Coffee, Community & Comfort: Gluten-Free Oat Pancakes

For those moments when you want to pretend this pandemic is just an extended snow day, these gluten-free oat pancakes and coffee are here.

The window seat at Commonplace Coffee in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh. It’s one of the best spots for dog watching.

Just The Personal Stuff: Coffee, Community & Comfort

I like to buy coffee beans at my neighborhood coffee shop and brew them each morning with my trusty Chemex. I sip it slowly, usually while reading fiction and easing into my day. I like an espresso drink in the afternoon. I like working amongst the hum of coffee shops. I like dog-watching from the large window while trying to cross the last items off the day’s to-do list.

I like the craft and care that goes into creating consistent quality. I like that baristas can make something I can’t. I like the utter magic of seeing steamed milk suspended, as art, in espresso. I like the camaraderie that emerges from the exchange, the inside jokes formed over several visits, and the sense of community served with each cup.

Recently, in light of Covid-19 and flattening the curve, these places I love have largely been deemed “non-essential.” It’s a heartbreaking label, one that means many risk major financial setbacks. In light of social distancing, I stocked up on quality beans, filters and a mug from Commonplace, proceeds of which they are extending to their employees.

Gluten-Free Oat Pancakes with Chocolate Chips //

We’re in very uncertain, anxiety-inducing times, but watching small businesses support their own and devise new ways to stay afloat offers a shred of light at the end of what promises to be a very long tunnel.

In this time when all of our habits are turned inside out, I have realized how much I have taken for granted or maybe sipped without true mindfulness. I know the road ahead is long, but I look forward to savoring the experience with even more gratitude when we can.

In the meantime, I’m finding comfort in slowing down. I’m focusing on yoga, meditation and long walks with Julep with audiobooks for inspiration. I’m making myself brunch and finding comfort in pancakes because there is a way to let food be comforting without guilt or shame.

Chocolate chip pancakes conjure the moments in childhood when I felt the safest, the most innocent and the most loved. I’ve updated these gluten-free oat pancakes to be heartier, healthier and more sustaining, but I hope the feeling remains the same. For those moments when you want to pretend this is just an extended snow day, these pancakes are here.

Gluten-Free Oat Pancakes with Chocolate Chips //
Gluten-Free Oat Pancakes with Chocolate Chips //

Just the Food Stuff:

Gluten-Free Oat Pancakes with Chocolate Chips

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn
Yield: 2 servings/six 3-inch pancakes


1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup milk, regular or non-dairy (try your own almond milk)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for cooking
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (try homemade)
1/3 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash of sea salt (I use Pink Himalayan)

a dash of spice like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or cardamom
1/4-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

To Serve:
homemade whipped cream
maple syrup


Combine the rolled oats and milk in a large bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes (or longer) to allow the oats to soften. Meanwhile, melt the unsalted butter, and set it aside to cool.

Add the cooled butter, the egg and the vanilla extract to the softened oats, and whisk to combine.

Add the almond flour, baking powder, salt, and desired spices, and whisk until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips if using, being careful not to overmix. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, place a sheet pan in the oven, and set the temperature to the warm setting.

Add 1 teaspoon butter to the pan and swirl to coat. Carefully wipe the surface with a paper towel to ensure an even coating and prevent burning. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop and pour the batter on the griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, the edges begin to look dry, and the bottoms are golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until the other side is golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Transfer the oat pancakes to the warm oven. Repeat cooking the remaining batter, buttering the skillet as needed.

To serve, top warm oat pancakes with banana slices, a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Or, you can get fancy and make yourself a layered short stack like the image. Either way, enjoy!

Gluten-Free Oat Pancakes with Chocolate Chips //
Diner mug from Commonplace Coffee. Proceeds benefit their furloughed employees.

Just the Julep Stuff (But actually more coffee stuff)

Julep on a dramatically gloomy day, at our beloved neighborhood coffee shop, Kaibur.

There are so many other coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants I adore. Here’s to all of those who create community one cup at a time and are essential to our community. We anxiously await your return.

Lots of love,

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