Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Healthy Buckwheat Pancakes by Cleo Coyle #glutenfree #dairyfree

Excuse me? Buckwheat is not wheat? That's right...

I grew up on buckwheat pancakes (as did my husband), and we both enjoy the nutty, hearty flavor buckwheat brings to the breakfast table. Despite its name, buckwheat is not any kind of wheat. This healthy, ancient grain comes from a fruit seed via a plant that's related to rhubarb.

Buckwheat flour is naturally gluten free and contains a significant amount of fiber. Studies have shown that it helps slow down the rate of glucose absorption after a meal, making it a "low GI" carb. And buckwheat brings nutrition to the table. It's a good source of protein, calcium, and minerals. Read more here.

Above are two examples of buckwheat flour that I purchased in New York. 
On the left is the Hodgson Mill brand, which was sold in the baking aisle. 
On the right is Bob's Red Mill brand, which was sold in the health food aisle. 
You can buy them online, as well.
Buckwheat also makes a nice addition to muffins, quick breads, and yeast breads. For my taste, I would not recommend using 100% buckwheat flour. The flavor is too strong and the color of the final product too dark. What I do instead is substitute 30% to 50% of the standard flour for buckwheat flour. This is a great way to add fiber, nutrition, as well as a slightly nutty, earthy complexity to your favorite recipes. And speaking of recipes, I'm delighted to share my buckwheat pancake recipe with you below...

May you flip with joy! 
~ Cleo 

Cleo Coyle is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries.
Learn more here.
Cleo Coyle's

When I bite into a buckwheat pancake, I always feel as if I've been transported to a log cabin in the wintry woods. 

My husband (and partner in crime writing) is not a guy who has much fondness for "health foods," but even he agrees with me on buckwheat. The hearty, earthy, slightly nutty flavor makes for good eats. 

My pancake recipe below carries a subtle buckwheat flavor. If you'd like a stronger flavor simply increase the amount of buckwheat while decreasing the same amount of flour. For example, you can switch the ratios and try 3/4 cup buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose white flour (or gluten-free or white whole wheat flour).

There are plenty of other ways to experiment with my basic recipe, and I've given you options for gluten-free and dairy-free versions, as well. 

May you eat with joy
and in good health!

~ Cleo

How to make this recipe:

*Dairy Free: Replace the butter in the ingredient list with canola oil or coconut oil and replace the cow's milk with almond milk or another nut milk. Buckwheat adds a nutty flavor to the pancake, and a nut milk will pair nicely with that flavor.

*Gluten Free: Replace the all-purpose flour in the ingredient list with brown rice flour. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or potato starch to the recipe. Make sure your other ingredients are gluten free, including the baking powder and vanilla.

To download this recipe in a 
free PDF document you can 
print, save, or share, click here

For PDF, click here.

Yields 5 pancakes about 5-inches in diameter


2 eggs

2 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
   (*or canola or coconut oil)

3/4 cups whole or low fat cow’s milk
       (*or almond or other nut milk)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar (or equivalent of other sweetener)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (or a pinch of table salt)

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

3/4 cups all-purpose white flour or "white whole wheat" flour
       (*or brown rice flour)

 (+ for gluten free: add 1 T. corn starch or potato starch)


Step 1 - One bowl mixing method: Break eggs into the bowl and whisk. Add the melted and cooled butter (or oil), milk, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk well, until smooth and he baking powder is fully incorporated. Measure in the buckwheat and flour. (If making a gluten free recipe, add your corn starch or potato starch now.) 

Stir until all flours are incorporated and consider thickness. Depending on your climate and the weather, the batter may be too thick at this point. If so, add a bit more milk (I usually add 1 more tablespoon). Stir and continue to adjust until the batter is pourable but still thick. Do not make the batter too thin or the pancakes won’t have enough structure and substance. (See my photo below...)

Step 2 – Cooking the perfect pancake: If your pancakes are too small and thin, they'll be crusty and tough instead of fluffy and tender. If too big and thick, they won't cook through. Here's what I do to get the perfect pancake. This method will help you keep each pancake a consistent size, as well...

(a) Pre-heat: Pre-heat a nonstick griddle or skillet. If you have a good quality nonstick griddle or pan (and there is absolutely no residue on the surface), you will see prettier results without using grease. Butter, cooking spray, and oil all produce mottled surfaces on your pancakes. If you have an older pan or it does not have a nonstick surface, lightly grease with butter, oil, or spray.

(b) Pour: Using a measuring cup, pour ¼ cup of batter onto pre-heated griddle (do not try to get every drop of batter out of the cup, this is a quick pour and some of the batter will remain stuck to the sides of the cup, that's okay). Immediately pour ¼ cup more right on top of the first pour. The pancake batter should spread into a perfect circle, about five inches in diameter. 

(c) Flip and finish: When you see bubbles begin to form on pancake’s top, it’s ready to flip. Carefully slip your spatula under the pancake and gently flip it over. Cook on the other side and serve.

Culinary pairing note: These pancakes are fantastic with blackberries. The two flavors together are out of this world!

To download the free PDF
of this recipe,
click here.

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

* * *

Now a Bestselling Hardcover!

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

Amazon * B&N

3 Best of Year Lists 
A Mystery Guild Selection 
A Baker & Taylor "Trends" Pick
"This book is amazing to the last word!" 
10 Stars! ~ Dollycas

Dead to the Last Drop 
is a culinary mystery with 
more than 25 delicious recipes.
See the free illustrated 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

*  *  *

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

The Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter

Fun Contests, New Recipes, 
Book News, Videos, and more...

To subscribe, click here.


  1. Thanks, Cleo! Congrats, Peg!

    You know, I haven't had buckwheat in ages. I have so many other GF flours I use, but you've inspired me to go back. I love the rustic look of the flour, so much "browner" (and mentally healthier) looking than the GF tapioca and rice flours I use. :) Love pancakes. Actually I love syrup. LOL

    Daryl / Avery