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Orange Cardamom Pancakes 

Take your pancakes up a notch with orange zest and cardamom

Who doesn’t love pancakes for breakfast, brunch or even dinner?! In a nod to the Source Weekly's release of the 2022 Breakfast & Lunch Guide and in honor of my recent crepe-eating escapades in France and Spain, I simply had to bring you my favorite pancake recipe this week.

Pancakes require only simple pantry ingredients and can be dressed up easily with syrups, jams and butter - TAMBI LANE PHOTO
  • Tambi Lane Photo
  • Pancakes require only simple pantry ingredients and can be dressed up easily with syrups, jams and butter

Crepes and pancakes are different but similar. They’re both made from simple batters that are then poured onto a hot surface and quickly browned on both sides. Crepes, which originated in the northwest region of modern France called Brittany date back to the 12th or 13th century and were originally made with buckwheat, an ancient grain that is still readily available. Over time, the popularity of crepes spread throughout Europe so I enjoyed a variety of both sweet and savory crepes in France and Spain during my travels.

These days buckwheat crepes are typically filled with savory fillings while the more delicately flavored wheat crepes are filled with fruits and other sweet fillings such as chocolate, Nutella, caramel, bananas, etc. In Europe, crepes are typically served for lunch and dinner as a main meal at restaurants and creperies or even as an on-the-go snack at festivals and outdoor events. They are very, very thin and delicate and it’s impressive to see them filled to the brim with delicious fillings yet still hold together.

The first recorded mention of pancakes dates back to ancient Greece. In the 1700s before baking soda came along, cooks used fresh snow, which contains ammonia, to help make pancakes light and fluffy. And what we now know as American pancakes are typically thick and very fluffy. By the 1800s milk and cream had become the preferred liquids for pancake batter replacing brandy and wine and in the 1930s, General Mills’ Bisquick baking mix entered the scene and pancakes became even fluffier!

True confession – I’ve never liked fluffy pancakes. That must be because my mother made her pancakes from scratch and they were flat and thin, more crepe-like. Which may explain why I could not stop eating those European crepes! This pancake recipe is a riff on my favorite pancake recipe which is very similar to my mom’s recipe, which means the batter is thinner and the pancakes are thinner than typical American pancakes. All I did was add some orange zest and cardamon to my original recipe. You could replace the orange zest with vanilla extract and leave out the cardamon or replace the cardamon with cinnamon. Or you could go bananas and add banana slices or a handful of blueberries or stir in lemon zest or chocolate chips or whatever your tastebuds are craving.

As far as toppings, maple syrup and butter are standard but don’t be shy about doing something different. Whipped cream, chopped nuts, fresh berries, whatever sounds good to you. These particular pancakes are great with, believe it or not, blueberry syrup or jam or orange marmalade as well as with syrup and butter. Pancakes are meant to be fun and make you smile, reminiscent of childhood and lazy weekend mornings, but easy enough to whip up any ol’ day of the week.

Orange Cardamon Pancakes
Serves 4-6

• 3 cups flour
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons ground cardamon
• 2 eggs
• 2 ½ cups buttermilk
• 1 teaspoon orange extract
• 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
• 1 stick butter, melted plus more for greasing griddle
• Maple syrup, for serving
• Orange marmalade or blueberry jam for serving

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, extract, zest and butter to dry ingredients. Mix well to combine. Add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, if you want even thinner pancakes.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add butter to griddle for greasing. Working in batches, cook pancakes using about 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Cook until bubbly on top and golden brown underneath, 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and cook until golden on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat until all pancakes are cooked, adding more butter to griddle as needed.

Keep pancakes warm on a plate covered with foil or on a baking sheet in warm oven. Transfer pancakes to serving plates. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with butter, jam or marmalade as desired.

About The Author

Donna Britt

Food writer, food stylist, recipe tester, cookbook editor, podcast producer/host are a few of the creative hats Donna Britt wears. Donna loves to hike, paddle board and spend quality time with family and friends. Oh, and she also collects cookbooks and cast iron cooking vessels.
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