January 19, 2010

For the Love of Pancakes

Kevin and I escaped to Cannon Beach for the long weekend.

In the evening, we curled up next to the fireplace to relax and do some reading and writing while the rain and wind echoed on the roof of the little cabin. We went for walks and hung out at the local library to check out their book sale. We visited a fabulous tiny little breakfast restaurant called Lazy Susan Cafe that was recommended to us by a friend and although I drooled over their delicious looking pancakes, I ordered eggs with sautéed vegetables. (Delicious, but still, not the pancakes I craved)

I have to say, I LOVE pancakes. And I miss pancakes when I’m watching what I eat.

So I decided I’d attempt this healthier version of the buttery creamy flapjacks I’ve come to adore. The flavor is amazing and knowing they are actually really good for you makes them all the better. And since citrus fruits are all the rage and in season now, I recommend whipping up a little orange butter too. Just use a tiny bit; it’s well worth the calorie splurge.

For pancakes

• 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, sifted

• 3 tablespoons sugar (I used honey instead)

• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

• 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

• 2 large eggs

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla

• 1 ripe large banana

• 1/2 cup toasted nuts, chopped (pecans are nice, chopped almonds or walnuts are healthiest, but if company is coming, Macadamia nuts are decadent!)

For orange butter

• 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

• 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest

• 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh orange juice

• 1/8 teaspoon salt

First: Make orange butter:

Stir together all orange butter ingredients in a small bowl until combined well.

Then: whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, 2 tablespoons melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Cut banana into bits and fold into batter along with nuts. (Batter will be very thick.)

Spray skillet or griddle with a non-stick olive oil cooking spray. Working in batches of 3, pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake into hot skillet and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip pancakes with a spatula and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a large plate and loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Serve with orange butter and real maple syrup.

This is especially lovely served with fresh orange slices and frozen blackberries on the side. Also, great pancakes can be a fantastic dinner for a change of pace.  (Kids LOVE to mix it up)

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