Recipe Re-Dos: Buckwheat Quinoa Pancakes with Pumpkin Cream OR Beet and Berry Sauce; Beet Granola

by Gena on March 30, 2012

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Whenever I counsel people on the road to becoming a home cook, I make sure to say “if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not cooking.” What a lot of people tend to forget about food bloggers is that we, too, make a ton of mistakes as we develop and execute recipes. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be cooking, either.

My recipe mistakes range far and wide. There are the tiny missteps that drag an otherwise excellent recipe asunder: that tablespoon too many of lemon juice, that makes a pleasantly tangy dressing downright sour; the extra liquid you added to something that turned it soupy; the recipe that would have been perfect, if you had seasoned it just a little better as you were cooking; the muffins that taste alright, but you forgot the baking powder, so they emerge from the oven looking like hockey pucks.

Then there are the big mistakes, the veritable kitchen catastrophes. These include the time I made a red pepper and seaweed soup that sounded great on paper, yet tasted horrible. There was also the broccoli soup I served my mother that was so lemony she actually puckered her face. The time I decided to make a cantaloupe and garam masala smoothie–yikes. The many, many, many failed loaves of homemade bread that I’ve attempted (if I ever retire, which, given my constitution, is unlikely, I swear I will perfect bread making). My first risotto, which was an affront to Italian grandmothers everywhere because I tried to speed through it, and ended up with tough rice. Oh yes, there have been many disasters.

Normally, if a recipe makes it to my blog, it’s because it either tasted “just right” on the first try, or because I’ve made it enough times to feel confident that it’s essentially foolproof. But the honest truth is that my recipes, like any recipes, are fallible. Oftentimes, I learn that what’s perfect for my palate is not perfect for other peoples’ (for example, I like a lot more lemon in my recipes than others do). Or I write something down incorrectly as I’m cooking, and end up posting a recipe with an error in it. Or I experience some sort of fluke as I cook–an accident or faulty ratio that for whatever reason wasn’t a problem for me, but it’s a problem when my readers repeat it. There are all sorts of possibilities for variance in the success of what I make.

None of this should be very surprising–it’s the standard trial and error that comes with making food. But to read a lot of food blogs, you’d think that cooking is a seamless process, an elegant, choreographed ballet that’s ready for TV syndication. No way: cooking is messy, uneven, and often very chaotic. And I’m absolutely willing to admit to all of you that, for every one of my successful recipes you see here on the blog, there are plenty of flops.

Today, I want to do something I’ve never done before, which is to “fix” two recipes that readers have had a hard time with, and post the amendments. They are my recent beet granola (so good) and my buckwheat and quinoa pancakes with pumpkin cream. Both recipes worked like a charm in my kitchen. And both have caused a lot of problem in other peoples’ kitchens–so much so, that I took the pancakes off the blog, for fear of having my readers waste costly and valuable ingredients.

Typically, if I make something delicious and only one reader reports a snag, I know that his or her execution was the exception, and mine was the rule. If I make something successfully at home, but nearly all of my commenters write in to tell me that they had no such luck, I  know that I’m the exception, and they are the rule. It’s usually very easy to know what I did wrong.

Take the beet granola: it became clear very quickly from my comments that I’d used way too much liquid in the recipe. This surprised me, because I did test it in both my oven and my dehydrator, but for whatever reason, it didn’t work for anyone else, at least not without a lot of extra cooking or dehydrating time. So the obvious “recipe fix” was to decrease the liquid used for the granola. As I did that, I also nixed the sunflower seeds, which felt slightly extraneous in the recipe when I made it, and also drowned out the delicate flavor of the hemp seeds. This was a win win: I got to fix the big and immediate issue (too soggy) and improve something microscopic, too.

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Revised Beet Granola (vegan, raw or cooked, soy free, gluten free)

Makes 2 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/3 cup goldenberries or raisins
2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch sea salt

4 pitted dates, soaked 1 hour or more and drained
1 small beet, quartered
1/4 cup water

1) Place dates, beet, and water in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. You can also use a food processor, but if you do that you may want to substitute 2 tbsp maple syrup for the dates (as they can be tough to blend unless very well soaked). You should end up with about 1/2 cup liquid, but if your beet is on the large side you may have some extra. Use only 1/2 cup for the granola, and reserve the rest for drizzling on vegan yogurt, oats, or banana soft serve!

2) Mix the oats, seeds, goldenberries, and cinnamon. Pour 1/2 cup wet ingredients over the dry ones. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, or dehydrate at 115 for about 8 hours, or until dry. Enjoy!

I hope you guys have more success with this dramatically altered portion of liquid. Let me know!

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Next up was a revision of my buckwheat and quinoa pancakes with pumpkin cream. This is another recipe that went totally smoothly when I made it, but most people found that it the dough stayed way too mushy through cooking, and never turned into light, easy-to-flip pancakes. Fail! I’m sorry guys. I’ve revised the recipe considerably; the biggest change is that now the quinoa stays whole, rather than blending in, and there are no berries (probably helpful for texture). I hope it works. You’ll tell me, right?

