Fry up some fluffy buttermilk pancakes in honor of Mardi Gras

buttermilk pancakes
© K Martinko

Who doesn't love an excuse to make pancakes on a weekday?

Today is Pancake Day, more formally known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. This is the last day before Lent, historically seen as a chance to indulge in “fat eating” prior to the start of a 40-day fast. While many of us have moved away from marking the religious significance of such holidays, it’s fun to have a reason to make pancakes on a Tuesday – a practice that’s usually reserved for weekends.

My family’s favorite pancake recipe comes from the 1976 More With Less cookbook. It’s called ‘Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes’ and it is the fastest, easiest, and most delicious recipe I’ve found, despite my efforts to branch out and experiment with other, lengthier recipes. There’s something about this one that keeps me coming back for more.

What I love about pancakes, and this recipe in particular, is its absolute versatility. No more what I throw at the batter, it seems to turn out fabulous every time. Don’t have buttermilk? Use milk soured with a few spoonfuls of vinegar, a yogurt-milk blend, almond, cashew or coconut milk. No whole wheat flour? Use white, buckwheat, or coconut flour. Want some extra flavor? Mash a banana, chop a pear, grate an apple, add a handful of blueberries. Needing texture? Dump in a cup of shredded coconut, some chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips.

Basically, the sky’s the limit with this indestructible recipe – and the same goes for the toppings. Our family favorites are plain yogurt with maple syrup, peanut butter with syrup, and stewed strawberries. Leftovers can be refrigerated, frozen, toasted, or microwaved. Usually I leave them out on a plate and they’ve disappeared by noon. Here’s the basic recipe:

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Combine in a bowl and mix with a fork:

1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp vegetable oil or melted butter
1 egg

Add and mix only until moistened:

½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup unbleached white flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Fry in hot, lightly greased skillet.

Serves 3 (from More With Less cookbook)

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