After all, being a vegan can seem more like being rejected from that mysterious “land of milk and honey.” Clearly there is no challah in my future, but aside from the obvious “I can’t eat that” moments when faced with honey-drenched baklava or a glass milk proffered with a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies* comes the real challenge: manufacturer-added milk and hidden honey.
*Neither of these things has actually happened. Consider them relics of imagined nostalgia from my (very short) vegan past.
Honey seems to be one of the great debates of veganism as far as I can tell. The “do you, or don’t you?” question has come up a few times already, and many people look shocked when I tell them I can’t eat honey. There are lots of arguments on both sides, but I figured if I was going to really give myself a challenge, I was going whole hog [or whole bee, as the case may...be(e)?] and all in. So i immediately knew to avoid obviously honey sweetened products.
As for milk, I knew giving that up would be easy for me. I was concerned about yogurt, but as far as other dairy products go, my familial ties to Wisconsin have NOT left me a cheesehead,^ and my morning coffee requires only (usually plant-extracted versions of) sugar.
But what I didn’t think about was the milk that is added to so many products seemingly at random. Flavored peanuts? Added milk solids! Hazelnut crackers? Milk powder (along with egg whites)! And woe to be me when I discovered that my favorite multigrain pancake mix had buttermilk powder added to it.
But I refused to be without pancakes. And, rather than get out some whole wheat flour and whip up a batch of (honestly, y’all, really not that hard to do) homemade pancakes, I decided that there had to be an “instant” way….
I poured one cup of Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Hot Cereal into a bowl, along with 3/4 tsp. baking powder, a pinch of salt, and a pinch (or five) of sucanat.
No eggs allowed…but that’s why the vegan gods invented flax eggs!
Some cinnamon-spicing, and a little fork-mixing later…
…I had a sticky, goopy mess, that was reminiscent of an overly-thick overnight oat concoction. [Strangely appealing, I must say. But I'm weird. Did I eat some? Of course.]
I added about 1/2-3/4 cup almond milk to thin everything out a bit.
For kicks, I put in a drop of maple extract. [If there is a choice between vanilla and maple, I will choose maple every time. ]
And, after a few rather unsuccessful attempts at flipping…(perhaps it needs more flax? less almond milk next time?)
…I managed to make some pretty decent pancakes. [Not perfectly round...but really? Aren't the oddball pancakes more fun?]
As the texture of the “hot cereal” was definitely more coarse than a pancake mix, these have a nuttier consistency, almost like the corn cakes we used to eat growing up. In fact, that’s exactly what they reminded me of: slightly gritty, not-too-sweet, and probably best made in (actual) silver-dollar size.
They might not have been the most beautiful pancakes in the world, but covered in ripe banana and sweet apple (along with some extra pumpkin pie spice)…