Gluten Free Ratio Rally: Hazelnut/Coconut Pancakes

by Jenn on March 2, 2011

in Breakfast,GF Ratio Rally,GF Substitutions,Gluten Free

Today starts the rally.

I am so thrilled to announce to you this brand new monthly collaborative blogging event, the Gluten Free Ratio Rally. Our goal? To determine the ratios of ingredients that work together to create successful, flavorful gluten free food.

Ruhlman taught the world the simplicity of ratios in his book – that if you know the ratios of ingredients, you can play with just about any recipe and then make it your own. We need that freedom in gluten free recipes as well.  Nothing seems more daunting when switching to gluten free than dealing with feeling stuck by thinking about foods that can no longer be enjoyed.   How often have we stood there in our kitchens, staring at our old family cookbook on the counter  at a complete loss for how to go about making a dish gluten free? Or even just trying to find the right substitutions because our local grocery store doesn’t happen to sell teff flour or xanthan gum? And yet we do not have to feel limited! I owe a lot to my husband’s gluten intolerance – learning to cook without gluten has truly opened up the entire world of the kitchen to me.

Last year, you may have remembered my gluten free substitutions series, as a weekly attempt to come up with some rules of thumb for converting gluten free recipes.  Participating in the Gluten Free Ratio Rally is, for me, a perfect extension of some of my trials last year.  I am thrilled to collaborate with such talented people as we all join in together, experimenting with exactly what is needed to get a recipe “right”.  I can’t wait to see all of the amazing discoveries we learn as we go along.

Why ratios? Because ratios are the key to culinary freedom.  The beauty of working in ratios is that it does not matter what units or actual weights are used, as long as the proportion of ingredient amounts is retained. No need to convert to grams from oz. if you don’t want to, as long as you take note of the ratios you used.  Likewise, it doesn’t matter what total amount you are using, as anything can be scaled up or down.  It’s also why ratios are a good way to represent recipes in our group, because we all will use different units and make different sized batches of food with our own unique spin.  But by using ratios, we can all directly compare our versions to each other and see what effects differences in proportions of ingredients have on a recipe’s outcome.  And of course, measuring by weight instead of volume is critical.

This inaugural month we start off with a dozen bloggers, thanks to the great organizational efforts of our first host, Shauna from Gluten Free Girl.  We will trade off hosting each month, but everyone participates in developing the ingredient ratios that work. I have a feeling this will be quite the synergistic effort, as we all push each other forward and make some delicious treats in the process :)

Gluten Free Pancakes

This month the challenge was to make pancakes.  Pancakes are perfect for converting to gluten free, because as I’ve said before, gluten free pancakes are often better than conventional ones.  Gluten keeps them from puffing up into fluffy awesomeness.

Over the past month I’ve made a couple batches of pancakes. Generally my method is to use a ratio that is only slightly different from the 4 : 4 : 2 : 1 that is typical for conventional pancakes. I use that to start with (200g dry ingredients/200g liquid/100g eggs/50g oil), and then add in about 30g of orange juice, or maple syrup, or honey or <insert liquid of choice here>, so mine are actually a little runnier when they go into the pan.

Thus, my final ratio becomes 4 : 4.6 : 2 : 1.  By the way, freshly squeezed blood oranges make a great addition to pancakes.  So do chocolate chips :)

Gluten Free Pancakes

Often, gluten free flour mixes are just that – a mix.  The realm of gluten free ingredients is vast, and I wanted to think a bit as to  just want comprised those dry ingredients in my pancakes  There are different textures, coarseness, and flavors to think about depending on what you want to achieve.  Usually when I am starting out trying to convert a recipe, I make sure to A) use at least 3 different flour-type ingredients and B) keep about 1/3 of the flour mix as starches.  I didn’t feel the need to use any special binding agents this time, as I’ve successfully made many a gluten free pancake in the past without any gums or the like. The orange pancakes above were made with that proportion of starches to flours.  However, we all know that the starches aren’t so flavorful, so I played with using less of them and instead added a higher proportion of GF flours in my next mix.  Besides, this way I got to use more hazelnut meal, coconut, and buckwheat, some of my favorites!

You can see the texture from the hazelnut and shredded coconut in the batter pouring out above.  When that batter fries in the pan, magic happens – the pancakes still very much have texture, but they do not taste gritty like one might expect.  The result is actually  rather light and delicate.

