July 23, 2010

Buttermilk Pancakes!

I am telling you what--nothing beats a good pancake.  Sure, you can have oatmeal for breakfast, or an omelette, or bacon, and those are all great, but pancakes are in a league of their own if done right. 

I've had a lot of pancakes before I finally found "the one".  I'm talking fluffy, tender, flavorful, comforting, foolproof, and healty.  You will swear off box mixes forever.

Really, I'm surprised box mixes are still on the market. I know I know, they're so easy, you say.  Honey, throwing together some pancakes without the mix means taking like one or two extra steps, and for all the flavor you get with that little bit of extra trouble, throw that white, gluey, processed mess away!  I was given a large box of pancake mix by someone, and although I never buy the stuff, I thought maybe it shouldn't go to waste.  I made a batch for the kids and they would not touch it!  I had a bite and understood why.  Ick. If all you've ever used is that you really don't know what you're missing.

I make a few different types of pancakes--regular, buttermilk, and buckwheat, and I can't wait to try the recipe for Pear and Buckwheat Pancakes from the book, Good to the Grain, but this recipe is really the family favorite in our house. Another reason I wanted to post these is I learned a little secret from the Good to the Grain book about a pancake topping made of just butter and honey, as pictured at left.  I think maple syrup may have lost its place for me.  This is so good!  It's butter and it's honey but when they mix together they make their own flavor that's earthy and sweet but not heavy or overly sweet.  Kind of like toffee? Definitely use good butter if you're going to do this; it makes a difference.  Two great brands: Organic Valley Pasture Butter and Kerrygold Irish Butter.  Each of them is made with cream from cows that actually eat grass like they are meant to, instead of being fed a "feed".  It makes all the difference in flavor and nutrition. 

I must try Sticky Toffee Pancakes from Feast by Nigella Lawson.  Doesn't that sound like it would make your day? 

I adapted this recipe from an older Betty Crocker publication that somehow ended up in my hands (Mom, did I steal it from you when I moved out?)  I have to say, anything I've ever made out of that book has been spot on.  I almost always use half whole grain flour like in the pics, but you can use all plain flour too, or even all whole grain.

Makes 10-12 medium pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 cup whole grain flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose) 
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

(The healthiest way to prepare these is to soak the flours in the buttermilk overnight.  Just mix'em together and let it sit at room temperature, covered, overnight.  The buttermilk will break down all those components in the flour that make it difficult to digest, and a further bonus is it makes the nutrients in it more accessible to your body.  If it's your first time doing this you might want to soak half the flour in the buttermilk, then when you're ready to make the pancakes add the rest of the flour together with the remaining ingredients.  This way the texture is more like what you're used to in a pancake.)

If you are not going to soak the flour overnight, just throw everything into a bowl and whisk until smooth (or put it in the blender).  Sometimes I pre-measure all the dry and wet ingredients in different bowls the night before so it's all measured out for the morning (minus the melted butter, but you could substitute oil if you want to pre-measure).

It's a good idea to let the batter sit and rest, at least for a half hour if you can handle waiting.  Melt a pat of butter in a skillet on medium to medium high, then pour in or ladle in the batter. Allow to cook until bubbles appear throughout the pancakes, then flip over and cook for about another minute.

Meanwhile if you want to do a butter-honey topping, melt equal parts butter and honey in a small saucepan, then heat until boiling.  Cook a couple of minutes and it's ready to pour over your hot pancakes!  Yum.

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