Truth be told, I have never been that big of a fan of pancakes. Maybe that’s because I didn’t grow up in a pancake-making family, and the only time I had them was on summer backpacking trips. They were always made from an industrial mix (which as great for feeding large groups, less great for good tasting pancakes) and the result was usually a piece of starchy dough tasting too much like baking soda. We tried to make them better by loading up the pancakes with brown sugar. I am cringing at the memory.
In my adult life, I have branched out and eaten other pancakes, but I still find that usually the only thing that makes them good is a heaping pour of maple syrup. Seriously – how many people just eat the pancakes on their own? We all know everyone is in it for the sweet taste of maple syrup. But how many of you are lugging bottles of maple syrup with you on trips? Didn’t think so.
This is all to say that I think that pancake recipes for outdoor trips should be a little bit more fun than just simple pancake batter. Because pancakes, when done right, can be delicious.
To do just that, I’ve loaded this recipe up with oats, sunflower seeds and chocolate (these additions make for a little more texture and flavor) but feel free to experiment with your own favorite ingredients. For example, if you can get your hands on some rye flakes, that’s a great alternative to oats.
Making your own pancake mix might sound hard, but if you have flour and baking powder in your kitchen pantry, making it yourself isn’t going to take that much more time than buying some in a box, and you can make as big or small of a batch as you want.
Not wanting to incorporate anything complicated like dehydrated egg powder, I took inspiration from this vegan pancake recipe. The base is really just flour, baking powder and a little salt and brown sugar for a touch of sweetness.
But let’s get back to the discussion of maple syrup. Why is maple syrup so good? Because it’s sweet and gives some moisture to otherwise dry pancakes. While you might not carry maple syrup on the trail, I bet you carry some dried fruit, and in that case, you can make something that’s on par with maple syrup: fruit compote. As long as you remember to soak the fruit overnight, you can have sweet, fruity compote in the morning. And don’t restrict compote to pancakes; it will do double duty as a pairing for peanut butter if you run out of jam, and you can use it to bring some additional flavor to an otherwise boring bowl of oatmeal.
1 cup (4 ounces, 113 grams) whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (0.75 ounces, 25 grams) rolled oats or rye flakes
1/4 cup (1.25 ounces, 35 grams) sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (1.5 ounces, 45 grams) chocolate chips
1 cup (240 milliliters) water
1 cup dried fruit (about 125 grams, 4.5 ounces) – in this recipe, I use 1/2 cup dried figs and 1/2 cup dried apricots
1 cup water
Pre-trip: Mix all of the dry pancake mix ingredients together and place in a sealable, airtight container (like a Ziploc bag or jar).
Before you go to bed, place the dried fruit in a water bottle along with the water. Cover and let soak overnight. Note: if you want a smoother compote, cut the dried fruit into smaller pieces before soaking.
When you are ready to start cooking in the morning, place the pancake mix in a pot or bowl. Add the water little by little while stirring until you get a thick batter. Set aside while you make the fruit compote.
Place the soaked fruit and water into a small pot and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, regularly stirring. Let the fruit simmer until the compote has thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Using a spoon or fork, mash the fruit as it cooks down. Remove from heat and cover. Set aside while you make the pancakes.
Place a frying pan on the stove, with a little bit of oil in it. Place a few spoonfuls of batter in the pan. Cook until the sides of the pancake look dry and bubbles appear in the middle, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of pancakes you are cooking. Flip and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes.
Stack the pancakes on a plate, top with fruit compote and serve.