Orange Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Citrus Syrup

It’s been a citrus kind of winter for me.

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That’s why I decided to make these fluffy Orange Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Citrus Syrup.  Remember my Orange Olive Oil Cake?  That was a delicious revelation, not only for the wonderful twist of olive oil in it, but because of the fresh orange flavor.  I realized then that I don’t bake a lot of orange flavored recipes.  I don’t purposely avoid them, but I always seem to be working with other fruits.

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For instance, when was the last time you had orange pancakes? I don’t think I’ve ever had them. Lemon? Check!  Banana? Check! Strawberry or blueberry? Check and check! There are many more, but never orange.  I had just bought a large bag of oranges and decided I was going to try to develop a pancake recipe with them.

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It only took one try to nail this wonderful new pancake recipe. (I love it when that happens.) They are perfectly tender, moist and fluffy with hints of orange from freshly squeezed juice and zest.  Since I love lemon pancakes, this was a no brainer; I knew I would love them as well.

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Everything wasn’t perfect though. You know I’m not a “douse my pancakes with tons of syrup” girl.  But I actually do love syrup and adored every last drop of an amazing bottle of maple syrup we bought in Vermont. But I don’t want tons of syrup to cover up the taste of a good pancake. I’ll dip my pancakes in syrup, because I prefer hints of extra flavor, like the Lemon Curd Whipped Cream that went with my Gingerbread Pancakes or the Maple Cinnamon Spiced Yogurt that topped my Pumpkin Waffles.

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I was going to make a citrus butter to go along with the pancakes, but there were lots of things going on that were distracting me that day and I used powdered sugar to sweeten it (not sure what I was thinking. Actually, I wasn’t thinking; I was just throwing a bunch of things in a bowl) The orange flavor was good, but it was gritty and too sweet.  Ugh!  I scraped it all into a bowl, covered it and put in the refrigerator to be used for something else.

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Then, admitting that I would never use it for anything else, I brought it back out and decided I might as well try to turn it into something useful. What’s the worst that could happen?  So, I scraped it out of the bowl and into a sauce pan, put it on the stove, added more orange juice, then squeezed in some lime juice and added a bit of salt to help balance the sweetness and guess what?  After a bit of cooking, I ended up with some delicious citrus syrup!  It’s almost like an orange marmalade syrup.  And while I wouldn’t necessarily make syrup this way had I planned it, I was quite excited with the results.  The cornstarch in the powdered sugar actually helped thicken the syrup.

And look! It’s really pretty syrup too!  The color is just amazing and the taste punctuated the orange flavor in the pancakes perfectly.  Win, win! I’m logging this in as my second orange recipe I’m loving this year and I know it won’t be the last!

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Outside the snow’s been falling for the past 12 hours, the schools are closed, the science fair postponed to a day we now can’t attend :(  The kids have already been out and back in and quite frankly are no longer terribly excited by winter.  They didn’t even ask for hot chocolate when they came back in from playing in the snow today.

I’m quite ready for warmer weather and I’m wishing it to be with these fresh Orange Buttermilk Pancakes.  I think it’s working, because the forecast says that next week is going to be beautiful!  Alright, we still live in the north east, so it’s not going to be beach weather,

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but at least it’s going to be sunny :)

 

Orange Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Citrus Syrup

Ingredients

For the pancakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • juice from one orange about a 1/2 cup
  • buttermilk about 3/4 cup
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • zest from half an orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • one egg

For the syrup:

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 stick
  • zest from half an orange
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • juice from one orange
  • juice from one lime or lemon
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
  • fresh orange segments for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat griddle. Mine works best for this recipe at 340 degrees, but griddles can be different, so go higher or lower based on your experience. Or, if using a frying pan, preheat over medium heat just before you're ready to cook pancakes.
  2. Make the pancakes. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Zest your oranges. Juice one of the oranges and add enough buttermilk to make 1 1/4 cups of liquid.
  4. Pour the measured orange juice and buttermilk into a medium bowl and whisk in the egg, vanilla, olive oil and zest.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. You will still have some lumps. Don't over stir or you'll risk tough pancakes. Allow batter to sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the syrup.
  6. Place butter, juices, zest, powdered sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium low heat, whisking occasionally, until butter melts, the mixture becomes clear and begins to bubble. Let it boil for a minute or two until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat, taste and add a bit more salt if needed. Set aside to cool for a bit while you make the pancakes. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  7. Spray griddle or frying pan with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto preheated griddle or in a frying pan heated on medium heat. Cook until edges are set and you're beginning to see bubbles break on top. Flip and finish cooking.
  8. Serve with warm syrup and garnish with fresh orange slices, if desired.

Recipe Notes

*The right pan temperature is critical for good pancakes. Too hot and the outsides will overcook before the insides finish. Too low and the pancake will dry out and become tough. Many recipes call for a temperature of 375, but my pancakes would burn on my griddle at that temperature. When I have a very thick batter, I reduce my heat even lower than 340. This particular batter is pretty standard (not too thick or thin,) so if you've figured out a good temperature for your everyday pancakes, it should work here as well.

*The syrup yields about 3/4 cup which was plenty for us, but we don't use alot. If you're a heavy syrup user, then I would definitely double it.

*I only used the zest from half the orange because I only needed one orange before I ended up making syrup instead of butter. If you want extra orange flavor, you could add in the full zest of an orange for the pancakes and then the full zest of the other orange for the syrup, if you prefer.

*The salt in the syrup may seem strange, but without it, you don't get as round a flavor. It will just taste sweet. You won't lose sweetness, but the salt will definitely bring out the flavor. Start with a bit of salt and add more to taste.

*Store leftover syrup in the refrigerator. It will solidify because of the butter. Reheat for a few seconds in the microwave to bring back to syrup consistency.

*Store pancakes, covered, in the refrigerator up to 3 days or you can separate layers with wax paper and freeze in freezer bags. Either way, they will reheat nicely in the microwave.

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