The leaves are changing from vibrant green into lush shades or orange, red, and brown. That distinctive smell of logs on the fire hits me when I walk outside into the crisp chilly air! Oh how much I love the fall! We bundle up with family and warm mugs of tea, cider, hot chocolate or coffee. What also happens for me is I start craving things like pumpkin, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes. A few weeks ago these cravings led me to a brand new recipe for Carrot Cake Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal that blew my mind. Coincidentally this flavor combination was on other people’s minds as well it seems. Soon after, Heather from Halfsizeme.com sent me the results of her first call for recipes and there was a request for Carrot Cake Pancakes! (Heather and I have started a partnership where I guest blog and send in recipes her listeners have requested.)
But, there was a little catch No Flour in the recipe. No Flour… that one threw me for a loop for a moment. I tried several non flour recipes: Ricotta Cheese, Greek Yogurt, and Coconut Cream pancakes. All were extremely tasty but, when adding all the ingredients for carrot cake it was difficult to flip them and keep them together. The weight of the ingredients were just too much for these delicate recipes to handle.
How was I going to do this? How was I going to get those delicious pecans, bites of grated carrots, and juicy raisins to stay together in a “pancake” without flour. But, after a little kitchen experimenting I found there some innovative options to try. First, there was using Banana or Avocado as a thick base to keep it together. These worked for consistency but I don’t like banana and the avocado had an after taste to it. Nope not the answer…so I moved on. Then I found several innovative “meals and flours” that really could work for this recipe based on similar dishes around the world.
First, is the obvious coconut powder. I found several Asian waffles and pancake like dishes that used coconut and Bob’s Red Mill (among others) sells it at my local grocery store. I am not a huge fan of coconut so I didn’t try it myself. However, I saw enough recipes that had fluffy pancakes with this as their base flour to assume it had to work.
Then I thought back to my overnight Oatmeal and wondered if gluten free oatmeal flour would work. I had some in the cabinet so I gave it a try. I added 1/3 cup to a ricotta cheese batter and it came out perfectly fluffy. They were perfect until I remembered… no flour…not from grains anyway.
Then I looked in my cabinet and realized I had several different Dal flours. Dal is the Indian term for beans, peas, and legumes. You can grind these into light flours that are used for soups, baking, battering or frying. I’ve personally been addicted to this Moong Dal Flour I purchased at an Indian store. It is nice and light in flavor, plus I only needed 1/4 to 1/3 cup to hold it together. So I went with that one. Again perfection! Small fluffy pancakes or Johnny cakes was the result.
But, looking at Bob’s Red Mill site (because they seem to be the most widely available and economically priced at regular super markets around the country or online) I found there were tons and tons of other options like brown rice flours (also found in Asian waffle recipes), Quinoa Flour, Nut Flours/Meal (almond, walnut, pecan), Sorghum, Teff, White Bean, or even a protein powder.
Once the flour conundrum was solved the rest was pretty easy. I really like the batters that have less egg and are held together in stead by Ricotto or Greek Yogurt. So I added those to my bowl with my vanilla extract. I grated a few carrots and tossed that in as well. I personally don’t like using a lot of sugar so I added a couple of packets of raw sugar and some chopped golden delicious raisins into the batter. I also made some pecan meal/flour in my coffee grinder and added that to the batter. A few extra ingredients went in before I threw them onto my nonstick griddle! And Viola Carrot Cake Pancakes!
Not only did these little cakes taste great they are packed with wholesome nutrition that you can feel good about serving to yourself and family. So snuggle up with a mug of your favorite breakfast liquid and a plate of simple Carrot Cake Pancakes.
* This blog was first created by me for Heather from Halfsizeme.com. I am posting it here for my friends and family to enjoy as well
CARROT CAKE PANCAKES
4 Baby carrots grated or 1 medium carrot
1/4 cup Pecan meal/flour (made mine in a coffee grinder)
2 Tbsp Raisins (regular or golden delicious)
2 Tbsp Fat Free Ricotta Cheese or Coconut Cream or Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
4 packets Sugar in the Raw
1 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
1/4 cup Moong Dal/Bean Flour
can add bits of dried coconut to this mixture as well.
flour: there are lots of alternate flours and meals as listed above
sugar: date sugar is also a great alternative to regular sugar or fake sweetners
Please note: I made two versions one without flour which turned into really thin crepe like pancakes. They tasted great but, didn’t stay together the way I personally like them to…they were 55 calories per pancake. I then made a second version using 1/4 cup Moong Bean Flour and they were 73 calories per pancake.
Finely grate the carrots
If making your own pecan meal grind in a coffee grinder. If you want larger pieces of pecan simply chop by hand.
In a large bowl beat egg, vanilla extract, ricotta cheese, pumpkin spice and sugar together with a whisk until there are no lumps.
Add in carrot, pecans, coconut pieces (optional), flaxseed meal and raisins. Continue to whisk until full incorporated.
Add the “Flour” 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk until smooth.
Heat a nonstick griddle. Once the griddle is hot scoop 1.5 tablespoon of mixture at time onto griddle and spread into small Johnny cakes. Wait 1-2 minutes (when bubbles have formed) before flipping over. Cook on the opposite and remove after 2 minutes.
CARROTS: Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Potassium, Vitamin B6, B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Folate. Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds, and the richest vegetable source of the pro-vitamin A carotenes. Carrots’ antioxidant compounds help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision. Carotenoids are linked with lowering certain cancers including breast, lung and colon cancer, useful in regulating blood sugar, and reducing the risk of heart disease. If you or someone you love is a smoker, or if you are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, then making vitamin A-rich foods, such as carrots, part of your healthy way of eating may save your life, suggests research conducted at Kansas State University. Molybdenum is a trace mineral. It is a component of several important interactions that lead to detoxification of the liver. Molybdenum is involved in breaking down certain amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and the production of waste products for excretion in the urine. It is involved in the chemical reactions that form bone, cartilage and blood.
RAISINS: A good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin K, is one of the best sources of the trace mineral boron, and also provides a concentrated amount of polyphenolic phytonutrients.
The phenols found in fruit, like raisin, have repeatedly been show to have antioxidant activity and to help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells in the body. The flavonols (one type of phenol belonging to the flavonoid family) in raisins appear to be least affected by the grape-drying process, but raisins do contain fewer phenols than grapes since many of grape’s phenols are largely lost in the conversion of grapes to raisins. These phenols include the hydroxycinnamics (caftaric and coutaric acids), procyanidins, and flavan-3-ols.
PECANS: high in Vitamin E, Copper, Manganese, and good source of Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Thiamin, Fiber and Protein. This buttery nut is filled with B- complex vitamins which are particularly helpful in regulating your mood and are co-factors for enzymes needed to keep your metabolism going. Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol; provides about 25g per100 g. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen free radicals.