Say hello to your new favorite pancake recipe

A little sweet, a little eggy, a little salty and a touch buttery, pancakes combine all the flavors people love in the morning. / Dreamstime/TNS
A little sweet, a little eggy, a little salty and a touch buttery, pancakes combine all the flavors people love in the morning. / Dreamstime/TNS

Pancakes are the superstar of the breakfast table — at least my breakfast table. A little sweet, a little eggy, a little salty and a touch buttery, they combine all the flavors people love in the morning (well, it's missing bacon, but you can serve that on the side). And, with this recipe, Butter-Toasted Oat Pancakes, you can also add toasty and nutty to the list.

While there is zero wrong with traditional buttermilk pancakes, the addition of oats ramps up both their heartiness and flavor. I've long been stirring oats into my favorite pancake recipe, but lately I've added another twist, and it's a breakfast game-changer.

Experienced bakers have long known that toasting oats before baking with them can intensify their flavor. I've been oven-toasting mine for years before using them in everything from cookies and muffins to whole-wheat bread. This one easy step brings so much extra flavor that I never skip it.

I thought this technique pretty much put me at the top of the oats game, but I recently discovered that when it comes to my oat pancakes, I could be doing more. So much more.

Not long ago, a friend mentioned how they always sauté their oats in butter before making oatmeal. Apparently, this one step made their breakfast so good that they nearly leapt out of bed to start making it.

If it worked so well for oatmeal, it occurred to me, it could also work well in oat pancakes. While my friend only toasted old-fashioned rolled oats in butter, since my pancake recipe also included oat flour, I went ahead and added that to the skillet as well. Wanting to ensure a fluffy pancake with a soft, tender crumb, I decided to soak the toasted oats and flour in buttermilk before mixing them together with the remaining ingredients.

The result was not just surprising; it was a revelation. Yes, the toasted oats delivered big on flavor, which I expected. But the butter toasted right along with the oats, giving my pancakes a lovely, nutty, brown butter flavor. Oh, my.

You don't need anything but a pat of butter and a drizzling of warm maple syrup to enjoy them, but fresh berries, sliced bananas and/or toasted nuts would also make delicious toppings for these memorable breakfast cakes.

Make them for Shrove Tuesday on Feb. 13. In Anglo-Saxon religious traditions, pancakes were the traditional way to use up rich foods such as eggs, butter, milk and sugar before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent began the next day.


Butter-Toasted Oat Pancakes

Serves 4.

Toasting the oats and oat flour in butter before mixing them into the batter dials up the warm, cozy flavors in these hearty pancakes. Of course, maple syrup is the go-to topping, but yogurt, berries, bananas, chopped toasted nuts or coconut also make lovely additions.

1/4 cup butter

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup oat flour

2 cups low-fat buttermilk, plus extra as needed

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Vegetable oil as needed for cooking

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the rolled oats and oat flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, and let sit for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

To the bowl with the buttermilk-oat mixture, whisk in the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overwork the batter. If the batter is too thick, stir in a little more buttermilk.

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Add a little oil to the pan, and carefully wipe out with paper towels, leaving an even, thin layer of oil. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto griddle or skillet, using the back of the ladle to help spread out the pancake batter a little. Repeat to cook as many at one time as you can, leaving space for each pancake to spread. Cook until edges are set and first side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes, and cook until second side is golden and pancakes are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Repeat with remaining batter, serving the pancakes immediately as they are done. Or place a platter on the rack of a warm oven, reserving pancakes to serve when all have finished cooking.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and other toppings, as desired.

— By Meredith Deeds

Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina, Minnesota. Reach her at meredithdeedsgmail.com.

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