Saturday morning, after I told Frank that I needed to make these exact pancakes, the recipe for which my Dad had just sent me, he just smiled and nodded and said, “Of course. Breakfasts are a big deal in your family.”
Although I never really thought about how much we like a good breakfast ritual, he’s absolutely right. My grandparents, for example. For as long as I can remember, they walked to the same local breakfast spot for coffee and a morning meal. It was the type of place where they ordered “the usual” and every server knew what they meant. They were there with such consistency that the rest of us would stop by unannounced to join them.
Even at home, my parents made breakfast into something of an event. My Dad would put an international spin on Saturday morning breakfast, building a tower of sugar-dusted beignets that we would work our way through, legs swinging from kitchen counter stools. During brutally cold winter weeks, my Mom would bake enough streusel-topped banana muffins to last us for days. She would re-heat them and place them in our mittened hands where they would keep us warm all the way to school.
So, yes. I’d say breakfast is a big deal.
Considering all that, when my Dad wrote to me last week and said he’d found the recipe for “the best pancakes” he’d ever had, I was immediately intrigued. Turns out, I’ve had these pancakes as well, although I needed a reminder. In my hometown in Kansas, my parents and their friends would round up their kids and bring us all together for big weekend breakfasts at The Paradise Café (sadly, now closed). The place was always packed, and we’d noisily crowd around a table over plates of hot breakfast. These whole wheat pancakes were a favorite at The Paradise Café. My Dad found them in a cookbook from the café’s sister restaurant, the Black Jack Inn.
As the cookbook asserts, despite using entirely whole wheat flour, these cook up to be some of the lightest, fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever had. Their flavor is complex and nutty with a hint of tang from the buttermilk. I didn’t change a thing, except to reduce the recipe to an apartment-friendly versus restaurant-friendly size. Otherwise, these need no adaptation to make it into the competitive ranks of family breakfast.
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 cups (475 mL) buttermilk (see note)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Beat eggs and brown sugar in a mixing bowl with a wire whisk. Beat in canola oil and buttermilk until evenly combined. Add dry ingredients all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
- Ladle batter onto a hot, oiled griddle or skillet until bubbles form on the surface. Flip to the other side and cook until both sides are golden brown. Serve immediately, with butter and syrup.
Need more pancakes in your breakfast rotation? Check out these beauties:
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes by Minimalist Baker
Tim’s Famous Overnight Pancakes by Food Loves Writing
Orange Pancakes with Berry-Orange Sauce by Iowa Girl Eats
Yeasted Buckwheat Pancakes by Not Without Salt
Honey Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread by Ambitious Kitchen (okay, so that one’s not a pancake recipe, but it’s so fantastic-looking that it was worth bringing to your attention – you can thank me later, preferably by sending me a slice)
Or find a whole world of ideas for creative breakfasts, turned into dinners in this great new cookbook which I’ve totally fallen for – Breakfast for Dinner: Recipes for Frittata Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, Sunny-Side-Up Burgers, and More!