When Saturday morning feels extra special, bring out the Buckwheat Pancakes with Cardamom-Orange Honey Butter. Buckwheat pancakes have a delicious earthy flavor, reminiscent of yesteryear that is complimented by the orange in the honey butter.
Technically, buckwheat is not a type of wheat. It is not even a grain but rather a seed that is harvested from a flowering plant. Buckwheat is a good source of protein, iron, fiber, and energy and on its own, completely gluten-free.
But the reason I love it? I grew up on silver dollar buckwheat pancakes. My mom always exposed us, kids, to different foods when I was young so I have her to thank for my love of interesting food and diversity of taste. I feel somewhat connected to the past when I eat it and take pleasure in passing down a heritage food to my children as well.
Buckwheat has an earthy flavor that reminds me of the pioneer days (not that I was there despite what my children may think). It tastes unprocessed and substantial, like from a time before industrialization stripped us of our roots and connection to our food source.
When we were traveling across the country in our camper for a few years (check out our story in my book Water Walkers) my husband read to us from the Little House series every evening. We stopped in Missouri and purchased the Hard Cover Boxed Set of Little House Books from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum and then proceeded to visit many of the sites that take place in the stories. We even had the privilege of having the entire campground all to ourselves at the Ingalls Homestead in DeSmet, South Dakota. If you ever get a chance to take the Little House journey with your family…do it!
In one of Laura’s books, The Long Winter, Buckwheat Pancakes were a meal that Almanzo and his brother Royal served Pa when he set out to brave the bitter cold and buy wheat for his starving family.
Almanzo and Royal were eating supper. Almanzo had stacked the pancakes with brown sugar and he had made plenty of them. Royal had eaten halfway down his stack, Almonzo was nearing the bottom of his, and one tall stack of two dozen pancakes, dripping melted brown sugar, was standing untouched when Pa knocked at the door.
“Come in, Mr, Ingalls! Sit up and have some pancakes with us!” Royal invited him.
“You boys certainly live in the lap of luxury,” Pa remarked. The pancakes were no ordinary buckwheat pancakes. Almanzo followed his mother’s pancake rule and the cakes were light as foam, soaked through with melted brown sugar”The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- For the Pancakes:
- 1 1/2 cups Buckwheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups Einkorn all-purpose flour (or all-purpose of your choice)
- 1/3 cup Sucanant, Coconut Sugar, or Rapadura Sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 6 T butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups buttermilk
- For the Cardamom-Orange Honey Butter (compound butter):
- 8 oz (1 cup) salted Kerrygold butter or butter of your choice
- zest of 1 organic orange
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
Prepare the orange honey butter (compound butter) by bringing butter to room temperature. Add the orange zest, raw honey, and ground cardamom. Mix together with a hand mixer or Kitchenaid mixer until creamy. It can be formed into a log to freeze or place in a ramekin or small bowl to serve immediately.
If you plan on soaking your flour, the evening before add your flour to a large bowl and stir in the buttermilk. Cover with a tea towl and set aside on the counter for 12 hours. In the morning, add the rest of your ingredients and proceed with the instructions.
If you are preparing the full recipe in the morning:
Heat a griddle on medium heat.
Whisk all your dry ingredients together and prepare a well in the center to add liquids.
Add in the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter and stir to incorporate.
Pour onto a buttered or oiled griddle in either dollar sized pancakes, or regular size.
Flip when the edges start to dry and bubbles form all over the top.
Serve with cardamom-orange honey butter and warm maple syrup
Orange is a beautiful compliment to buckwheat so I highly recommend preparing the cardamom-orange honey butter to serve with your pancakes. Prepare the compound butter ahead of time and freeze it into a log. Store in the freezer so it is ready whenever you get a hankering for buckwheat pancakes or cornbread.
Cardamom-Orange Honey Butter
I realize that Laura would not have had Cardamom-Orange Honey Butter on her buckwheat pancakes but this pioneer woman does. For pioneers, oranges were a luxury saved maybe for Christmas stockings. I still put mandarines and peppermints in my kid’s stockings every year. Oh, and by the way, Cardamom-Orange Honey Butter even tastes amazing on cornbread. Freeze some of your compound butter for later.
SOAKING GRAINS FOR BETTER DIGESTION AND NUTRIENT ABSORPTION
Grains and legumes are not easily digested. They contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that will need a neutralizer in order to break down the complex proteins and sugars before cooking. Phytic acid is a plant’s natural protection against predators. Although it is great for plants, it blocks nutrient absorption in humans. Pre-soaking also unlocks nutrients and makes them more available to the body. Think of it like a predigesting of your food so that nutrients can easily be absorbed and assimilated into the body. The less strain food has on the body, the more easily digestion occurs. Health is all about digestion.
What I love about soaking my grains the night before is the fact that half the battle is already done in the morning. For the Buckwheat Pancakes, you can use buttermilk as your neutralizer. The beneficial bacteria in the cultured buttermilk begin the digestive process for you. The evening before, add the buckwheat and Einkorn flour to a large bowl and stir in the buttermilk. Cover with a flour sack towel and set on the counter for 12-24 hours. If you are interested in learning more about soaking grains and legumes, I highly recommend this Preparing Whole Grains and Legumes Chart that I keep on my refrigerator.
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Flour Sack Towels– These are my favorite multi-purpose towels. They actually absorb water when you go to dry off your hands or dry the dishes.
Water Walkers-this is our family’s journey out of religion into a relationship with the Father. It is a story about confronting mediocrity and stepping into your destiny, all within a backdrop of our trip across the country in our van and camper. Check out my pictorial post on Water Walker’s Journey: Life on the Road for more pictures and excerpts from my book.