18 weeks ago today, I joined Slimming World. I’m very much hoping that later today at my weekly weigh in, I’ve finally hit my first 2 stone (28 lbs) loss award but I won’t know until after this post has been published. Meanwhile, why don’t you tuck into some of my incredible Syn Free Oat Pancakes? Honestly, I can’t imagine a better Saturday morning brunch.
It’s been a long time since I had pancakes. When I started SW, eating what in essence could be described as cake for breakfast, was very far from my mind. I had gotten into a real state nutritionally speaking, and I was more than ready to ditch the baking for good (along with all the dirty, nasty, greasy takeaways I was abusing myself with) for good.
It sounds bonkers to those of you who have been around since the beginning of my blog (who remembers Jo Blogs Jo Bakes?), when it was all about the cake, but the reality of being a baking blogger/cake maker is that the occasional slice rapidly becomes a daily ritual, even if it is just out of the necessity of not wasting the bakes you’ve made to photograph or the experiments you need to make in order to come up with new recipes. It’s hard life, I know 😉These Syn Free Oat Pancakes are the perfect weekend brunch for those with a sweet tooth but who want a healthier (and #glutenfree) alternative 😀 #swuk #synfreebreakfastClick To Tweet
Anyway, I still don’t miss the sugar but it’s not out of some self-righteous deprivation, no, it is because I get my sweetness from more nutritionally robust sources these days. Plus, if you want to change your diet for good, you need to get inventive with meal ideas as getting stuck in a rut is the fastest way in falling back into your old bad habits. My Oat Pancakes are the result of me getting a little tired of my go to breakfast of yogurt, fruit and a little sugar-free naturally-sweetened granola.
Let’s start with the main ingredient – porridge oats.
On SW, you are allowed 40g of oats every day as your Healthy Extra Option B (aka your daily fibre quotient). As, for some unknown reason, I accidentally stockpiled about 3kg of oats I poured a couple of bags into [easyazon_link identifier=”B00U13QK32″ locale=”UK” tag=”evnocr-21″]my food processor[/easyazon_link] and turned them into a reasonably finely ground oat flour. Don’t worry if there are a few flakes remaining, it doesn’t matter for these pancakes.
Now, as you might imagine, over four months with a very much limited intake of refined sugar, your tastes change quite a bit. For me, I find that the oats are intrinsically sweet enough to not add artificial sweetener when I am eating them with a towering tumble of fresh fruit. If you are new to this, or want to eat the pancakes without any toppings, then you might want to add a bit of sweetener to taste. I am really not a fan of artificial sweeteners in general but after trying out a few, mostly for research purposes, I found [easyazon_link identifier=”B072159KGH” locale=”UK” tag=”evnocr-21″]Sukrin Gold[/easyazon_link] (again, I am not sponsored by them!) to have the most pleasant taste with little or no aftertaste. Use whichever brand you like.
The pancake batter is simplicity itself. Simply whisk up the ingredients, leave it to stand for a short time to thicken then cook in a good nonstick pan with a little oil spray. All pancake batters benefit from a little rest before cooking with them.
I use either Aldi’s own brand of oil spray or if I am feeling flush (or it is on offer), I treat myself to some Frylight, as it tends to be quite pricey! If you are on SW too, do feel free to use other brands but double check which are Syn Free as technically, not all brands or types of spray oil are.
Bizarrely, I find that I really like the flavour of coconut Frylight but I can’t stand the flavour of coconut oil, in it’s semi-solid more common form. I can’t explain it, but the latter makes me gag (I rant a little bit about it in this post)! Frylight (as well as other brands) tend to have quite a strong smell when they are heating up in the pan but the coconut one has this gorgeous, sweet, almost vanillary flavour that works beautifully with my Oat Pancakes.
A good quality nonstick frying pan is the most essential bit of kit you can have in your cooking arsenal when you are looking to minimise the amount of added fat you use. My one was a real find in TK Maxx – it’s a non-toxic coated ceramic frying pan by the American company Bliss. It’s a dream to cook with and laughably easy to wash up when you are done. I haven’t tried them myself but a good foodie friend (shout out to Regan) whose opinion I trust really rates [easyazon_link identifier=”B00C2D1TS0″ locale=”UK” tag=”evnocr-21″]Greenpan[/easyazon_link], which are easier to find in the UK. A worthy investment, whichever you go for!
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Like ordinary wheat-flour pancakes, these oaty ones are cooking over a moderately high heat before flipping. The first tend to be a bit misshapen but don’t let that worry you! I will hold a pancake-themed parade the day I produce a perfectly round one, lol.
After a few short moments, wee little bubbles will start to appear. When you have them reasonably well distributed over the whole of the pancake surface, the edges will start to look dry or “set”, and you are ready to flip. Don’t be tempted to try and persuade them to move before then or your pancakes may well be served with a side of tears!
Oat pancakes are more fragile than wheat-flour ones, so this step is important but please don’t let this stop you from making them. They lack the protein gluten so if they aren’t quite set, they they will tear as you flip. Not much of a problem unless you are trying to impress someone with breakfast in bed and want them to look as good as they will definitely taste!
Another tip for you – give the pancakes an extra spritz of oil before you flip them to the second side to cook. It’s an extra insurance against stickage, although my [easyazon_link identifier=”B07DJB6NXY” locale=”UK” tag=”evnocr-21″]Bliss ceramic pan[/easyazon_link] is amazing and I have never had a pancake stick. Result!
Just look at them puff! Honestly, when I decided that it was time to try and make nutritious and delicious pancakes, I didn’t hold out much hope. Admittedly, the idea was planted in my head years ago by my beloved Nigella in her book [easyazon_link identifier=”0701189355″ locale=”UK” tag=”evnocr-21″]Simply Nigella[/easyazon_link] but after a good foodie friend tried them and wasn’t keen, I put the idea out of my mind and didn’t try making some for myself.
I guess the prospect of never having my all-time favourite breakfast again finally won out and I started experimenting with my own pancake recipe, utilising some of the principles of SW to make them guilt-free and good for me. I am here to report that there is absolutely no compromise in the eating pleasure, when substituting Oat Pancakes for wheat-filled ones! They are light and fluffy, sweet and even a little buttery and I really can’t get over how much they resemble the totally hedonistic pleasure of my Thick Puffy Pancakes. It didn’t take a lot of fiddling or any strange substitutions to create my latest pancake recipe.
Now, time for a little confession. The photo below evidences me drizzling a tablespoon of maple syrup over my hot and steamy stack. What can I say? I am human! The thing is, after months of abstinence, it was like the syrup had been injected directly into my blood stream and I was jittery as hell all day after this photo shoot, lol! The things I do for a sexy food photo 😉 Future pancakes have been nekid and I like them just the way they are!
I top my pancakes with a dollop of thick and creamy 0% fat Greek yogurt (I buy Aldi’s own brand one, Brooklea but Fage is very similar) and as many blueberries as I can fit on the plate! Again, before SW, I wouldn’t have contemplated eating blueberries on their own, i.e. without cooking them into a sticky compote first, but really, they are sweet and juicy enough not to do that. Pile on the fruit, trickle over a measured amount of syrup or just use your favourite flavoured yogurt. However you have these Oat Pancakes, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
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