Written by Sharon Kaufman, Contributing Writer
We don't eat pancakes too often anymore, but for Valentine's Day breakfast I'll be serving these luscious oatmeal pancakes to my hubby. After all, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, right? Even after 34 years of marriage, this still holds true for my sweetheart.
A healthy alternative pancake syrup
The syrup I serve with pancakes is a concoction I came up with when the price of organic maple syrup went through the roof. The best price I've found for organic maple syrup is $17.99 (quart) at Whole Foods (their own 365 brand). But even at that, it was prohibitive for my budget. So I punted.
My "maple" flavored syrup, costs about a third of organic maple syrup and its' simple to make. Granulated coconut palm sugar is the base (the one I like is SweetTree Organic Unrefined - High Nutrient Blonde Coconut Palm Sugar).
Palm Sugar - Nutritionally Dense
One of the great things about this sweetener, besides the cost, is that it is a healthier choice than maple syrup and many other sugars as well. Coconut palm sugar is made from the sweet flower blossom nectar of the green coconut tree, coco nucifera, and contains lots of minerals and other nutrients. The nectar is boiled and then dried and granulated.
A sustainable sweetener
Another advantage is that this sweetener is an ecologically sound product. A blurb from the back of the package states, Tropical palms are an ecologically beneficial tree crop that grow in diverse, wild-life supportive agro-ecosystems, restore damaged soils and require little water. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported that palm sugars are the single most sustainable sweetener in the world.
Other uses for coconut palm sugar syrup
Whatever you'd use raw honey, organic maple syrup, stevia, or regular sugar for...this syrup can serve as a substitute. We use it for smoothies, for sweetening whipped cream, yogurt, baked oatmeal, etc. Use it as you would use organic maple syrup. It is just about the same consistency.
An Addendum: One sweetener I won't use
I thought I should add just a little info about a sweetener that is currently labeled as healthy. Recent research has disclosed the truth about this so-called healthy alternative sweetener, however.
Of course, as some of you may know, I am referring to agave nectar. I used this syrup for several years and loved it. Easier to measure than honey, it became my favorite sweetener until I read this article from Dr. Joseph Mercola.
Oatmeal Whole Wheat Pancakes
Note: For all who are sensitive to gluten, these pancakes are made with wheat flour and therefore are not gluten free.
1 1/2 fresh organic whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled organic oats (not quick-cooking type)
2 cups organic cultured buttermilk
3 eggs (from pastured chickens is best), slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon real sea salt
1/2 teaspoon stevia extract (optional)
2 tablespoons melted organic butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
butter or coconut oil for griddle
The day before: Combine buttermilk, flour and oats; cover bowl and "soak" for 12 - 24 hours in a warm place. (For information regarding why wheat, oats, and other seed foods should be "soaked" before preparation, please go here for a brief explanation, then scroll down the page to the subtitle A Real Food Lesson.)
The following morning: Stir in eggs, salt, stevia, butter and baking soda. Batter will begin to increase in volume as soon as baking soda is added. Batter will also be thicker than other whole grain or white flour batters, but if it seems too thick to ladle, add a little milk to thin. Cook on a hot, oiled or buttered cast-iron griddle or skillet (for best results). Since these pancakes cook slower than other recipes, be careful not to burn. Serve with melted butter and coconut palm syrup (recipe follows), top with whipped cream and fresh berries. Makes 8-10 four-inch pancakes.
Coconut Palm Sugar Pancake Syrup
4 cups granulated coconut palm sugar
2 cups filtered water
1 tablespoon natural maple flavoring (I use Frontier brand - see photo)
1 tablespoon stevia extract or to taste (optional)
pinch real sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat just until sugar is dissolved (do not boil). Serve warm syrup over pancakes, waffles, etc.
For instructions about how to make whipped cream go here. This recipe was posted when I was still using organic maple syrup so just replace that with the palm sugar syrup, if desired.