Note that, since I’m on a kick right now of putting beet in odd kinds of recipes—granolas, smoothies—I came up with an alternate sauce beet and berry sauce for the pancakes. The pumpkin cream sauce would rock, too.

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Buckwheat and Quinoa Pancakes with Pumpkin Cream or Beet and Berry Sauce (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Makes 10 pancakes, or roughly 3-4 servings

1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour (NB: buckwheat is naturally a gluten free grain, but if you are gluten free, double check your flour to be sure it’s GF certified to assure safety from cross contamination)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
1-2 tsp cinnamon (I like to go heavy on cinnamon)
1 1/2 cups almond milk + extra for while you make the pancakes
1 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp agave or stevia to taste

1) Mix the buckwheat flour, backing soda, cinnamon, salt, and quinoa in a large bowl.

2) Whisk together the flax and warm water and let sit for a few moments. Then, whisk it together with the almond milk and agave (if you wish—I used about a 1/2 tsp stevia here, but either is fine, and the recipe doesn’t need much sweetening).

3) Mix wet ingredients and dry. Keep in mind that you’ll need a little extra almond milk because pancake batter thickens as it sits, so have the almond milk handy.

4) Heat a skillet over a medium/high flame. When it’s hot enough, drop batter by heaping 1/4 cup servings onto the skillet. Wait until bubbles form on the top, and then gingerly flip the pancakes, one by one. Cook through on other side till batter is used up. Serve with beet and berry sauce OR pumpkin cream sauce, below!

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Beet and Berry Sauce (gluten free, soy free, vegan)

Makes 3/4 cup

1 medium beet, roasted or steamed
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup water
2 dates, or stevia to taste

Blend all ingredients together in a blender till smooth, adding more water if needed. Pour over pancakes, and enjoy the benefits of many, many antioxidants in this syrup, which has no added sugar at all!

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Pumpkin Cream Sauce (gluten free, soy free, vegan)

Serves 2-4

2 cups puréed pumpkin or autumn squash
Scant 1/2 cup almond milk
2 tbsp almond butter or cashew butter
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients on high, and serve. Delicious on fruit slices, too!

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Whichever way you serve these pancakes, I hope that the consistency and overall success is now much better. I really loved the taste when I made them yesterday, and love what the whole quinoa does for texture and chew. Yum.

Part of being a chef means making errors. But I’m lucky to have readers who keep me posted on what works and doesn’t. Let me know, so that I can tweak things for you guys!

Tomorrow, I’ll have a dual cookbook review here on the blog, and the usual food+life on Sunday and beyond. See you soon!

xo

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

bitt March 30, 2012 at 7:01 pm

i really really appreciate your willingness to make changes, adjustments, accept that things that go right in your kitchen won’t in others, etc. it’s not always we see that with food bloggers or chefs. thanks for that.

the pancakes look right up my alley, i may have to try them soon. no sugar, excellent!

i am frustrated with recipage. this is the second blog this has happened on. i was looking for your almond butter dressing that i remembered. i searched “dressings”, i searched “sauces”, and I searched “almond butter” but it was not found. i finally gave up on the recipage tool. i just searched google for “choosing raw” and “almond butter” and “salad” and there it was! I am not sure why recipage can’t seem to find things when i know of the exact recipe i want but don’t know when you posted it or can’t get it another way through the archives. anyhow, wanted you to know because not all your recipes are coming up through it. ps: I will also tell the creators of recipage

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Gena March 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Bitt,

Wait!! Before you tell the recipage folks, know that the fault might be mine :) I update my recipes very slowly — usually once a semester. That’s sad, but it’s the one thing I just don’t have time for. So it may be that the recipe is on the site, but not up on recipage yet. Also, I don’t put all of my recipes up, so maybe I didn’t? Anyway, if you did find it in recipage but couldn’t search for it there, go ahead and say something, but if it’s just that I didn’t add it yet…mea culpa :)

xo

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bitt March 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm

it was too late. they said you needed to make sure to include all the ingredients in the keywords. but since all your recipes are not in recipage right now, can you tell me the best way to search for recipes on your site?

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jackie March 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Thanks Gina….I can’t wait to try these!!!:)

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Amy March 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

For whatever reason, the beet granola didn’t interest me the first time you posted it, but….tonight as I was reading the post the small beet in my fridge started calling to me. Needless to say, it’s in the oven right now as part of the granola because I couldn’t shake the curiosity of what this would taste like (raw beet + maple syrup?). Seems AMAZING. And a perfect use for a beet I didn’t want to bother roasting. Yes, I went the maple syrup/oven route and subbed different small dried fruit (blueberries and pineapple that I really wanted to use up) but it looks like it’s going to come out great! Thanks so much!

