Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Pecan Flapjacks

What can I eat that is gluten-free?
Linda, at the Gluten-Free Homemaker hosts a weekly food carnival of gluten-free recipes and reviews. Take a peek at this week's contributions by other foodies.

How about some of these flapjacks?
What is a flapjack? Is it slang for pancake? Does it mean more? I decided to find out. Here are the varying definitions that I found:

1. A flat cake turned on the griddle while cooking; a griddlecake or pancake. Hmmm, sort of.

2. A fried dough cake containing fruit; a turnover. [Prov. Eng.] Well... not really.

3. Biscuit made from fat, sugar, rolled oats and syrup. Nope.

4. A thick pancake. Ding, ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

That perfectly describes these luscious circles of goodness. I found this recipe in the January 2006 issue of Cooking Light magazine back when I didn't know that gluten was slowly killing me.

I knew they would be good. I knew the sweet potatoes would add a moist, earthy sweetness, to the flapjacks that would be countered by the nutty pecans. I knew a generous stream of maple syrup oozing over the pat of butter and winding down the sides of the stack of steaming cakes would be divine. I knew I would love them.

But I live with, and love, a bunch of sweet tator haters. Gasp! (And I am talking about the orange-fleshed variety here; sometimes called yams.) Yes, despite the health benefits, my immediate and extended family members wrinkle their noses at the mere suggestion of the orange flesh crossing their lips. Some of them even think that they don't like pecans. I practically had to bribe them to try them. And once they did, they were in love too. It is one of my most requested recipes. I make them for any guests that stay overnight and sneak them in as dinner once in awhile. My whole family loves them; even my kids and my DH, Mr. Picky.

When I went gluten free these flapjacks were one of the things that I mourned. Then I started reading blogs and getting brave. And finally I decided to adapt the recipe to fit my gluten-free needs. I tried mixing my own flours, adding/not adding xanthan gum, etc. Finally I tried the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-purpose flour. Normally this one is not my favs as I can taste the garbanzo flour. But it works. The flapjacks came out perfectly. I still want to try it with some of the other GF AP flour blends out there, but I haven't had the time to continue the experiments. If you try it with your favorite AP flour, please let me know how it turns out.

I have used canned sweet potatoes without any extras, but can't always find them in the store. I think they turn out best when I bake the orange potatoes the night before and toss them in the fridge to cool. The next morning the flesh is easy to scoop out, smash and measure.

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Pecan Flapjacks

(adapted from Cooking Light, January 2006)

Makes 12 pancakes (I always double this recipe)

1 1/4 cups gluten free all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup fat-free milk
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato (the kind with the orange flesh, call them yams if you must)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I like to add an extra splash)
2 large eggs, separated
Cooking spray

I weigh the flour, but you can lightly spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife.

Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Combine milk, sweet potato, sugar, oil, vanilla, and egg yolks, stirring until smooth; add to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form; fold egg whites into batter. I have even been successful with stiff peaks, so don't stress too much.

Let batter stand 10 minutes (very important).

Heat a nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. I use an electric frying pan set to 350 degrees. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle or pan. It will be very thick, but will spread slightly. Cook 2 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over, and cook 2 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.

You can keep them warm on an oven-proof plate in a 200 degree oven. This is the way I have to do it if I want to eat any of them. Otherwise they disappear before I get to the table.

I am making them for some of my best girlfriends this weekend. We are all escaping to the coast for a kid-free weekend of crafting, eating, drinking and fun.



  1. Oh man am I ever excited that I get to eat these yummy sounding flapjacks on Saturday morning!!!

  2. I can't wait to try these. I'm slowly getting my husband to eat sweet potatoes, and I think he might like this. I'm sure I will. Thanks!

  3. Those look so yummy.
    Thanks for the recipe.
    Have a wonderful week.