Camping season is here! Pack a bag of homemade gluten free pancake mix and you can quickly whip up a batch of fluffy pancakes, tender waffles, biscuits, or even a batch of moist, sweet muffins. (Skip to recipe.)
Certain foods always make me think of camping: canned spaghetti and meatballs, canned peas, and pancakes made from pancake mix, in a cast iron pan. Every spring mom would stock up the camper with its summer supply of special camping foods - items we were never allowed to eat at home and ingredients she never cooked with in her kitchen. These foods were chosen for their convenience and failsafe storage life, but in our young minds they rivaled the highest class meals our imaginations could conjure (never having eaten in 'real' restaurants). Beef stew in cans, those teeny little cocktail sausages in cans, bags of marshmallows, boxes of Ritz crackers, jars of orange Cheez Whiz, even bacon in cans. It was an extravaganza of exotic foods that seemed somehow magical in their oddness. Our regular fare of healthy, delicious home-cooked-everything paled in comparison to this wonderland of taste sensations that heralded the beginning of summer's outdoor adventures in the wilderness.
Dad was an avid and intrepid fisherman, dragging his family off to camp in remote locations beside pristine lakes. We'd drive several hours, with us five girls lounging on the bed up in the camper overhang, faces pressed to the window (no seatbelts in sight) watching the road ahead. Then as soon as we got to whatever lake dad had chosen, he'd get the boat into the water and head off to fish. We girls had a blast, helping set up camp, running around waving sticks, and roasting wieners on the campfire. I always had a stack of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries packed along and would often sneak off to shady forest nooks to read for hours at a time, between turns on the boat with dad and games of hide and seek with my younger sisters. After we'd built up a healthy hunger, we'd get to eat those delicious camping meals, heated on the campstove or cooked over the fire. It was heaven.
I know that Mom's memories of those camping trips were a whole different version altogether, not quite as rosy as ours. For her, camping just meant all the work of home but done in more cramped surroundings and with much less convenience, plus all the packing up and organizing for a family of seven. She dealt with feeding us all, doling out bedding, and bug spray and bandaids, breaking up squabbles, hauling water, chasing toddlers, tending the fire, and corralling us bigger kids to help with chores. Then when she got home, she had to unpack everything and catch up on all the yard, farm, and garden work she'd gotten behind on while gone. It was no picnic.
Camping is easier nowadays, with all kinds of helpful conveniences and gadgety camping gear. But you still have to cook to some degree, so take along a bag of this handy gluten free pancake mix to make your outdoor life even easier.
If you were backpacking in the wilderness and didn't want to haul along oil, eggs, and milk, this pancake mix will even work with just water, though the texture isn't quite as luxurious or rich (but good to know, in case you were ever in dire straits.)
Or just keep a jar of pancake mix in the cupboard for making a quick batch of pancakes or waffles on those busy school morning, or fresh muffins for an after school snack, or biscuits to go along with that pot of soup. I'm sure you'll be able to think up even more handy uses for it, once you start baking with it.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: I like to use quinoa flour in this pancake mix because of its healthy high protein content, however, if you've ever used quinoa flour before you'll know it has a strong grassy flavour, which can even be somewhat bitter. Toasting the flour is the key to taming that bitterness and turning it into a nutty, complex flavour that blends well with the other flours. See instructions for toasting quinoa flour at the bottom of this post. I like to toast two 9x13" pans at a time and have it on hand for all kinds of baking.
Citric acid is the kind of acid found in citrus fruits. You may not have it in your cupboard, but it is worth searching out - in health food stores or drugstores - to have on hand for making this pancake mix. It takes the place of the acid that would be in buttermilk if you used it in these pancakes, and makes for a more tender dough. It reacts with the baking soda once liquid is added, to give the pancakes and baked goods some extra lift. (Remember those school projects mixing baking soda and vinegar to make a foaming volcano?)
I have tried the pancake mix without the psyllium husks and it does turn out well if you're just making pancakes (though adding it in makes them a bit more springy), but if you want to use the mix for making any of the other variations, the psyllium husk powder or whole husks helps to give a better, cohesive structure to the baked goods.
