Last year, while on my annual pre-Passover food shopping pilgrimage, I noticed something startling (aside from the crazy holiday markups): Everything was . Well, not quite everything, but I found gluten-free matzo and matzo meal, cake mixes and soup mixes, crackers and croutons, pasta and Panko flakes. The words seemed to jump off of every shelf.
With wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats all verboten, Passover has always been a relatively friendly week for gluten avoiders. But in the last several years, as the gluten-free market has skyrocketed, the bread of affliction has followed suit. Most often, these products rely heavily on potato starch and tapioca to make up for the missing flour. But I’d like to praise another, under-appreciated Passover workhorse: almond flour.
Made from almonds that are blanched and finely ground into a powder, almond flour is high in protein and packs a subtly nutty flavor. (It is also available unblanched, which means the skins have not been removed — but for baking, blanched is best.) On Passover, almond flour tends to be used in cakes and cookies. But on my never-ending quest to come up with good Passover breakfast options, I decided to branch out beyond the dessert table and use almond meal as a base for pancakes.
It turns out, Passover-friendly and gluten-free almond flour pancakes are possibly even better than their floury counterparts. They are decidedly more delicate, because they are missing gluten’s elasticity and strength. For this reason, I’ve found that smaller, silver-dollar-size pancakes are easier to flip and manage. But their flavor is deeper and more complex than regular pancakes and they have a hearty and satisfying texture. Serve them with sliced bananas or strawberries, drizzled with maple syrup, or — my guilty-pleasure favorite way — topped with chocolate chips.
Almond Flour Pancakes
1½ cups almond flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for greasing pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1) Whisk together the almond flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the water, egg, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and vanilla; stir until smooth.
2) Heat a little vegetable oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Working in batches, drop the batter by the heaping tablespoonful into the skillet and cook until bubbles form, 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip and continue cooking until cooked through, another 2–3 minutes.
Leah Koenig is a contributing editor at the Forward and author of “Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen,” Chronicle Books (2015).