Gluten Free Pancakes
I had so much fun with this first challenge.  I have the sneaking suspicion this whole endeavor is really going to push me out of  my comfort zones and help me evolve as a gluten free home cook.  But more importantly, I hope our event helps you.  I hope it encourages you to play with your recipes.  I hope we are able to develop ratios for gluten free foods that rise above the prevalence of overly complicated recipes that don’t deliver on product.  I hope we can help everyone associate gluten free foods with awesome flavor.  And most importantly, I hope this event helps to free you from gluten.  Lets you play.  Makes gluten free cooking fun, satisfying.  So you never have to feel limited.

Free.  It’s a lovely feeling, no?

So let’s rally together.

Want to learn about everyone else’s gluten free pancakes?? Read the other great posts from the creative and talented bloggers who have joined the rally (links will be added as they go live):

Britt at GF in the City
Carol at Simply Gluten Free
Erin at The Sensitive Epicure
Irvin at Eat the Love
Jenn at Jenn Cuisine (me)
Karen at Cooking Gluten Free
Kate at Gluten Free Gobsmacked
Lauren at Celiac Teen
Lisa at Gluten Free Canteen
Shauna at Gluten Free Girl
Silvana at Dishtowel Diaries
Tara at A Baking Life

Other notes – our official twitter hashtag is #gfreerally – so go follow to see all the amazing recipes and updates of our ratio endeavors!

Also, a big shout out to Anile Prakash, who designed our awesome logo!!

Submitted to Gluten Free Wednesdays.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa March 2, 2011 at 7:35 am

Those look great! Yes, ratios are indeed important when cooking/baking, especially when you are on a GF diet.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Thanks Rosa! I love working with ratios.

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Jamie March 2, 2011 at 8:35 am

I don’t normally eat gluten-free, but boy do I need to learn ratios! As a baker, I know how important ratios are to creating and developing one’s own recipes so you have me inspired and convinced! What a fabulous challenge for you and I wouldn’t mind a plateful of those pancakes!

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Thanks Jamie!! I’m not really that much of a baker, but ratios give me a starting place to tackle and systematically alter recipes. And I will have to make you some gluten free pancakes sometime :)

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Lana March 2, 2011 at 9:20 am

What a great project! I can only imagine how many people will find your finds useful. I have been pining after Ruhlman’s “Ratio” for some time – it is quite an ingenious concept.

I don’t have to worry about gluten in our food, but our youngest is a Type 1 diabetic, and they have more chances of getting Celiac disease. Just in case, I’ll know where to find help:)

Nice looking pancakes!

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Thanks Lana – it is genius, isn’t it? Genius in its simplicity. Makes total sense to me as a chemist – in chemistry we count in a unit called moles, but it’s much the same – 2 moles of this and 1 mole of that will result in 1 mole of a product…. it’s still essentially the concept of ratios.

And if you ever need gluten free help, I strongly recommend all of the wonderful folks participating in the rally, everyone is so talented!

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Kulsum at JourneyKitchen March 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Jenn I have no clue about ratios in gluten free food. Those that I do make are naturally gluten free Indian food at times. There is so much to learn and sounds so challenging. With hazelnut and coconut and all those great ingredients in it – I feel like it would be way more flavorful than a flour pancake.

You my friend are awesome!

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Aww thanks!! Fortunately much of Indian food is naturally gluten free, and I think much of the cuisine is very adaptable – I would really be interested in converting Indian foods to gluten free. Glad you like the pancakes!

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Carol, Simply...Gluten-free March 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Wasn’t this fun? Your pancakes sound fabulous and I know my coconut loving husband will flip (pun intended) for these. Great job and beautiful pix as always!

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Oh it was so much fun!! Thanks Carol!

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Karen Robertson March 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Mmmm…hazelnut and coconut… serve that up with coffee and your taste buds are dancing.

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Thanks Karen! Yes coffee was definitely enjoyed with these pancakes :)

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Lisa March 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Jenn – those look fabulous. I am a huge fan of coconut. And hazelnut….and anything you make actually. Yum.

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Thanks Lisa!

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Flo Makanai March 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Yummy recipe! I’ll have to adapt it a bit at home because of multiple food intolerances but I love your idea and your post is full of interest, thanks a lot.

