“Water Only” Pancakes

I love pancakes.  They have always been a breakfast item of choice at least once a week in our house.  You can make a lot of great pancakes and waffles following regular recipes and substituting rice milk or almond milk for the cow’s milk in the recipe.  Unfortunately right now we are Milk, Soy, Chocolate, Rice, and Nut free with a few more suspects on the list.  That pretty much eliminated all milk substitute options for us so I’ve been trying to make recipes using water in place of milk. It doesn’t always work, let me tell you and I often do find the texture and taste to be a bit off.

I made this recipe at least 4 times before I decided it would be good enough to continually grace our breakfast table.  Hannah sure didn’t mind these experiments as long as there was syrup for dunking these creations.   The first time I tried making “water” pancakes, the end results were tasteless.  I thought about what milk brought to the pancake party.  Protein, fat, salt, sugar, water?  I haven’t found a replacement for the protein but I started adding a little extra salt, sugar and fat (canola oil) to my recipe to stand in for the milk.  Is this necessary?  Well, it seemed to help the taste, especially the salt.  I added some vanilla in and that really brought the flavor closer to the old pancakes I made.   I think the end result is pretty good. Make sure to follow some rules to help yours turn out well.

*Don’t overbeat the batter.  It is okay for it to have lots of lumps.  Overbeating = tougher pancakes

*Flip pancakes only one time and don’t pat or push on them with the spatula.  That just squashes the nice fluffy pancake you just made.

*Don’t forget to experiment yourself with a little more/less flour or water. We like big fluffy pancakes at our house but you can alter the batter to make them what you like.

*Don’t judge your pancakes by the first ones in the pan.  I always think of these as the practice pancakes.  They always seem to improve after those first ones, as if the first batch seasons the pan a bit.

Water Only Pancakes

Ingredients

1  1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 egg

1 cup + 2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon canola oil

(Canola oil to grease pan)

Directions

Into a medium sized mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Stir.  In another bowl (I use a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup), stir together the egg, water, vanilla  and oil.  Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until it just comes together. It should be slightly lumpy so don’t overmix.  Heat a nonstick skillet or pan over medium heat.  I spray mine down with some canola oil using an oil mister.  When the pan is hot pour a small 1/4 cup of batter and spread out slightly.  Cook until bubbles appear and a just a few begin to pop, about 2 minutes.  Flip pancake and cook on the other side 1-2 minutes more.  Makes 8-10 pancakes.

For a twist on the same old thing we sometimes add fruit or my favorite, apples and cinnamon.  Slice half of an apple, core removed,  into thin little pieces. I  add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnanmon to the batter.  Cook as usual.

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Dreamy Strawberry Rice Milk Ice Cream

Usually I only make ice cream for birthday celebrations in our house, but after a few weeks of living dairy free, I began to crave the stuff.   I was literally dreaming about eating ice cream. Spoonfuls and spoonfuls of delicious forbidden ice cream.  I searched the Web for recipes that used rice milk but couldn’t  find exactly what I needed.  I found several for soy ice creams, but soy was also on our “No Eat List.”   I began trying to piece together recipes and ice cream making techniques to come up with something both delicious and safe for us to eat.

To make a good rice milk ice cream I had several challenges to overcome.  First, rice milk does not contain the fat that real cream has.  That fat creates the smoothness on your tongue and helps it from becoming a hard block of ice in the freezer.  I decided to make a custard based ice cream (uses eggs yolks) to compensate for the lack of fat in the rice milk and hopefully make for a richer mouth feel.  Also I didn’t want the ice cream to taste just  like frozen rice milk.  My taste buds needed something new.   I had a bag of frozen strawberries in the freezer leftover from our trips to strawberry fields in the summer and decided to put them to use.

After assembling the custard I poured the mix into my electric Cusinart ice cream maker and let it churn away.  I’ll admit I couldn’t wait for the machine to finish.  When it reached a thick soft serve consistency and started rolling up near the opening at the top of the machine,  my spoon went in for a quick bite.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Smooth, sweet and full of lovely strawberry flavor.  Ohhhh so good!  I think ice cream is its best right out of the churn but this ice cream froze well too.  Granted it didn’t stay as soft as commercial ice cream  but it didn’t turn into an ice block either.

Unfortunately very shortly after this ice cream success we began to suspect rice as one of Colin’s food triggers.  No more rice milk for me.  So until we are sure about rice being safe  or he hopefully grows out of this, I’ll keep this recipe filed away to make some day in the future.  Until then, I’ll have to share a scoop with the sandman.

Strawberry Rice Milk Ice Cream

Ingredients

2 cups rice milk- I used Rice Dream Vanilla

1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or corn starch

5 large egg yolks

2/3 cup granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup strawberries fresh or frozen (defrosted)

Directions

Pour 1 ¾ cups rice milk into a medium sauce pot and heat over medium- high until it begins to simmer.  In a small bowl thoroughly mix the remaining ¼ cup rice milk with the arrowroot starch or cornstarch.  Stir the arrowroot mixture into the simmering rice milk.  Cook for a few minutes until the rice milk has slightly thickened.  Keep the milk at a low simmer so it is ready for the next step.

Meanwhile  in a bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.  I used a wire whisk and beat it like crazy for about two minutes.  A stand mixer would also work for this step and would save your arms.   Now slowly pour the hot thickened rice milk into the whipped egg yolk mixture a few tablespoons at a time, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don’t curdle.  As the egg mixture warms up you can increase the amount of hot rice milk you are adding in and continue until all the rice milk is incorporated into the egg mixture.  The reason for the slow mixing process is you don’t want to make scrambled eggs by heating the eggs too fast.  However,  if any small lumps do form,  you can strain the mixture at the end.

Place the egg and milk mixture back in the pot and cook on medium, stirring constantly until the custard thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon (170 degrees F).  I do check mine with a thermometer to make sure the eggs are cooked.

Immediately take the custard off the heat but continue to stir it for a few minutes so it does not overcook.  If you have lumps in the custard now is the time to pour the mixture through a strainer.  If you don’t see any lumps, no need to strain.  Now stir in the vanilla extract and the strawberry sauce (puree). I let it cool and then put it in a ziplock bag and chill thoroughly.   Once it is cold you are ready to process it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once made, transfer the ice cream to a chilled container and store in the freezer.