New cookbooks have been arriving at my doorstep every week this past month, and I get the same excitement each time I open up a new package. I hope you’re not tired of me sharing cookbook recipes here because I have a few more coming your way in the next weeks.
One that I’ve particularly been awaiting the arrival of is Heather Crosby’s latest cookbook, Pantry to Plate.
I’ve been a longtime admirer of Heather’s work and my heart skipped a beat when I got a personal email from her asking me if I would like to receive an advanced copy of her book. I couldn’t be happier to tell you about Heather and her new creation here today.
If you’re even slightly interested in healthy eating and have never visited Yum Universe before, get ready, because you’re in it for a treat. Heather’s site is a bible for all things relating to food and nutrition. On top of hundreds of healthy/plant-based/gluten-free recipes, her site offers meal plans, a membership program and even an online course on gluten-free baking.
Pantry to Plate is Heather’s second cookbook (make sure to check out her first book too, Yum Universe). This new book is more than just a cookbook, it’s an approachable and intuitive guide to plant-based eating. But what makes it so special is the mix & match recipe “templates”, which allow you to customize recipes based on your preferences or on the ingredients you have in your pantry to create your perfect meal.
I’m all for intuitive cooking (99% of the time I don’t follow recipes exactly as they’re written out), so I can’t help but love the freedom these templates give me. And the possibilities are endless! All you have to do is choose a base recipe (there are 30 “templates” for things like burgers, tacos, fries, soups, brownies, cookies, bars, ice creams, etc.) and customize it with your favourite flavours and add-ins, following Heather’s guidance and suggestions. This means that this book offers over 350,000 recipe options (!!!).
The pancakes & waffles “template” quickly got my attention. I haven’t had much luck with vegan and gluten-free pancakes in the past – most recipes I’ve tried required too many ingredients, or the texture wasn’t quite right. They can definitely be tricky, but I knew I could count on Heather to come up with a version that would be wholesome and nourishing without compromising on flavour and texture.
I chose here a simple combination of banana and vanilla, but you can get very creative with the suggested flavouring options. They came out exactly how I was hoping they would: fluffy on the inside, slightly crispy on the edges, with a subtle banana flavour. I topped them with more fruit, almond butter, toasted coconut and maple syrup, but anything would be delicious here. I can’t wait to try more combinations and I know these will become a regular around here.
Recipe from Pantry to Plate by Heather Crosby. Copyright © 2017. Reprinted by permission of The Experiment Publishing House.
Notes: This recipe is highly customizable – use any flours, binders, flavours or fold-ins you like. (Here I chose banana as the binder and vanilla extract as a flavour). You can even use this exact recipe to make waffles.
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1½ cups water, plus more if needed
- 1 to 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1½ cups gluten-free flours (I used equal parts of oat, sorghum and brown rice flours)
- ½ ripe banana, mashed or blended
- ¾ tsp ground psyllium husk or 1¼ tsp whole psylium husk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, ¼ tsp ground cardamom, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 to 3 tsp citrus zest, 1-2 tbsp citrus juice, ½ to 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 to 2 tsp tea leaves ground in coffee grinder
- 2 to 4 tbsp cacao nibs, 1 to 3 tbsp cacao powder, ¼ cup to ½ cup chocolate chips, ¼ cup to ½ cup diced or shredded fruit, ¼ cup to ½ cup nuts, 1 to 2 tsp seeds, ¼ cup shredded or flaked coconut
- Unrefined coconut oil (or grapeseed, avocado or sunflower seed oil)
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, binder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the water, maple syrup (or honey), and flavour (if using), until smooth. Fold into the dry ingredients, then gently whisk in the fold-ins (if using). Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to reach your favourite pancake batter consistency - should be like pouring a thick cream.
- Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Using a ladle, pour batter into the hot pan and create 4-inch pancakes. When the edges of the pancakes are dry and the tops have bubbles, flip. Cook the other side for 2-3 minutes. Repeat, adding oil as necessary, until the batter is used.
- Serve pancakes warm topped with toppings of your choice.