I am slogging through reading the most fascinating book right now. Have y’all read What to Eat by Marion Nestle? If not, I highly recommend picking it up or adding it to your Christmas wish list. For anyone unfamiliar, Marion Nestle is a professor of nutrition at New York University and writes the wonderful blog Food Politics. She’s a very prominent voice in areas of nutrition and food policy.
In this particular book, Nestle takes us on a tour of the grocery store, where she deciphers package labels, defines common food terms (“organic”, “all natural”, “heart healthy”), and answers so many consumer questions. She gets deep into the heart of what’s really going on behind those supermarket shelves.
Like I said, I’m not done with the book yet, but so far my favorite chapter has been the one on yogurt. I’m not the biggest yogurt consumer out there, but Nestle did confirm what I’ve generally suspected: that most commercially made yogurt is basically a dessert masquerading as a health food. Y’all, there is so much sugar added to yogurt! And so much of it is being marketed to kids!
The advice she gives on yogurt, for those of us wanting to appreciate its healthful properties and make sure it actually is a health food for us, is to always buy plain yogurt, and then accessorize it ourselves. Like blueberry yogurt? Great – add some blueberries to your plain yogurt. Prefer vanilla yogurt? Awesome – add a little bit of vanilla extract to your plain yogurt. This is also true for sweetening yogurt. Buy the plain yogurt and then add your own sugar, or a drizzle of honey. Several times throughout the chapter, Nestle repeats that no matter how much sweetener you add, you’ll still come out ahead of the commercially sweetened stuff.
I don’t really groove on the taste of plain yogurt (I have to add a drizzle of honey), but I absolutely love baking with it. Case in point are these pancakes. We just adored them. Their cakey texture belies their healthfulness, made even more prominent by the inclusion of whole wheat flour. They were so, so good; and of course maple syrup is great, but I preferred to drizzle them with honey instead. Enjoy!
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp raw sugar
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs canola oil
Unsalted butter, for greasing the griddle
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving (optional)
Maple syrup or honey, for serving
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, and vanilla.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk until just combined. Add the canola oil and stir to combine. Do not overmix.
Preheat a nonstick griddle over medium-low heat. When it is hot, melt a small pat of butter and brush it all over. Ladle batter onto the griddle, about ¼ cup at a time. Cook until the bottom has set and little bubbles start appearing on the top. Flip the pancakes and finish cooking through. Adjust the heat as necessary; you want them to brown but not burn. Remove the pancakes to a plate and continue in batches until all the batter is used up.
To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar (optional) and drizzle with maple syrup or honey.