Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day Discovery

Ok, kids, your Saturday mornings are about to get a lot better. Because I have discovered the perfect pancake recipe, and I am going to share it with you.

First, a confession: I'm not that great at making pancakes. As someone who is pretty good at making most types of foods, pancakes are often a struggle. Sometimes they come out a little rubbery. Unlike most of my cooking, I always follow a recipe when I make pancakes, and so as a result, I'm always on the search for the perfect one. I discovered this recipe from Ina Garten a few years ago, and it is excellent, but it requires sour cream, which, if you're like me, you may not have on hand. So, the search has been on for the perfect pancake.

Today, being faced with the rare but glorious situation of a North Carolina snow day, I was looking forward to making myself a big breakfast, just like on a weekend morning. I looked at a few different recipes, and settled on one...until I remembered that I have buckwheat flour. Buckwheat pancakes are a good food memory for me. I ate them as a child, but not always--rarely enough for it to be a special event. And I always loved their earthy, nutty flavor.

Thinking of that bag of buckwheat flour, I also thought: there has to be a recipe for pancakes on that flour bag. Because honestly, how often do Americans use buckwheat flour for anything other than pancakes? And really, wouldn't the people who make the flour know the best recipe for making it into pancakes? Well, it turns out, they do. And it also turns out, this recipe is one of the simplest I have ever made.

So, go out and buy yourself a bag of Hodgson Mill buckwheat flour (and if, like I do, you want buttermilk pancakes, buy some of that too). If you've done that, well, you really don't need me to give the recipe. But I'll do it anyway. Simply whisk together the dry ingredients: 1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 tsp. baking powder (+1 tsp. baking soda if using buttermilk), 2 T sugar, and a pinch of salt. Beat an egg and then whisk in 1 cup of milk or buttermilk. The bag recipe calls for 2 T of melted butter, but I just used vegetable oil to save myself the hassle of melting butter. After whisking together the wet ingredients, pour into the dry and whisk, making sure not to over mix. I cooked my pancakes in a cast iron skillet over medium-low-ish heat. I have the unfortunate situation of living in a place with an electric stove instead of gas, and figuring out how to cook well on it has been a challenge, but I hit the jackpot today. I flipped the pancakes when they started to bubble and then cooked for a minute or so on the other side. And...success.

These pancakes were, ironically, ridiculously light. I have never seen another buckwheat pancake recipe that called for only buckwheat flour, but this worked. Airy and flavorful, these are definitely my new go-to pancake. Served with bacon, fried potatoes with dill, and a Bloody Mary with dill-infused vodka. A little Scandi, and a lot delicious.

I can't wait for Saturday.