Buckwheat Pancakes

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Meet our pancake of the moment, making Saturdays better for a couple weeks now. They look a little different from what we’re used to. Buckwheat flour stains the edges purple and blue around a very browned pancake. They bubble up beautifully in the center as they cook, and they keep well in the fridge for a couple days. I just had a leftover one for lunch.

Besides the lovely color, buckwheat adds an earthiness to the pancakes. They take very well to softened butter and maple syrup. Still, there’s a health factor to consider; more protein and fiber than all-purpose flour! We used equal parts of each flour, but you could work your way up to 100% buckwheat.

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Our supporting cast includes brown butter and a whole vanilla bean. We’re melting butter anyway, so why not let it crackle and foam until it’s brown? It adds a subtle nutty flavor that won’t take away from the buckwheat. Vanilla complements the flavors as well, and as you work your way into a pancake stack, the specks of vanilla float into the swirls of maple syrup and butter.

It’s pretty and delicious, and this breakfast will keep you satisfied even through a midday tennis practice with your boyfriend. It probably energized me to last as long as I did, which was only a stop-and-go hour. There were several water breaks. There were several please-let-me-catch-my-breath breaks. That’s what happens, I guess, when I don’t join Danny on a tennis court for several months.

But there will be more tennis! As soon as my sprained toe gets back to normal. Until then, there will certainly be more buckwheat pancakes.

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buckwheat pancakes

Buckwheat is higher in protein and fiber, but it also adds a significant flavor boost to this weekend breakfast staple. The brown butter and vanilla add depth, but the buckwheat remains the pronounced flavor. We liked using an equal split between buckwheat and all-purpose, but you could try a 100% buckwheat pancake, too.

vegetable oil, for coating the pan
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for serving
3/4 cup (100 grams) buckwheat flour
3/4 cup (100 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 egg
1 to 2 cups buttermilk
maple syrup, for serving

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. It should be ready to go as soon as the batter is mixed. In another small pan, melt the butter over medium heat. To brown the butter, let it cook until it stops bubbling and crackling. Pull it off the heat.

Mix the flours, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Split the vanilla bean with a knife and use the dull side to scrape out the beans; mix the vanilla beans in with the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter, scooping up all the brown bits in the pan. In a cup of buttermilk, beat the egg with a fork. Add the buttermilk and egg mixture to the dry ingredients. If using vanilla extract, add it in with the buttermilk and egg. Slowly stir in as much as you need of the remaining cup of buttermilk until you reach the right consistency, slightly runny but not too thick or thin. Mix everything until combined, but make sure not to overmix. A few lumps are okay.

Coat the skillet with a small amount of vegetable oil, using a paper towel to coat. Not too much. Ladle about 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet for a 4-inch pancake. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cook the pancake until you start to see a few bubbles on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. The pancakes will spread out a bit. Flip the pancake and cook the other side until browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Keep pancakes warm on a baking sheet in a 200°F oven. Spread more oil in the skillet in between batches of pancakes. Serve pancakes with maple syrup and butter.

Serves 2 to 3. Adapted from Simply Recipes.

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