Oatmeal Chia Seed Pancakes with Mixed Berry Compote

Many locals claim that Gwyn’s High Alpine (where I work) has the best breakfast in the entire Aspen/Snowmass area.  While this is constantly up for debate, there is no doubt in my mind that it has the best breakfast above 8000 feet, far and wide.  This is partly due to the fact that as one of the very few independently owned restaurants in the area, Gwyn’s does not have to succumb to the quality compromising and culinary short-cuts of the Aspen Ski Co. owned restaurants scattered throughout the mountains.  What I appreciate about Gwyn’s is that most everything served in the restaurant, both during breakfast and lunch service, is made from scratch.  I’d take a from-scratch meal over a pre-prepared and processed meal any day.

One of my favorite parts about the breakfasts at Gwyn’s are the fresh fruit pancakes.  The batter is made in-house daily as are the fruit compotes they serve on top, and they are insanely good!  Isn’t it interesting how something so simple as a home-made pancake batter can make me so excited?  It’s not a novel idea or anything, in fact it’s probably one of the more simple and basic recipes out there.  Why is it that in our culture of pre-made preservative and chemical-filled mixes, we have almost forgotten how to spend a relaxing morning putting time and love into such a traditional breakfast for the joy of ourselves and others?  What would our grandparents or great-grandparents say if they could see us now?

Not much makes me happier than waking up on a leisurely weekend morning to cook a simple breakfast with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, some nice tunes and a little bit of sunshine.  Most of the time it’s two eggs, a piece of toast and maybe some fruit (or bacon if I have it), but a few days ago I decided to make some pancakes from scratch using a few odd ingredients I had lying around the kitchen to spice it up.

Throw away those just add water mixes, people, let’s do this.

Oatmeal Chia Seed Pancakes with a Mixed Berry Compote

Compote:

  • 2 cups mixed berries (blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry.  You can usually find bags of mixed berries in the frozen section of the grocery store)
  • 1 cup water
  • juice/zest of half lemon
  • 1tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon

Mixed berry compote. You can substitute almost any type or combination of fruit or berries to make this compote.

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring.  Turn down heat to low and allow to simmer for about an hour or until all the berries have reduced to create a syrup like texture.  Add more water if needed to prevent burning.  You can create the pancake batter while the syrup is simmering on low.

Pancake Batter:

  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats, ground in a coffee grinder or small blender
  • 1 cup flower
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, you can combine white vinegar and milk by pouring one tbsp. vinegar into a measuring cup and adding milk up to the 1 cup mark, stir and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before adding it to the pancake mixture)
  • Butter, for frying

cage-free organic eggs are best, and look how pretty they are!

Combine all dry ingredients, including chia seeds in a large mixing bowl.  In a smaller bowl, mix the eggs and buttermilk (or milk and vinegar mixture) then add to the dry ingredients.  Stir together to combine ingredients, however don’t overmix as it will toughen the texture of the pancakes.  Heat a saute pan or griddle and melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add a few drops of water to the buttered pan, if it sizzles then your pan is hot enough to add the batter.

each chia seed packs an incredible amount of energizing nutrients and also give any recipe an extra crunch

Ladle the pancake mixture in about 1/4 cup amounts into the pan, allow the pancakes to sit for three to four minutes before flipping.  Cook for about two minutes more, or until pancakes are evenly browned on both sides, and adjust heat as necessary to cook the pancakes well without burning.  Melt a new piece of butter in the pan before cooking another round.  Store pancakes in the oven wrapped in some aluminum foil until the batch is complete.

To serve, ladle a generous spoonful of the mixed berry compote on top of two or three pancakes, and as always, ENJOY!

A special note about chia seeds and their liquid gold status:  chia seeds have been prevalent in many culture’s diets throughout history all the way from ancient Mayan civilizations through modern-day tribes such as the Tarahumara from the Copper Canyons in Mexico.  As a primary source of energy in an arid environment these tiny seeds pack quite a punch.  Filled with Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and zinc they give you the proper fuel for your day’s bright start.

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