An ode to coconut flour

It's quiet in here. I've been on a bit of a hiatus lately.

Part I is best called, "Weeks where I worked entirely too much and burnt myself out." Around here, Part II is titled, "...and then I got sick and was forced to relax and recharge." There may have been good food and some wine involved. I won't tell you how many glasses were consumed in the interest of keeping scorn and judgement at bay, but suffice to say there was plenty of spirited recklessness around these parts and it was whole-heartedly deserved. And, suffice to say, not a whole lot of writing has been going on. I'm sorry. On the plus side, I give you Kurt Elling. Swoon away.

Part III, I'm calling: "coconut flour, you scoundrel!"

My sister came to visit a couple of weekends ago. I gave her a tour of Toronto, which to me means a day at the beach and an afternoon shopping, nights spent eating and drinking and generally having a good time. I found a casual black dress to wear frolicking about town, and a rug for my living room, and I ate ice cream while walking through Pride. I watched the fireworks, and I read voraciously, and mostly I sat back and let life happen for a little while. La vie est belle, non?

And I made these pancakes. Now, I'm not much of a sweets-for-breakfast kind of girl. Mostly I eat granola and plain yogurt for breakfast, topped perhaps with some (fabulous) local peanut butter or chia seeds or fresh fruit. Sometimes I'll eat eggs in some form or another. In the cooler months, I'm partial to oatmeal and hot cereal. But every now and again, like clockwork, invariably a craving for pancakes takes up residence and I'm forced to submit. Unlike traditional pancakes made with bleached all-purpose flour, this version is healthy, slightly fluffy and full of fantastic flavour (even before the maple syrup.) Not much surprises me anymore. I don't feel like every turn in the kitchen automatically enlists me in some game-changing event. I don't need to re-invent classics or develop innovative dishes. A good meal is always worth celebrating, whether it is enjoyed at a four-star restaurant made at the hands of talented chefs, or a humble, simple meal prepared at home and eaten among old friends. I like cool techniques, well-considered approaches, fresh flavours. I'm always thrown when asked to prepare a dish. Most of what I make is simple fare, hardly impressive. But every now and then something comes around and changes my life, and let me tell you, coconut flour is one of those things. Now, I've known about it for a while. I've heard others sing its praises and virtues. But, like most things, it took me a while to catch on. You needn't wait for a special occasion. Wake up on a lazy weekend morning, start the coffee (or the tea!), and make these pancakes while the sun is dancing in your kitchen and your body is full of energy. Proceed with an adventurous spirit, head held high, and act, even if you don't believe in it, optimistic for a moment. Eat these pancakes with a smile, day ahead of you, and surrender to the next part, whatever form it takes.

(Photo credit: Laura Berneche)

Coconut Flour Pancakes with Blueberries
Adapted from Erica Kerwien
Yields 6 silver dollar-sized pancakes, or 2-3 servings

3 (room temperature) large eggs
1 tsp grapeseed or olive oil
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder (make sure it's gluten-free!)
1 tsp maple syrup
2-3 tbsp coconut flour
1/8 tsp kosher or sea salt
Handful of fresh or frozen (defrosted) blueberries

Additional maple syrup and/or butter for serving

1. Separate your egg yolks from your egg whites. Beat the egg whites until they develop soft peaks. Set aside.
2. Combine all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt) and whisk together thoroughly to incorporate.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together all wet ingredients (lightly beaten egg yolks, maple syrup, vanilla and oil), leaving the blueberries out.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients. Beat everything together on a low until just combined. Carefully fold in the egg whites, followed by the blueberries.
5. Heat a skillet, preferably a cast iron one, to medium-high. Add the batter. Unlike traditional pancakes, you may not get the bubbles on these pancakes that signify they've finished cooking. Instead, you'll have to check the bottoms to see if they've crisped up enough. I find that you can tell if they're finished because the ends will curl up a little.

Serve immediately with maple syrup, butter and additional blueberries if desired.

*Note: these do not re-heat well.


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