If you have kids, you probably eat a lot of pancakes.
Our kids love pancakes in different shapes and sizes (silver dollar to big-as-your-head). They like guessing the mystery ingredient in a batch of pancakes (banana? Maple syrup in the batter?) Most of all, our kids like not eating eggs for breakfast every single morning.
We usually eat pretty paleo, but most paleo pancake recipes taste like cardboard. Fun shapes or not, the kids won’t eat gummy, tough pancakes. So, I experimented with traditional pancake recipes to find the secret to fluffy pancakes. Assuming the secret wasn’t flour, I figured I could use what I learned to come up with the perfect paleo pancake recipe.
After trying all kinds of ingredients and tips, I discovered the two secrets for light-as-air pancakes are beaten egg whites and sparkling mineral water. Both add lots of bubbles to your batter. In the world of pancakes, bubbles mean fluffiness.
The good news is both of these are paleo. The better news is these two secret ingredients make pancake batter so effervescent, even almond flour fluffs right up. The even better news is my kids are eating almonds for breakfast, which is a huge win over three plates of white-flour carbs.
The bad news is I add dark chocolate chips to our pancakes to keep the kids interested, which makes these pancakes not purely paleo. So, if you’re a purist, keep the chocolate chips out and make your pancakes in fun shapes instead.
All The Pancake Tips I Learned
When I grease the griddle with grass-fed butter, the pancakes taste remarkably better, but the butter always scalds the pancakes. This is why almost every cook uses oil. My family tolerates dark pancakes because the butter adds so much flavor. If you use butter, thin the recipe out with more sparkling water. Thinner pancakes cook faster so you can get avoid raw middles and burnt outsides.
Baking soda is (mostly) paleo. Baking powder is not. In this recipe, baking soda reacts with the acidic maple syrup for fluffy pancakes.
This is a very forgiving recipe. I usually quadruple it to feed my family of six for two meals. I’ve forgotten the butter, the salt, and the baking soda, and the pancakes still taste great. The kids have also made this recipe a million times and mismeasured everything, and the pancakes are still good.
On mornings when I have one kid hanging out with me and the rest are sleeping, I give that kid a whisk and tell them to froth the whites so the mixer doesn’t wake up the rest of the house. In this picture, Sam is using this egg separator, which the kids love. And, obviously, his hands.
Almond flour can be clumpy. After I pour it into the bowl, I give a kid a wooden spoon and ask them to squash all the lumps. This is wonderful fun for them. This is kind of an unnecessary step, but the smashing pacifies hungry kids.
Overmixing gluten makes for tough pancakes. You don’t have to worry about overmixing gluten-free pancakes. Mix away and your almond pancakes will still be tender (and fluffy!).
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup (or more) sparkling water
1 Tablespoon melted grass-fed butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon baking soda
Making the Cakes
1. Separate the eggs.
2. Heat up and grease your griddle. It should be 350 degrees by the time you start frying your pancakes.
3. While you mix the dry ingredients, beat the egg whites in your electric mixer.
4. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
5. When the egg whites are foamy, slowly add the maple syrup to the mixer.
6. Keep the mixer going while you add the egg yolks. Your wet mixture will look rich and velvety. This is the stuff of delicious pancakes.
7. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry mixture. The batter will not be wet enough yet because you haven’t added the sparkling water.
8. Add sparkling water, using more for thinner pancakes and less for thicker pancakes.
9. Pour batter into circles or shapes on your griddle. Add chocolate chips, if you’re feeling particularly un-paleo.
10. Flip the pancakes when the edges look dull. A few small bubbles will appear around the edges.
11. Serve with grass-fed butter.
Makes 12 pancakes.