Liz's Whole-Wheat Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes
Breakfast,  Pancakes,  Recipes

Liz’s Whole-Wheat Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

Willy and Lynn Osborn are alchemists. They take what looks like water and, like magic, turn it into Vermont gold. The full-day ritual involves a wood-fired evaporator, potion bubbling along a maze in a shallow rectangular pan, wafts of sweet steam, gauges, levitating hydrometers, spigots, and woolly filters. They bottle the result as Sweet Willy’s, reduced to one-fortieth of its original volume, a supremely delicate amber maple syrup that glows of its own volition and flirts with your sweet taste receptors.

We celebrated an unseasonably hot St. Patrick’s Day weekend in their sugar shack, sipping similarly colored amber liquids such as our newfound friend, Michael Collins 10 Year Old Irish Whiskey.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any sweeter, Lynn made these pancakes.

The recipe comes from Liz Samuels, and it performs it’s own share of magic. How could something be both whole-grain hearty and fluffy at the same time? Lynn sprinkled in wild blueberries she had frozen from the shores of none other than Blueberry Lake, a short hike away. My first bite, drizzled with Sweet Willy’s, left me swooning. I had to restrain myself from making constant yummy noises. I have since made them at home, and they are spectacular. So much so that the two of us ate the whole batch.

The breakfasts of home

Liz, busy finishing up medical school, was kind enough to tell me the story behind this recipephany. Here’s what she said:

“I grew up in upstate New York, just outside of Albany. My mom used to make us all buttermilk oatmeal pancakes growing up, which I absolutely loved. When I left home to go to college on the West Coast, I found myself calling her for the recipe, missing the breakfasts of home. These pancakes quickly became my signature breakfast potluck contribution. To this day, when I visit friends in Portland, they always suggest that I make us ‘your mom’s buttermilk oatmeal pancakes.’

The scrap of paper that I scribbled the recipe on survived many moves, but somewhere along the way from California to Boston, I lost it, but managed to remember most of it, and piece together some gaps by looking at other recipes.

I made a couple of changes from my mother’s original rendition. I changed the original all purpose flour to whole wheat, and added (first) nutmeg and (then) cinnamon. I’ve also made this by substituting whole wheat pastry flour for the whole wheat flour, which gives the pancakes a more delicate texture. Either way, it’s delicious (especially with Sweet Willy’s).”

(Photo courtesy of Lynn Osborn)

Liz’s Whole-Wheat Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

Feeds 4  (or two with healthy appetites)

  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk (Recipephany Note: I use Saco Cultured Buttermilk powder, available at grocery stores, so I don’t need to have fresh buttermilk on hand.)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • a couple of dashes of grated/ground nutmeg (~1/8 tsp)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (packed)
  • Frozen wild blueberries, mostly defrosted (recommended)
  1. Soak oats in 3/4 cup buttermilk 10 minutes.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together butter and brown sugar. Add egg and then remaining 3/4 cup buttermilk, and oat mixture.
  4. Add wet to the dry ingredients. Add small amounts of milk if you think the batter appears too thick.
  5. Heat a griddle over medium heat until hot. Melt butter or lightly oil griddle. Pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake. Sprinkle in blueberries, if desired. Flip when bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden-brown. Add butter or oil as needed.

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