That is, if your ordinary Sundays include lots of hearts, chocolate, cookies from friends, and a new, beautiful, handmade centerpiece. If so, lucky you to live such a charmed life!
But, for the rest of us commoners, it was Valentine's Day. Which, I realize, is a love-it-or-hate-it sort of holiday for most people (I've always been a bit ambivalent towards it myself). But as a food-lover, it is a great excuse to shower everyone around me with extra-special goodies, and the older I've gotten, the more I've found myself embracing the day. Also, now that I've got a husband and kids, going out of my way to express love doesn't feel quite so artificial and forced as it used to. Because there's nothing wrong with a little heartfelt gesture every now and then, right?
So we marked the day with some breakfast symbolism (as Kalen likes to remind us, "Hearts are for love"), a mid-day snack of ultra-rich hot chocolate with whipped cream, a box of fancy bonbons, and delicious homemade pizza for dinner (using my latest version of gf crusty boule dough as a base - more on that another time!). It was all delicious, and - in our family, at least - the perfect way to say "I love you" all day long.
As it was Sunday, Kalen insisted that we keep with tradition and start our day with pancakes. But I had to do something to make it feel festive. So I tweaked our standard recipe, by folding in some extra egg whites that I had whipped into a firm meringue. I also scraped in the seeds from 1/4 of a vanilla bean, because in my experience you just can't go wrong with vanilla in your pancakes. It gave them just enough oomph to feel decadent, but still breakfast-y. As Josh said, "They're richer, yet fluffier." Exactly.
My pancake recipe is adapted from one in the late, great Bette Hagman's More From the Gluten-Free Gourmet cookbook. She actually called hers drop scones, but I call them the only pancakes my pancake-hating husband will not only eat, but request. They're thick and sturdy, and don't give you a laden-stomach feeling after you eat them. And the leftovers are nice later in the day, toasted and topped with peanut butter. Oh, and the heart shapes? Totally optional, but they do seem to up the enjoyment factor.
makes 12-14 pancakes
2 cups gf flour mix (I use my all-purpose blend)
2/3 tsp xanthan gum
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
5 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp dark corn syrup
4 Tbsp butter, melted
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1/4 vanilla bean pod
In a medium bowl, blend the flour and xanthan gum. Add the whole eggs and beat into the flour mixture, gradually adding the milk.
Add the sugar, syrup, butter, baking powder, and salt. Beat well.
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the egg whites. Whip the whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Gently fold them into the batter. (If we're going to add berries to the pancakes, we fold them in now.)
Drop the batter by the quarter-cup onto a medium-hot, lightly buttered skillet. Cook as for any pancake, but since these are thicker, they will need to cook longer, so make sure your pan isn't too hot or the centers won't cook through. Serve hot.
Posted by Tara Barker at 11:51 AM