Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Buckwheat Pancakes

I was an adorable little girl.  It's not conceited to tell you this because it is a well known fact:  Little girls who are chubby also happen to be incredibly adorable.  And I was chubby.  Oh, how I was chubby.  From the chipmunk checks to the rubberband wrists to the Michelin tireman legs.  I was just cute pile on top of cute pile of chubbiness.  Part of the reason for my adorable chubiness was the fact that I was not a picky eater.  I kinda ate everything.  I went through a stage when I was 9 or 10 where my favorite thing to eat was beets from a can.  My mom thought it was strange, but I think she was happy that at least one of her children was eating the bright pink rounds. 

One of the things on my short list of food dislikes was buckwheat pancakes.  My grandma would always bring back a big bag of buckwheat flour for my mom whenever she went to Amish Country and for a few months afterwards, there it would sit in the fridge in her large green tupperware bowl and mom would occasionally make buckwheat pancakes.  To me, it was the epitome of ruining one of the best breakfasts a kid could ask for.  There was not enough syrup in the world to hide the fact that our mother was still trying to feed us something that was made of buckwheat, whatever that was.  And buckwheat certainly didn't sound appealing.

And that was my stance on it for the better part of almost two decades.  Yet, and almost suddenly, in March, that changed.  Ben and I had met in Charlotte, NC for the weekend and on our last day there, we had brunch outside at this very cute farm-to-table joint on the main street.  He had a pimento cheeseburger we both still dream about and for whatever reason, the buckwheat pancakes with peach and apple cinnamon compote caught my eye.  So I ordered them on a whim.  And I realized that for a very long time I had been very wrong about buckwheat pancakes.  They're good.  They're more complex than regular pancakes, and they hit different notes and they taste fantastic in any amount of syrup. 

So I have been craving buckwheat pancakes ever since, and sadly, dispute several attempts, I have not been able to get them.  I did buy myself a rather expensive little bag of buckwheat flour about a month ago, but that was the most progress I had made on the issue until last Saturday morning.  When I decided enough was enough and we were going to have buckwheat pancakes.  I googled searched andwent through enough recipes to annoy Ben until I found one that sounded just right.  And it helped that it was from the King Arthur cookbook, of King Arthur flour fame. 

And I'm glad I choose that recipe, because it was just about perfect.  The molasses made them dark and smell of gingersnap cookies, never a bad thing and they came out just as perfect as pancakes should.  The one and only change that I would make (and did, after trying the first batch to come off my cast iron) was to add cinnamon.  And that was it.  Buckwheat pancake perfection.  This recipe makes about 12-15 good sized pancakes.  Enough that the last two I polished off for my breakfast Monday morning.  And that was that.  So what I'm trying to tell you here is, despite all previous assumptions, buckwheat pancakes are tasty, even if I am still not quite sure just what buckwheat actually is...

Buckwheat Pancakes
Inspired by King Arthur's Flour via Cook's Hideout

1 c. Buckwheat flour
3/4 c. All purpose flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Large egg
2 c. Buttermilk
2 Tbsp. Molasses
1 Tbsp. Butter, melted

In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flours, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and salt.  Create well in center of bowl.  

In separate bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, melted butter and molasses.  Pour into dry ingredients.  Mix batter quickly and until ingredients are just incorporated.  Do NOT overmix!

Heat cast iron skillet (or other griddle) over medium heat.  Melt a small pat of butter to grease pan.  Pour ~1/4 cup of batter to form pancakes.  Let cook on one side until small bubbles form all around, then flip a cook 1-2 minutes longer.

Serve warm with good maple syrup!

P.S.  I was a little too busy pancake flipping and then immediately stuffing my face to take many pictures... so sorry!

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