So, you know how usually when I write a column, I give you a little background story on the recipe, I talk about the recipe, and then I give you the recipe? Right, you know the drill. Well, this time it’s going to be a little different. Let me fill you in on something: you don’t want the recipe for what I made. What I made was awful. Awful! Yes, you heard me: awful. Please, before you slam your keyboard down in disgust and stomp away to sob uncontrollably on the couch, hear me out. Seriously, stop crying.
As with my tomato experience last summer, when I pledged to you that no matter the outcome, I would “report back to my readers with true, unadulterated results of my culinary exploits”, I feel that the time has again come for me to admit my faults, take the blame, and provide you lovely folks with the real, gritty, not-so-tasty truth. Fair warning. Read on at your own risk.
A few weeks ago, Hubs brought home a little bag of buckwheat pancake mix after a motorcycle jaunt over to War Eagle Mill. The bag, as you can see, was as cute as a button, with old school style and kitchy art. “Fresh organic grains”, the bag claimed, with the recipe printed right on the bag! So far, so good.
The instructions were mind-numbingly simple: mix two and a half cups of water with one tablespoon of oil and two cups of the pancake mix, with an optional tablespoon of molasses for those who like things a little sweet. Whisk the whole shebang together and cook them on a greased griddle. What could possibly go wrong… right?
In my usual Foodie style, I tweaked the recipe, confident that I was only making the final product better and tastier – and definitely not royally screwing things up. I started by switching the two and a half cups of water to two and a half cups of milk; what better way to make the pancakes richer than by adding milk instead of water? I also added an egg for good measure, sure that the egg would encourage the little dudes to fluff up on the griddle. My final tweak was to add a quarter cup of molasses to the batter because I wanted them nice and sweet. Insert eye roll and exaggerated scoff here.
My Sunday morning breakfast quickly began to spiral out of control when I ended up with a strangely thin batter that resembled a bodily fluid best kept within the sinus cavity. The batter oozed onto the hot griddle in a strange, lifeless manner, and barely managed to fluff at all before beginning to burn, and the addition of blueberries only added to the burnt stickiness left on the griddle. I made the rest of the pancakes with a confused frown, a double mimosa, and my enthusiasm waning by the nanosecond.
What I ended up with was a pile of flavorless, lifeless pancakes that were as flat as a… well, as a pancake. The flavor was along the lines of a cardboard box, only slightly improved by the metric ton of butter and maple syrup we doused them with. Our meal was a relatively quiet one, with occasional patronizing “mmms” and the clatter of forks on our still-full plates. I ate most of mine, just out of sheer starvation.
This, by no means, is saying that buckwheat pancakes are bad; I’m merely saying that MY buckwheat pancakes are bad. For those of you out there with a degree in buckwheatology, I encourage you to enlighten me. What’s the secret? Where did I go wrong? Was it the molasses? Was it the egg? Is Kathy Lee Gifford really drunk on live television?
What I will share with you instead is a recipe for my all-time favorite pancakes, which are light, fluffy and super tasty. These are old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes, consistent in results and delicious in taste, and can be tweaked by adding nuts, blueberries or bananas, and are both. So, can we still be friends?
Foodie’s Favorite Pancakes
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 c. buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for griddle
Heat griddle a griddle over medium heat. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons of melted butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.
Test the griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it’s hot enough. Melt about a tablespoon of butter onto the griddle and spread it out.
Using a soup ladle (about 1/2 cup), pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, flip them. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.
Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in a warm oven or toaster oven. Serve warm.
Laura was born and raised in Fayetteville, and later moved to Boulder, Colorado. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook.