Ricotta Pancakes

Ok -- so I made these pancakes when we were down in South Carolina, and they do take a little time to prepare (especially when you are making them for the first time) BUT they are delicious for Mama and baby alike.  I'm also now convinced that pancakes are the best way to get your kids to eat healthy things that they would otherwise ignore.  Generally pancakes are what I would call decadent, but these ricotta pancakes are really not that indulgent and kids love them so what the heck? Jamesie has been a fan of ricotta cheese ever since he started eating dairy (i.e. Blackberry Parfait), so when I saw a recipe for ricotta pancakes in bon appétitmagazine, I had to give it a try (with my own person take, of course).  The recipe in the magazine also includes a "honeycomb-candy butter" topping.  I chose to forgo this topping because I didn't want the extra sugar.  I added sweet potato and used coconut oil, instead of vegetable oil, and it was a huge hit for Jamesie and adults alike.  In short, these pancakes are the bomb, decently healthy, and easy to make.  Whether or not you have children, you need to try this recipe.

Ricotta Sweet Potato Pancakes:

Pancakes are a breakfast staple, and this recipe adds a delectable twist to a Sunday classic.  Children and adults alike will gobble them up with delight.  They are softer than your typical pancake, so I recommend them for 8+ months (earlier depending on the child). This is an adapted recipe from a recipe found in bon appétitmagazine.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 large sweet potato, baked
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • Coconut oil (for griddle)
  • Maple syrup (for serving)

Instructions:

Separate egg whites and egg yokes into two medium sized bowls.  With an electric mixer, beat egg whites to stiff peaks, approximately 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt and set aside.

Whisk egg yokes, sweet potato, ricotta, milk, and lemon zest until combined. Mix into dry ingredients.

Fold 1/3 of egg whites into the large bowl mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites until no streaks remain. Be careful not to over-mix the egg whites (you want it to stay fluffy).

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat and brush with coconut oil.  Scoop 1/3 cupfuls of batter onto the griddle, working in batches. Cook until bottoms are golden brown and bubbles form on top, about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook until other sides are golden brown and the pancakes are cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Repeat until there is no more batter. Serve immediately with warm maple syrup.

Recipe serves 4.

Nutrition Facts:

Ricotta cheese – Fresh is best, but this is difficult to find when it comes to ricotta cheese. Unless you have an Italian marketplace nearby that sells homemade ricotta (thank you Perotti’s), look for whole milk ricotta cheese without many other ingredients. Ricotta cheese is an excellent source of calcium (better than cottage cheese), protein, and Vitamin A.

Sweet Potato - Sweet potato was Jamesie's first real food.  He was a fan of it then and he is still a fan of it now.  They are one of the best sources of vitamin A.  Vitamin A is an antioxidant powerhouse, as well as beneficial for anti-aging and cancer prevention.  They are also fat-free and low in sodium, so as far as carbohydrates go, they are pretty good. They do have more sugar than other potatoes, but it is natural, unprocessed sugar.

Eggs - These pancakes have a ton of eggs, which is great because when it comes to nutrition, eggs are one of the healthiest foods for you. Eggs have the highest biological value (or gold standard) for protein. They also have iron, vitamins and minerals for a healthy heart (eggs do not effect blood cholesterol as some may believe).  The egg is also packed with disease-fighting nutrients and can even improve brain development and memory. So yeah, eggs rock.

Milk - I'm a believer in whole milk and whole milk products. I think that fat free and low fat dairies are actually stripped of some of the best vitamin and nutrient resources and replaced with sugar. That's a debate for another time. Along with being an important source of calcium to build strong bones, milk (along with eggs) has the highest quality protein. It's also a pretty good source of vitamin A.

For Honeycomb - Candy Butter recipe from bon appétitmagazine see below.

Ricotta Sweet Potato Pancakes are a new favorite of mine, and are easier to make the more I practice it.  Pancakes are a great way to put in food or sources of nutrients that your children might not otherwise eat.  For example, I usually add flax seeds to my pancakes as well.  Jamesie loves pancakes, but they are filling for his small stomach so just a few bites usually does the trick.