- 1½ cups (225gms) brown rice flour
- 1 cup oat (100gms) oat flour
- 1 cup (120gms) sorghum flour
- 1 cup (120gms) toasted quinoa flour* (see how to toast it below) or millet flour or 1 additional cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup (150gms) sweet rice flour
- 1 cup (120gms) tapioca starch or arrowroot starch
- ¼ cup (50gms) sugar
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons citric acid crystals
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder or 2½ tablespoons whole psyllium husks (optional)
Whisk all ingredients together well in a large bowl or shake together well in a large container with a lid. Store the gluten free pancake mix in an airtight container for 3 to 4 months at room temperature (if you started with fresh flours) or keep in the freezer for longer storage.
Makes 7 cups pancake mix.
*Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancake Mix: Replace the sorghum flour and the quinoa or millet flour with 2 cups of buckwheat flour.
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Label the pancake mix container with mixing instructions as follows.
To prepare PANCAKES:
For each 1 cup (14ogms) pancake mix, add:
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ to ¾ cup (120-180ml) milk, non-dairy milk, or water
(Can be made with ¼ cup applesauce to replace egg, or can even be made without the egg.)
Whisk together, starting with the lesser amount of liquid to make a smooth, slightly thick pancake batter. Add more liquid if needed, or add an extra spoonful of mix if it's too runny. Drop large spoonfuls onto a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium heat. Cook, flipping halfway through, until browned on both sides.
Each 1 cup pancake mix stirred up with egg, oil, and milk, makes six 4-inch pancakes.
Optional add-ins to your pancake batter. When preparing your pancakes:
- Add ½ teaspoon cinnamon or vanilla per cup of pancake mix
- Add a handful of chocolate chips, raisins, or other chopped dried fruit
- Add a handful of grated or chopped fresh apple
- Add a handful of fresh or frozen berries, or chopped fresh strawberries
- Add a handful of chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts are good)
- Add sliced bananas to the top side of the uncooked pancake, then flip and cook
- Sprinkle the top side of the uncooked pancake with chia seeds, then flip and cook
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To make WAFFLES from the pancake mix:
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup (240ml) milk (or non-dairy milk)
- 1½ cups (210gms) pancake mix
Whisk together the eggs, oil, and milk. Whisk in the pancake mix until no lumps remain. Pour large spoonfuls onto a lightly greased, preheated waffle maker and bake until golden brown, according to waffle maker instructions.
Makes six 6-inch waffles.
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To make MUFFINS from the pancake mix:
- 1 egg
- ½ cup (120ml) oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar or ¼ cup (60ml) honey
- 1 cup (240ml) mashed banana, applesauce, or yogurt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon or 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ cups (210gms) gluten free pancake mix
- optional add-ins: ½ cup of either chopped nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, shredded apple or carrot
Whisk together first five ingredients. Stir in pancake mix, just until most lumps are gone. Stir in any add-in (or combination thereof) you wish to add.
Line a muffin tin with paper muffin liners. Divide the batter among them.
Bake 375°F for 18 to 20 minutes, until the top of a muffin springs back when lightly pressed. Let the muffins cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a rack to finish cooling.
Makes 12 muffins.
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To make BISCUITS from the pancake mix:
- 2 cups (280gms) pancake mix
- ½ cup (113gms) cold butter (preferably salted)
- ½ cup (120ml) milk (or non-dairy milk)
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Cut the butter into the pancake mix with two knives or a pastry blender, until the butter chunks are approximately pea-sized. Stir in the milk, mix with a fork until moistened, then mix quickly and lightly with your hands until most of the mixture comes together into a ball. Try not to break up all the butter pieces - you should still be able to see some chunks. The dough will be quite stiff, but don't be tempted to add more milk because if it is too moist, the biscuits won't hold together.
Pat the dough into a ¾ inch (2cm) thick circle. Cut out biscuits with a 2-2¼ inch (5-6cm) biscuit cutter or drinking glass. Reroll the scraps to make the final biscuits. Place the biscuits onto a greased baking pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden at the edges. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes before removing.
Makes 9 biscuits.
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*How to toast quinoa flour: Spread quinoa flour into a ¼ to ½ inch (1cm) thick layer in a rimmed baking sheet (use whatever size baking sheet you need for the amount of flour you're toasting). Toast in a 225°F oven for about 2½ hours, stirring several times during baking, until the flour is golden in colour and smells toasty. Let cool in pan, then store in airtight container.
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