We don’t eat a lot of pancakes for breakfast around here. That’s because I’m one of those morning overachievers whose resolve to be healthy is Olympic-strong until about 2 p.m. and then takes a subtle turn — or, once in a while, a steep dive off a cliff — toward a more “relaxed” evening.
We’re more of a vegan smoothies for breakfast, pancakes for dinner kind of family.
Then, of course, there are special occasions that merit a break from the norm. The latest of those were a couple of summer mornings where I found myself feeding a whole tableful of little girls who know and appreciate food kind of a crazy-precocious amount. There was “my turn to babysit” morning and then “after the big sleepover” morning. Both, clearly, called for pancakes.
We don’t keep milk in the house these days, never mind buttermilk, and I’d been wanting to test out a variation of my mom’s fantastic whole wheat blueberry pancakes using homemade nut milk. A few years ago I’d swapped in some buttermilk for part of the milk called for in her original recipe, and I was also curious — probably a little too curious — about what it would be like to make “buttermilk” out of homemade nut milk.
Somehow I knew that, against all odds, this group of kids was the right crowd to double-blind, placebo-controlled test my recipe variation. And I’m really happy to say that all of my testers, from age 3 to 40, considered the pancakes to be a glowing success. (Whew!) Hours later, one of their moms, who has catered for the Queen of England (if you’re into that sort of thing), came over, ate one old and cold, and proclaimed them “still better than normal pancakes.” So I’m confident that we have a winner here, and I’m excited to use the nut buttermilk technique in everything from baked goods to wood varnish. Okay, maybe not wood varnish.
You can certainly make the recipe below with dairy milk and buttermilk, and I’ve done so many times in the past. But it turns out that making nut buttermilk — and then turning it into pancakes — makes you feel almost as omnipotent as making nut milk in the first place. That alone is worth its weight in gold. Especially if you’re an Olympic overachiever.
Recipe: Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes Made with Homemade Nut Buttermilk
Adapted from my mom’s recipe, which has been in our family for decades and was my dad’s favorite special-occasion breakfast. Makes 15 to 20 pancakes.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk or homemade nut milk
- 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk or homemade nut buttermilk (recipe below)
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 3 Tablespoons sugar or maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 cups blueberries (defrosted frozen are fine)
- Butter for the skillet
- Pure maple syrup for serving
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add milk or nut milk, buttermilk or nut buttermilk, flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and melted butter, and stir gently until well combined but still the slightest bit lumpy. (You don’t want big pockets of flour, but the batter shouldn’t be completely smooth.)
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add a tablespoon or so of butter and spread to coat. Ladle the batter onto the skillet by the scant 1/4-cupful, leaving plenty of space between pancakes. Top each generously with blueberries. When golden on the underside and bubbly on top, flip and continue to cook until just cooked through and golden on the bottom. Serve with pats of butter and pure maple syrup.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Recipe: Homemade Nut “Buttermilk”
This easy-to-make buttermilk substitute would work well in most baking recipes that call for buttermilk.
- 1 cup homemade nut milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- Stir the vinegar into the nut milk and let sit for a few minutes. That’s it!
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 1