I went downstairs at 10 in the morning to fix breakfast. There wasn’t enough bread for the four of us so I decided to make pancakes. Not regular pancakes but healthy ones with coconut flour. I took a glass bowl and dumped half a packet of coconut flour. In order to avoid sugar I mashed two bananas and added it to the flour. Some raisins and almond milk also went into the bowl. Then I started adding water to make it the right consistency. The flour ended up absorbing a lot of water and so I kept adding more water. At this point I wish I had stopped and actually looked up a recipe or read up on coconut flour. But I didn’t. Pancakes? I’ve made pancakes plenty of times and this time was no different.
As I heated up the pan, the kids came downstairs. I added the batter to the pan and to my horror it ran all over the pan and did not thicken like it was supposed to. It stuck to the pan and after a huge struggle, the gloop that resulted wasn’t fit for a dog’s breakfast. Max, our German Shepard, was circling the island hoping for some crumbs. I didn’t have the heart to give him this.
“Ma? What did you put in it?” my daughter asked.
“Coconut flour, bananas, raisins…” I said.
“How much coconut flour?”
“I don’t know! I didn’t measure it.”
“You didn’t look up a recipe?”
“No. I just substituted all-purpose flour with coconut flour.”
At this point she rolled her eyes and said, “You are only supposed to add 1/3 cup of coconut flour. You need to use some other type of flour with it.”
She then pulled out the bag of coconut flour and based on the serving sizes tried to calculate how much flour I had dumped in the pancake batter.
I decided to fix this batter by adding all-purpose flour. According to my daughter, I had to add 5 cups of all-purpose flour. I just added one cup and the batter looked better so I took out another pan and heated it and poured a spoonful of batter in it. The batter didn’t run but it still stuck to the pan and got burnt. Max didn’t even bother coming around this time.
I threw in the towel and the kids jumped in to “fix” my mess. I proceeded to make a strawberry smoothie and also heated up some hash browns in the microwave. My back-up breakfast plan.
“We need something to bind it together,” said my son, “Did you add milk to this?”
“Yes. Almond milk.”
“I don’t know. Half a cup?”
After scanning several recipes on the internet and discarding ones that required 8 eggs (thanks to how much coconut flour I had added) they found one that worked. I told them it didn’t have to be vegan. I wolfed down toast and hash browns as I watched them (I didn’t think they could fix this recipe disaster and I wasn’t prepared to starve.)
The small glass bowl was too small, so the kids transferred the batter to a large mixing bowl and started adding flour, sugar, vanilla essence, and eggs. The electric mixer emerged and my son whirred it around the lumpy batter to make it smooth. He scrubbed the burnt pan, added a lot of oil to it and poured the batter. We all stood around, watching the batter cook and thicken. But all the oil in the world couldn’t stop that sucker from sticking and the undercooked lump of batter had to be thrown out.
At this point I was ready to leave and pour the entire batter down the drain. But the kids were not done. They didn’t want to give up.
“Let’s add another egg and some more flour,” my daughter said.
At this point the recipe site she was on had this pop-up–7-day meal plan.
“Yeah. At this rate we’ll be eating pancakes for a week!” I said, looking at the bag of flour that was getting lighter by the second.
“How much sugar did you put in it?” my son asked.
“I didn’t put any sugar in it. I wanted to make it healthy, so I added mashed bananas.
“But any pancake recipe calls for sugar in the batter,” my daughter said, as she spooned eight tablespoons of sugar and added it to the batter.
“So much for healthy!”
The batter looked OK but no one knew how it would react when it hit the heat of the pan.
“Why don’t you make cookies out of it? Or just stick it in the oven,” I suggested.
“Ma! Look at this! Does this look like cake batter to you?”
My son scrubbed the pan again, added oil to it and then poured the batter. Yeah! Sworn enemies! You could tell from the death hold the pan had on the batter. The spatula could rescue it from the pan but by the time it was free it was shapeless and unrecognizable. Another one in the trash can I thought to myself. But this boy took the mangled piece of dough and shaped it into a ball.
“Pancake balls,” he said, offering a bit to his sister to taste.
“It tastes like pancakes. Almost there,” she said in an encouraging tone.
I couldn’t watch them anymore, so I went upstairs. I could hear them working in the kitchen for another 30 minutes or so. Then my daughter came up to my room looking for something.
“What happened? Were you able to fix it?” I asked.
“No. Not really. But we microwaved it and that worked.”
“Whose idea was it?”
I marveled at these kids. My kids. They were not prepared to give up. I actually went down to have a look at the microwaved pancakes and they looked good. Soft, fluffy, and round, exactly the way pancakes should be.
Don’t you just love it when you have people in your life who are not ready to give up on the mess that you created but will keep trying to fix it long after you have given up on it!
3 thoughts on “Coconut Flour Pancake Balls…A Recipe Disaster (Or Not)”
this is hilarious … thank you for sharing
kudos to the smart kids with a never say die attitude … one can learn a lesson or two on lateral thinking, creativity, and sheer grit from the deadly duo …
Yes! They were determined to salvage the coconut flour batter. Thank you for nudging me to make this a blog post.