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Oh thanks Flo!! I think it this recipe would be really adaptable in a lot of ways :)

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Christine March 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I think that’s so awesome that a whole bunch of gluten free people are trying to cook/bake with ratios! Sometimes I find recipes to be a bit constricting as you never quite know if it will work out if you tweak it, so I guess working with ratios helps solve that problem!

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Thanks Christine! Yes that is exactly why we are doing this – the whole point is to be able to use the ratios to make them your own, and be able to tweak to whatever suits you. I think this approach will be really useful for a lot of people.

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shauna March 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I want some!

I so love the way you think about this, Jenn. You’ve inspired me and now you’re helping to inspire many more people! Thank you.

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Oh thank you Shauna, your compliment means so much to me. I love how we are all here to help each other out :)

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Erin Swing March 2, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Yum! These sound so nutty, light, & delightful! And so…. indulgent!

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Jenn March 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Oh thanks Erin!!

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Tara March 3, 2011 at 3:05 am

Those pancakes look and sound sublime! So many great, complimentary ingredients. And I love how you explained the concept. Ratios really are the key to culinary freedom. And this line? “…learning to cook without gluten has truly opened up the entire world of the kitchen to me.” Absolutely.

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Jenn March 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

Oh thanks Tara! I love how gluten free cooking has given me so much knowledge and confidence in the kitchen :)

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InTolerantChef March 3, 2011 at 11:54 am

Awesome idea! I have and love that book, and it would be great to have one for GFree, keep it up!

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Jenn March 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Oh thanks!! Yes I would as well :)

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Irvin March 4, 2011 at 2:34 am

Your photos are gorgeous! Hazelnut & coconut sounds wonderful together. And yes, your idea of blood oranges in the pancakes sounds great too. I almost made blood orange pancakes as well, but since my last post had blood oranges in them I went a different route with lemons.

Regardless, I love your post! Love it. I’m hoping it will push me out of my comfort zone too. Which is always good…

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Jenn March 4, 2011 at 7:33 am

Thanks Irvin! Yes, definitely a good thing to move out of our comfort zones with baking.

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Lauren March 5, 2011 at 7:25 am

I’m so grateful that you’re a part of this Jenn. I love the way in which you look at it. It really is freeing and wonderful. And these pancakes? Gorgeous. I think I need to get my hands on some hazelnut meal and give these a go – I love the combination of flours and the flavour I’ve created in my head is lovely, though I’m sure the real thing is 1000X better!

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Jenn March 5, 2011 at 9:20 am

Thank you Lauren!! I’m so glad you are participating too. I love hazelnut meal – if you can’t find hazelnut meal, you should be able to make it yourself from hazelnuts with a food processor – you just might need to add a little starch to keep the hazelnuts from turning into hazelnut butter…

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naomi March 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Can we submit recipes to the rally? I have some overnight almond pancakes that I’d love to submit if you’re accepting them?

Also, I tagged you for a fun and rather silly meme with a blog award here: http://milkforthemorningcake.blogspot.com/2011/03/few-things-you-didnt-know-about-me-and.html

Gorgeous looking pancakes and great advice by the way!

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Jenn March 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Naomi – unfortunately the first challenge is over, but email Shauna if you want to participate in the next month – your pancakes look great!

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Soma March 14, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I am so absolutely loving these pancakes. coconut flour, hazelnut & buckwheat? can’t get better than this! and yes the blood orange would be simply lovely!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Thanks so much!! I was really pleasantly surprised with how well 3 strongly flavored flours can go together – and blood oranges are one of my favorite varieties :)

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Stephanie March 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Yum!! I made a few subs out of necessity, preference, and the failure of my spice grinder to produce more than 10g of hazelnut meal before my patience ran out (almond meal made up the difference) – so when I saw how thin the batter was, I thought I’d ruined them. But, lordy these were good! I reduced a little orange juice w sugar to make a quick sauce, and the bittersweetness went well with them. We’re considering using the leftovers as sort of a savory crepe for dinner w some braised meat.

I think these are my favorite gf pancake to date (and I’ve made a lot of pancakes…). Thanks!

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Jenn March 20, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Oh wow I’m so glad you enjoyed them! And I’m really excited about your idea of turning them into crêpes, that’s such a great idea!

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Sophie April 6, 2011 at 9:09 am

MMMMMM,..;I made these tasty pancakes & they were real winners!
My husband & I loved them to bits! :)

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Jenn April 6, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed them, thanks!

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