Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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Making pancakes from scratch is super easy and we made this DIY pancake mix recipe for camping in Scotland. My youngest daughter is an absolute pancake nut and when we planned three days of meals to backpack the Affric Kintail Way, she insisted that we have pancakes for breakfast.
Instead of a store-bought pancake mix, she preferred to make a pancake mix at home and twist it to our liking, so that we would be able to make it again later. Clever girl! This is how we came to develop this recipe and enjoyed the best of breakfasts in the Scottish Highlands, with atmospheric views on high mountains disappearing in ever-descending low clouds. Even my husband, who never has breakfast, and my oldest daughter, who’s not a pancake girl, asked for their share of the best pancakes they’d ever tasted. Had I known, I would have packed more! This recipe was victim of its own success and we all enjoyed it a lot.
Everything you’ve heard about Scotland is true. It’s wild, it’s wet and it’s incredibly beautiful. In this remote corner of the Highlands, I half-expected kilted warriors crossing the glen on horses straight out of a Outlander shooting. I mean, the setting would have been perfect. However, it was just us and considering the weather, this was hardly surprising.
When we pitched our tent in the only dry-ish spot of this boggy glen with our girls, it was getting dark, chilly and drizzly. All good. Spring Scottish weather–check. The next morning after a night of battering rain and howling wind (Scottish weather, check again), our family was seriously looking forward to a hot nutritious breakfast. We had pumped water from the river the night before and set to preparing the pancake batter while water was boiling for tea.
To create this pancake mix, we used regular pastry flour but we wanted some crunch, so we added coarse cornmeal too (I always use Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal Coarse as it’s the perfect grind and I use it in many other recipes). With almond flour for natural goodness, we designed a recipe that’s much healthier than regular pancake mixes and on the sweet side without sugar or sweeteners. The best part, though, came when we cooked our pancakes in fruity olive oil, instead of regular oil or butter. We love olive oil for its health benefits as well as its taste and in this recipe, we tasted only its sweetness and none of the bitterness. Right out of the pan, the pancakes are deliciously crispy outside and melting inside.
My daughter and I had packed the pancake mix in a ziploc bag with instructions in permanent marker concerning how much water to add for each morning. All I had to do was use our graduated cups to measure the water, mix everything with a spork in our pot, heat olive oil in our pan and cook in small batches.
This was my set up.
This is me on the second morning, cooking a fresh batch of pancakes for my ravenous crowd of three. Note that it was raining–again–and that we opted to cook under the tent flap to stay dry. It’s the first time I’ve ever cooked from inside a tent and it works! I was glad that I had packed both maple syrup and Scottish heather honey as we were able to taste both. Honestly, I don’t know which one is my favorite. They’re both equally good!
The recipe was such a success that for my daughter’s birthday, I created this label for the pancake mix and used an empty can to fill it with the pancake mix. She said that it was the best birthday present ever. I designed a full label with fake nutrition facts and instructions in my calligraphy class and she loved it (so did the other calligraphy students who were greatly inspired). She now has a can of pancake mix ready to go for her gourmet breakfasts! Here’s a snapshot of the can at her birthday breakfast table.
Now, on to the recipe. Even if you’re not a pancake lover, you have to try these pancakes. Scottish Highlands are optional but camping definitely adds another dimension to DIY pancakes. The best part? It’s much cheaper than any fancy store-bought pancake mix and the result is super tasty. Let me know what you thought in the comments and if you tested them camping, I’d love to know where you went.
Enjoy, little frogs!