Let's Talk about Pancakes: Healthier Topping Alternatives
So it’s pancake day and it would be rude not to indulge in a pancake or two, but if you’re trying to cut down on sugar or generally eat healthier, you may not want to cover your pancakes with Nutella or bacon & maple syrup (although, once a year won’t hurt…)
Flour, (which is not as bad as some people make out, unless you are gluten intolerant or Coeliac), a little milk and some eggs… The pancakes themselves aren’t that bad for you, especially if sharing a batch of batter between a few people (read below for a classic flourless pancake you could try, or why not adapt a regular batter and use wholemeal flour to improve the nutrition of the pancakes?).
The pitfall is the topping; usually laden with sugar and fats and excess calories. Try swapping the Nutella, bacon or syrups for one of these…
Swap Nutella for…
Crushed Roasted Hazelnuts & Dark Chocolate Sauce
• Pop the oven on to 180°c
• Lay some skinless hazelnuts on a baking tray and pop in the oven for 5 minutes
• Melt down some dark chocolate (70% or more; the higher the % the less sugar) - for a more runny sauce slowly add some almond milk to the chocolate and gradually mix into the chocolate whilst over the heat.
• Once the hazelnuts are golden, take them out of the oven to cool down
• Pour the dark chocolate over your pancakes
• Crush the hazelnuts and sprinkle over the dark chocolate… enjoy!
Something sweet & salty?
Peanut-ty Sauce & Caramelized Banana
• Slice a banana into ½ cm slices
• In a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat pop a tea spoon of coconut oil in and let heat up (coconut oil gives a nice flavour and has a high burning point which is good for caramelizing. Rapeseed oil or butter could also be used)
• Add the banana to the pan and let sizzle; the banana can stick so watch carefully; let it go golden on each side (about 3 minutes each side) and pop into your pancakes
• No extra sugar is needed, the banana will caramelize if hot enough with it’s own fructose!
• In a small bowl, mix 3 parts peanut butter powder* to 1 part almond or regular milk (thickness can vary so play around).
Add a pinch of salt and honey to flavour for a yummy peanut sauce that contains no palm oil, much less salt, calories, fat and sugar than regular shop bought peanut butter. Plus it’s runny and can therefore be drizzled over the pancakes and caramelized banana!!
(*Peanut butter powder is purely ground peanuts with 50-70% of the fat removed – lots of brands and can be found in large supermarkets and health stores)
• Super quick, sweet and full of vitamins!
• Heat up a non-stick pan
• Add a punnet of blueberries (raspberries work well too) to the pan
• Add a tbsp. water
• Let the berries soften and reduce down to form a thick runny & juicy sauce
Note: when it cools down it will thicken and go sticky super quickly so don’t wait too long to pour over your pancakes
For added crunch, try sprinkling a blend of milled linseed that contain other healthy ingredients like freeze dried berries, pumpkin seeds or sesame.
Mix and match!
Berry sauce, caramelized banana and roast hazelnuts!
Or mix the dark chocolate with the peanut butter powder to make a thick peanut-chocolate sauce.
Or Peanut butter Jelly… the berry sauce + peanut butter sauce… need I say more?
You could try the sauces or dark chocolate and crushed hazelnuts over the classic flourless pancake that uses ripe banana as the base...
How to make (Serves 1-2):
• Blend or mash a large soft, ripe banana (the more black spots the better!) with a dash of milk (any sort works, I used almond milk)
• Whisk in 2 medium eggs
• Cook like normal pancakes!
You can also add a scoop of oats for some extra texture or add a tbsp. peanut powder if you love peanut butter flavour! This will also add some extra protein and goodness!
Note: these will come out more like a thicker American pancake rather than a thin crepe
Article by Hannah Norris