I frequently used to spend my Sunday mornings at the stove cooking up a big batch of pancakes for the week, and so I was very excited when I saw a recipe for Sheet-Pan Chocolate Chip Pancakes by Jerrelle Guy. Same time to mix up the batter, but then bakes in 15 minutes—and I don’t have to stand there and watch it happen. Certainly worth a try, I thought.

The outcome was yummy and, happily, passed my daughter’s taste-test. As I shared about it on Facebook, with a photo and explaining my ingredient substitutions, I realized that despite the nine items on the ingredients list (not counting the optional maple syrup for serving, which we also didn’t use), there were only four that made it into my batter: baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. And now that number is down to three since I prefer to make this recipe with fruit instead chocolate chips.

So I decided to write this blog to show you how I adapt recipes. It may seem complicated, but it’s become second nature to me. When it comes to baking, I rely on established recipes for proportions of ingredients, but after that I usually get creative. In fact, once I figured out the basics, I tossed all of my gluten-free cookbooks.

My Recipe Adaptations

The original recipe calls for 11 tablespoons of butter—three for oiling the pan and 8 for the batter. I grease the pan with olive oil spray, and substitute avocado oil for butter in the batter.

The original recipe calls for buttermilk and whole milk. I use almond milk (or should I say almond beverage?). There are actually plenty of suggestions for nondairy substitutes for buttermilk, such as adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the nondairy beverage of choice. I’ve tried it and it tastes fine, but I didn’t think it added anything noticeable to the flavor. So, in the spirit of what I’ve learned from “minimalist” cookbook author Mark Bittman, I always strive to make recipes less complicated without sacrificing taste, and eliminated that ingredient.

The original recipe calls for wheat flour. I use my personal gluten-free blend—one-third each oat flour, corn flour and almond flour. As I’ve written before, I don’t like the texture of the GF blends (I think my problem is the rice flour) when baked.

The recipe calls for sugar—I use coconut sugar (which has about half the glycemic index of cane sugar and doesn’t cause any reaction in my body the way cane sugar does). If you want to brighten the flavor a bit, it’s amazing what an added squeeze of honey can do.

I did add vanilla extract and cinnamon. They never fail to enhance the flavor and I add them to almost every sweet thing that I make.

I simplified some of the steps as well—mixing in a bowl instead of a food processor (which is always a nuisance to take out and takes up a lot of space in the dishwasher)…I did not pre-heat the pan before adding the batter (I forgot once, and it baked just fine without doing so)…I’m not going to broil at the end to brown the top anymore (I haven’t been able to get the timing right, and it always burns a bit, as you might tell from the photo).

Leftovers store beautifully and are a quick and healthy breakfast, to which I typically add some fresh fruit and a handful of nuts on the side. Simply reheat in the toaster oven. I cut into squares and store with some waxed paper between the layers of pancake. You can freeze them this way too.

Ingredients:

1 cup oat flour
1 cup corn flour
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon honey (optional)
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with olive oil spray, then line with parchment paper. (The oil keeps the parchment in place.)
Combine all dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to thoroughly integrate.
Add all wet ingredients, and mix until dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
Gently stir in blueberries.
Spread batter evenly onto sheet pan using a spatula.
Bake 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting.

Variations: Once mixed, you can split the batter in half to make two different varieties.

  • Try with other fruits, such as chopped apples or pears.
  • Add a mashed banana or canned pumpkin to the batter. (You could even halve the amount of oil since these add a lot of moisture.)
  • Add chopped nuts.
  • For a sweet treat, add chocolate chips—but not as advised in the original recipe, which suggests sprinkling them over the top. They burned and/or fell off when I tried that (this could be a function of the GF flours not holding the chips). Instead, mix chips into the batter. This is particularly tasty with mashed banana in the batter too.
  • For a savory sensation, nix the fruit, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Instead add freshly minced onion to the batter and sprinkle the top with everything bagel spice blend.
  • If you miss the crispy edges of pan-baked pancakes, you can drop this batter by spoon instead of baking all together. It’s still less time than cooking on the stove. Cut baking time—10 to 12 minutes or so.