Pancakes – who doesn’t love a pancake every now and then? Truthfully, it is not something I eat a lot of, but on occasion the urge for a stack of golden pancakes with butter, syrup, lemon juice …. mmmm … drippy, sticky, sweet, messy, buttttteeeerryyyyy. Oh, sorry, I got lost in pancake imaginings. Anyway, sometimes you just want some delicious comfort food. For me, a plate of pancakes brings to mind pleasant visions of my mum in the kitchen cooking up pancake after pancake to feed the whole family, while she never got to eat one until the rest of us were replete. Our toppings were pretty limited back then (we’re talking in the 1970s here…eeek). Golden syrup, butter, sugar and lemon juice were mix and matched with abandon. We were satisfied with that.
When I moved onto a low carb lifestyle, it didn’t bother me too much to think pancakes were something I would never have again. But, oh how wrong I was. There are MANY low carb pancake recipes out there. How there can be so many variations on something that is essentially quite simple, rocks my mind. And how to choose which one is the best? Oh my!
So there was only one way – try different ones out. I must admit, I did not set out to do a comparison. I chose the first recipe because it sounded easy and interesting. I hadn’t even considered doing a blog at that stage, and this accounts for why there is only one photo for that recipe. The second recipe I chose because I had the ingredients required and they needed using up. The third was chosen because by then I had come up with an idea to write a comparison. My pancake consumption has gone from 1-2 times a year to once a week!
So here’s my breakdown of the three recipes I’ve tried so far, in the order that I made them. Each recipe is sourced on a different site from different authors/cooks. Please follow the recipe links to see the original authors’ write ups and method instructions.
Recipe One: Healthy Fluffy Low Carb Vanilla Pancakes
3 T coconut flour
1-2 T granulated sweetener of choice
Pinch baking powder
Pinch sea salt
3 large egg whites
1 T mashed pumpkin OR applesauce OR mashed sweet potato OR yogurt of choice
1/4-1/2 cup + dairy free milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Any variances used? I used Splenda for the sweetener (it’s all I had at the time), yoghurt and regular whole milk instead of dairy free milk. I cooked them in a cast iron pan with a little coconut oil.
Form? These were everything that was promised. Light and fluffy. I didn’t have any problems flipping them over, but patience is required or flipping too soon will create a mess. They do look impressive
Taste? They didn’t have a strong flavour on their own. Also, I burned mine…oops. This did not make them horrible, but I am sure they would have been a bit nicer not burnt.
Serving size? The mixture made 6 pancakes, the diameter being slightly bigger than a drinks coaster.
How did I serve them? I served mine stacked with a quick microwave jam – thaw some mixed berries and mash with a fork. Add sweetener to taste and a smidge of xanthan to get a loose jam-like consistency or to the consistency you desire. The xanthan is not essential, I just wanted something a little more jam-ish that would stick to my pancakes more.
Anything I’d do differently next time? I would try the recipe again using 2 whole eggs instead of just egg whites. The author says that using whole eggs will not make them fluffy, but I believe I have a method that will counteract that (sounds like a future blog post in the making). Since I made those pancakes we have invested in one of those copper frypans, so I think any future burning should be less likely and only due to inattention – an altogether distinct possibility. Some days it does not pay to multitask in the kitchen.
Overall Impression? They were okay; but they really need a good flavoured topping or they’d be pretty boring. The recipe includes a topping, which sounds yummy, but is made with coconut butter. I have not yet found this awesome sounding ingredient, but when I do I shall definitely be giving that a go. They were easy to make. I had a big stack of them, but I was very hungry by lunchtime, hence why I want to try them again with the whole eggs.
Recipe Two: Cream Cheese Pancakes
2 oz cream cheese
1 tsp granulated sugar substitute
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Any variances used? I used a xylitol/stevia blend for the sweetener (I swear this stuff is worth more than gold). I added the tiniest pinch of salt. In the recipe it said to blend the ingredients in a blender or magic bullet. I used an electric hand mixer. It sort of worked, but I did have little globs of cream cheese throughout the mixture as can be seen in the photo below. I don’t think it had a marked effect on flavour, but may have impacted their stability in the pan. I added 1 teaspoon of coconut flour to the batter after I cooked the first pancake. I cooked them in our, brand new at the time, copper frypan with a scant spray of non-stick cooking spray.
Form? These are very crepe like and spread out into the size of the pancakes my mum used to make. My first one was a complete disaster when I tried to flip it. I ate it all folded into a hot mess while I cooked the others up. After adding a teaspoon of coconut flour to the remaining batter, the rest of them flipped beautifully. I suspect my pan may not have been quite hot enough for the first one, too.
