I like to tinker with recipes to see if I can lower the fat and calorie content and up the whole-grain fiber while still keeping it tasty. Sometimes, I must admit, I'm left with a sub-par result that winds up in the trash. But my blueberry-bran-buttermilk combo was very tasty, I thought. Here's the recipe--and you can do some tinkering yourself, which I'll expand on at the end. I doubled my original recipe, but you can halve or double it again if you've got a crowd.
1/2 cup bran (wheat, oat, corn, or a combination of all three)*
1/2 cup flour (I used 1/4 cup spelt + 1/4 cup white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (sifted)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 egg and 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
A pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Measure bran, flour, baking powder, soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together and make sure that baking powder and soda are well-incorporated and not in clumps (that's why sifting them is a good idea).
Whisk eggs and/or egg whites together until light. Add maple syrup or other sweetening, oil and buttermilk. Blend well and add spices, if using, and blueberries.
Pour wet mixture into dry, and mix using the whisk or a wooden spoon so that wet ingredients are just incorporated, but try to avoid over-mixing.
Use a few sprays of oil in a skillet or nonstick pan, and add batter when pan is hot but not scorching. Keep heat on medium and don't flip until you see edges of pancakes begin to brown and/or bubbles start to appear and pop in the batter. Recipe makes about 10 medium-sized pancakes, about 75 calories each. For Weight Watchers, the points-plus count is about two points each. Serve with maple syrup and butter if you like, though I was happy without the butter and with a generous dollop of blueberry or strawberry preserves, which ratchet up the sweetness--you might even label these babies "berry good"!
- Experiment with different flours, such as white or gluten-free.
- Try adding a few chopped walnuts or pecans.
- Use four egg whites or 1/2 cup egg substitute
- Use raspberries or strawberries instead of blueberries
- Instead of berries, add a tablespoon or two of preserves to the batter, barely mixing so that the pancakes are laced with sweet bits of jam.
- Substitute white or brown sugar, molasses or honey for the maple syrup
I bought a package labeled "Ultra Bran,"a mix of the three brans, at an L.A. health store, but it would be fine to use wheat or oat bran alone. I've never tried corn bran, but it may work as well.