It took me years to understand the difference between pancakes and crêpes, partly because ages ago when I started to use the internet finding recipes or translators was hard. In Romania we typically make crêpes, but for some reason their name "clatita" (crêpe) is translated as pancake, hence the confusion. Even now we still don't have different words for them, so, to make the distinction, we call a pancake "American clatita". Come to think of it, we also don't have a word for muffins and cupcakes. We call them "madlene" (madeleines), even though they're quite different.
By now everyone knows what pancakes are, so I won't get into details, but I'll say one thing: these little cakes are incredibly versatile. The batter itself can be sweet or savoury and the topping anything from fresh fruit to gravy. I'm not a big fan of having pancakes for breakfast, I usually make some when I really crave them or in place of something that I'm not able to make right away. Plain pancakes drenched in maple syrup are one of my biggest weaknesses. For someone who drinks unsweetened green tea with mint, having 8-10 such combos at one meal seems crazy, right? So much for promoting healthy food for healthy arteries:)
With great leavening agents readily available, like baking soda, baking powder and yeast, veganizing pancakes couldn't be easier. To start my series of delicious pancakes I have chosen a sugar-free version. By sugar-free I mean no added sugar, since dates have plenty of it, only in a natural, unprocessed form and they also add a lot of nutritious goodness (you can read my notes for dried dates on Raw Brownies). After making the date paste, taste it and if you prefer sweeter pancakes, add about 2 tsp sugar. That is if you want to eat them plain, otherwise, if you add chocolate cream or maple syrup like I did there's no need for so much sweetness.
These pancakes with walnuts and dates are spongy, crunchy, filling and very delicious. If you use dried dates, the preparation will take a little while, but if you find soft dates they're ready in no time. Now on to the recipe:)
- 1/3 cup pitted dried dates (about 9), chopped
- 1/2 cup warm soy milk (substitute with any milk you like)
- Put them in a bowl or a blender cup and let the dates rehydrate and soften for 30 minutes. Blend everything into a smooth paste.
- 1 cup organic plain white flour
- 1 Tb baking powder
- pinch of salt
- Mix them well with a fork or a whisk.
- Add the date paste to the dry ingredients along with 1/2 cup soy milk and 3 tsp sunflower oil (for a fat-free version replace with 3 tsp applesauce).
- Add 1/4 cup walnuts (about 9 halves), finely chopped.
Heat a pan on medium. For non-stick pan, spoon the batter directly onto the pan, for other types just pour a few drops of oil and spread it around before making the pancakes. When they are almost dry on top, gently flip them over and let the other side cook. Remove onto a plate without stacking them. Serve warm, plain or topped with chocolate cream, maple syrup, agave nectar, jam or anything else you like.
- 3 tsp cocoa powder
- 2 Tb soft brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (see my notes on Carrot Cake)
- 1/4 cup soy single cream or milk (in the beginning I would use soy single cream, but now I use coconut cream)
- Mix all the ingredients in a small pan, put on medium to low heat and let the cream simmer gently for a few minutes without boiling, until it thickens a little. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to keep it from forming a crust. Let cool completely and serve.
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