the surface to form 4 inch pancakes. once bubbles form on the top of the pancakes, flip them over, and cook them on the other side for about 1-2 minutes.

serves 4

Coconut Syrup:

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 can of good quality coconut milk*
a pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and boil together until it's reduced in volume by roughly half. Strain the can of coconut milk through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the watery stuff that falls out and only use the more solid stuff.* Add the coconut to the syrup mixture and whisk to combine. Let it cook just until it's thickened up a little, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla and mix well. Serve warm.

* good quality coconut milk should separate a bit to leave some watery stuff floating in the top and bottom the can. That's what I want you to strain out. However, if you open your can and don't see any separation, just pour the whole can in, it'll be OK, just a tad thinner.

Fruit:
dice up any combination of the following and mix together: (we use all)

bananas
strawberries
kiwi
peaches
mango

To assemble- top pancakes with fruit and drizzle with coconut syrup.

The blog I got the coconut syrup recipe from was adamant that the salt and vanilla extract are NOT optional. So please add it in. It gives it depth of flavor. If you have more than 4 very hungry people, I would urge you to double the pancake recipe. Happy weekend everybody!



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