Taste? I found these completely delicious and didn’t need a heavy flavoured topping. In fact a sliver of butter was all I used on my first hot mess one. How can anything containing cream cheese be anything other than delicious?
Serving size? The mixture made 4 thin pancakes, each about the size of a small dinner plate.
How did I serve them? Folded in half with several chopped fresh strawberries alongside and a drizzle of sugar free maple-flavoured syrup.
Anything I’d do differently next time? Well, for one, I would make sure my pan was hot enough before cooking the first pancake. I think I would still add the coconut flour, and I might try a blender for mixing and see what the difference is. The author of the recipe says they can also be used as savoury wraps as well by omitting the sweetener. I am keen to give that a go as I’m always looking for interesting lunch options for hubby (and myself).
Overall Impression? Great flavour, easily prepared, and with a little tinkering, very successful. I have a hankering to make them again, once I replenish the cream cheese. They were a light, summery meal, but I was completely satiated until lunchtime.
Recipe Three: Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes 2.0
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup coconut milk or 3/4 cup cream + 1/4 cup whole milk (best) or 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt + 1/4 cup whole milk (good)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey or a pinch of stevia
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
coconut oil or butter for frying
Any variances used? I used canned coconut milk, xylitol/stevia blend for the sweetener. I used a non-stick cooking spray for cooking. I used more coconut milk than the recipe says to, and for the second half of the batch I added some cinnamon and a bit more sweetener.
Form? These were thick and fluffy, although denser than those in recipe one, not surprisingly. I made the full recipe, but should have at least halved it. They flipped well most of the time, although got a little out of shape if I flipped too soon. Am I the only one who ends up smooshing the top of one while trying to get the flipping utensil under one beside it?
Taste? They have a mild coconutty flavour on their own, but less than what I was expecting. I found them moist but a little mealy in texture and I’m still deciding how I feel about that, which is a comment directly related to any and all coconut flour recipes. This pancake version would be best served with a flavoursome topping. I tried the first one just with butter and was not fussed on that. A moist topping would be beneficial, too, and the batter could do with a boost of sweetness. This will of course depend on an individual’s taste, but I believe most people would find them not sweet enough, to the point of being not enjoyable. I used a lot more maple-flavoured syrup on these than I was wanting to. I needed both the moisture and sweetness.
Serving size? The mixture made 9 pancakes, about the same size as those made from recipe number one. I ate 4 and this was too many!
How did I serve them? I served them stacked with some butcher’s bacon (cubed offcuts – it’s a cheaper way to buy bacon) tossed over and around and literally awash with sugar free maple-flavoured syrup. The leftovers I spread with butter and sugar free jam and wrapped with plastic wrap. They made it into our lunchboxes for the next day. They remained moist.
Anything I’d do differently next time? I would definitely halve the recipe (and still have leftovers for hubby’s lunchbox the next day) and add some more sweetener to the batter. I’d also try a berry mash as a topping for added moisture and flavour. Bacon, maple syrup and pancakes is an American thing (I’m in New Zealand) that I’m not altogether convinced on.
Funny story digression – I waited until late in the afternoon to cook up the remaining mixture. Have you seen the tv infomercials on the copper frypans? Hard to scratch, don’t need greasing, etc. Well, I decided to test out the ‘slide ability’ of my new frypan. Once they were cooked I tipped the pan, aimed towards a plate. They started sliding gently, or most of them did. One did a full on somersault out of the pan, landing on the floor in the narrow gap between the side of the oven and the kitchen cupboards. With a pair of long bbq tongs I managed to rescue said pancake along with the dust bunnies it sacrificed itself to. My hens, Myrtle and Turtle, didn’t mind the unconventional topping as with happy clucks they devoured the dusty pancake.
Overall Impression? They were ultra filling. I was not hungry at lunchtime. I was barely hungry by dinner. Four, with bacon, was way too many and I am not a small portion eater. If you’re wanting a breakfast for the long haul, this would be your ticket. They also kept well, making a nice cake-like snack option the next day. I ate one today, halved and sandwiched with butter and sugar free cherry jam. It was more than adequate as a mid-afternoon snack.
I would make any of these recipes again, depending on my supplies at the time and what I’m looking for. I have a definite favourite though, being recipe number two. The other “fluffy types” are less like the traditional pancakes I grew up eating in size, shape and texture. I also much preferred the flavour of the cream cheese pancakes (is that really so surprising?) and have saliva inducing dreams of them used as soft wraps around some moist chicken, salad and mayo. Oh yum!
Do you have a favourite low carb pancake recipe that differs from the above? I’m still looking to make different recipes for another “round-up” post. Please feel free to leave a link in the comments section for me to check out. 🙂
PS. Doesn’t my new copper frypan look pretty? 😀