I think I’ve made a New Year’s resolution once in my life. The good news is that means I’ve only failed at keeping my resolution once.
So, I don’t do New years resolutions. The idea of using a date as a starting point for goals or change is great. We all need to start somewhere, with whatever it may be. I just think that if you really wanted to change it, do it, achieve it, conquer it, you would have already started though. You wouldn’t wait until an arbitrary date that is really just a form of procrastinating. And generally we procrastinate at things we don’t want to do anyway, at least I do…. So instead of making resolutions and waiting for a particular day to finally arrive, I make changes right away… well, right away, in theory…
About 2 weeks before Christmas I was on a downward spiral that was spinning out of control. I could not, for the life of me, stop eating sugar.
Fudge for dinner, ice cream for lunch, brownies for breakfast. It.Was.BAD! My body was literally starting to hurt from all of the sugar. Did you know sugar causes inflammation in our bodies? And they (some scientists) say it might also be as addictive as heroine? That’ll make ya think twice before you eat another brownie for breakfast. Unfortunately I wasn’t about to stop eating treats right before Christmas. Now THAT’S stupid!
So the day after Christmas I decided I’d start, the next day (like any true addict). I’d start a sugar detox. I decided to do a 7 day refined sugar detox. What does a sugar detox mean? Well, I suppose everyone can have their own definition. For me, it means no refined sugar. Nothing granulated, fructosed or evaporated (honey, maple and agave are ok). I even read the ingredients of the spices in my cabinets. The ones with sugars in them, like the greek all purpose seasoning that lists sugar as it’s 3rd or 4th ingredient, I’m not going to have that either.
Confession: I did have some apricot jam on brie and a handful of dried cranberries one day. It was girls night and I refuse to ever be the pain in the ass friend who “won’t eat that because ______.”
So what’s a girl to do when you wake up one morning and kick your own butt doing an Insanity workout? You want a delicious breakfast that will fill your empty belly. Yogurt, fruit, spinach smoothies, those just wouldn’t do. But pancakes, with brown butter, those will do. They’ll do juuuuust fine…
Dilemma: I suck at making pancakes, let’s just throw that out there. I can never get the heat right, and the consistency of the batter is either too thick or too thin. They turn out burnt on the outside and still gooey in the middle. But for whatever reason, I was determined to master a pancake. You’d think I’d start by mastering a classic, like buttermilk pancakes. Pshhhh, that’s just ridiculous. So I’ll start by mastering a pancake that is by no means classic. Which is clearly more logical.
Look, the outside is perfectly browned. Not burnt. HALLELUJAH! And the inside, it wasn’t gooey, it was actually cooked!
Because of the carrot in the batter, the pancakes are more moist then your standard buttermilk pancake. However, it’s not gooey, it’s just well, like I said, more moist.
Even though I’m ok with maple, I didn’t want maple on these. So I sat, with the fridge and cupboards wide open, staring. Blankly. Trying to decide how to top my pancakes. It hit me. Brown butter and pecans. I almost dropped to my knees and shed a tear I was so excited at the thought. Then I tried a bite. And then another. Then I licked the butter off of the plate. Then I gave the baby a pancake, but licked the butter off of hers. Babies don’t appreciate brown butter, but mama’s do!
Moral of the story: I made a pancake that will bring a tear to your eye, and it doesn’t have a speck of refined or processed sugar in it. A little disclaimer though: these aren’t sticky sweet pancakes like you get at IHop (the ones that make your pores ooze fake maple syrup for 3 days). You can douse them in maple syrup though if you want. Just please still add the brown butter. For your sake.
Carrot Cake Pancakes
Makes 12-4 inch pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup yogurt (I used low fat plain)
2 tbsp applesauce (plain or cinnamon)
1 cup grated carrots (I shred them on the thinnest side of a box grater.
1/2 cup raisins, plumped
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Add the raisins to a small pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes, until the raisins have plumped and almost doubled in size. Drain from the water and add the raisins to a blender. Let them sit and cool while you make the rest of the pancakes.
Sift the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Add the yogurt, eggs, and applesauce to the cooled (they might still be a bit warm) raisins and blend until the raisins are in small pieces.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the carrots. Mix only until incorporated, don’t over mix.
Heat a skillet to low/medium heat.
*A secret to perfectly cooked pancakes is to cook them over a lower heat. If you want burnt (AKA ‘seared’) pancakes, then cook them on high. But that’s usually what you’re trying to avoid.
You can grease the skillet with butter, oil or non stick spray (I chose spray). With a spoon or cookie scoop, drop a dollop of batter into the preheated skillet. Cook the pancakes on the first side for about 3-4 minutes, until the top starts to bubble a tiny bit and the edges start to cook. Flip the pancakes and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
While the pancakes are cooking, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Watch it closely. Don’t stir it, just swirl it in the pan occasionally. It will start to form little flakes and chunks and darken in color. Once it’s reached the brownness you like, remove from the heat and set it aside until your pancakes are done.
Stack the pancakes on your plate. Drench the stack in brown butter, sprinkle with pecans. DIG IN!
Adding coconut somewhere, anywhere, would also be delicious. The only coconut I had at home was sweetened, which went against my ‘no sugar’ rule.
You can not taste the flavor or texture of the raisins. They’re used as a way to sweeten the pancakes, without using processed sugars. Try this technique in quick breads, muffins, and waffles too. Dates also work well, and they don’t need to be boiled.
You can sub all purpose flour instead of whole wheat. You can also replace the applesauce with oil or butter too.
These are a terrific finger food for kids learning how to eat solids (around 8 months). My 11 month old gobbled these up like they were candy. I licked the brown butter off of the ones I gave her. Yes, I just said I LICKED her pancakes, then proceeded to feed them to her. You can nominate me for mom of the year anytime…