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janet @ the taste space March 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Gena, you are too awesome for improving your recipes. I like to give feedback to the chef for that reason, or for others who want to make it. I always scroll to the bottom of the comments to see what others think before I tackle it myself. :)

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Emilia @ Namaste Gurl March 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm

These look super yummy– can’t wait to whip up a batch for a friend and I over the weekend! Who knew pancakes could be so nutrient dense and wholesome? Love your spin on them, as well. I might do a pumpkin- ginger- cranberry and coconut combination.

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Crys March 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I can’t wait to try these pancakes! Sometimes I feel like your blog was being written just for me, it fits my moods and cravings so perfectly. We visit my inlaws a lot and my husbands favorite meal is his mothers buttermilk pancakes. I always bring my own meal but I’ve been craving pancakes and secretly jealous as I watch them all dig in. I also am addicted to granola lately but so intimidated by beets. I think it is about time I overcome this and start using them.

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Nikki FYC March 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Wow, those pancakes look delicious! I’ve been on a total quinoa kick lately. I’ll have to try them.

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Melissa Adams March 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Seriously…your post just keep getting better and better. It is so kind and endearing that you take all of our comments/kitchen flops to heart! One question on the mouth-watering GF pancakes: do you think it would work to take buckwheat groats and blend those dry to create a buckwheat flour? I have a bag of Bob Mill’s that is in need of a good use.

Many thanks & happy weekend!!!

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Ela March 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm

That’s awesome that you’re so open about the non-dance-performance perfection of recipe creation, and it’s a huge credit to you that you’re revising these recipes.

I’ve enjoyed posting about recipe fails in my time too, because sometimes at least it’s funny. Right now, I’m working on a long poem (sonnet crown) about precisely some of these issues–very challenging, and humor isn’t my strong suit either…

Something about buckwheat: even if it’s certified gf, a certain percentage of celiacs can’t handle it. Last I checked, I couldn’t handle it, which is a shame as I love how it tastes. I’m sure amaranth or more quinoa would work too. Love the idea of cooked quinoa in the pancakes, but the granola calls to me even more! Perhaps I might try to make it once the semester ends…
love
Ela

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Averie @ Averie Cooks March 31, 2012 at 12:22 am

The Beet and Berry Sauce is utterly vibrant…love it! Who needs red dye #40 when you have nature :)

And I had pumpkin + cream cheese on the brain today….I am liking the sounds of your pumpkin sauce!

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Tamar March 31, 2012 at 1:51 am

The beet granola looks awesome. I have some roasted beets in the fridge…maybe I will attempt this weekend!

And speaking of failed recipes – not that this is a failure but more a trick to improve a staple – did you get my email about the kelp noodles? Lemon juice in the soaking water has totally transformed the texture! Maybe you already knew about that, but I was curious to see if you tried that.

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Simone March 31, 2012 at 5:17 am

The beet granola worked a treat for me the first time round and I enjoyed it so much I’ve made it twice since! Also made it exactly the same last night but used an apple because I didn’t have a beet and that was fine. Love that you make corrections though, but to me it ain’t broke so I’m going stick with The Original :)

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GetSkinnyGoVegan March 31, 2012 at 8:23 am

both look amazingly lovely! haven’t made those buckwheat pancakes, but if i see those 2 words together, i get this sudden urge to eat a stack

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Alexia @ NamasteYoga March 31, 2012 at 10:02 am

i can totally relate to this post and am really glad you posted about mistakes in the kitchen. they happen- all the time! and if not “mistakes” ( i would rather call them discoveries) than at least I leave a big mess in the kitchen! my boyfriend is always astonished by how many dishes I can make dirty in the same time as I sprinkle and spread all the cooking ingredients all around me.

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Christine (The Raw Project) March 31, 2012 at 11:22 am

Great post, it seems as stress goes up in my life, so do the recipe flops! Like the raw asparagus soup recipe I experimented with a few weeks ago! These recipes look wonderful, especially the pancakes. Thanks!

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Alexa March 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Wierd I actually made your buckwheat and quinoa recipe before you revised it sans the pumpkin sauce and it turned out perfect for me! I loved the recipe perfect for weekend breakfasts when you are tired of easy run of the mill oats and almond milk :) But your beet granola sounds delicious definitly need to give that a try!

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Alexa March 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm

in the granola do you use raw beets? or cook them first then blend?? could you juice the beet and use some juice and pulp?

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Sara March 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Those recipes look delicious! Great write up. I will give you a site where I got real fruit on powder form, I mix it with milk and ice cream to go healthy. they have cantaloupe, pineapple, papaya, soursop, mango, apple. A lot of fruits and veggies. Enjoy guys! http://www.freshlydried.com

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Fiona March 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I love that you shared your mistakes in cooking! Some of them were so funny; especially the one about the super lemony soup that made your mom’s mouth pucker lol! I can imagine that there may be some nervousness about admitting your humanness, but I think being able to do so makes a person so likeable. I made a chocolate cake with apricot glaze for my husbands’ (is that where the apostrophe goes?) family a few years ago from the The Vegan Table and it was AWFUL! I didn’t bother testing the recipe first because I had a lot of luck with her Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook, but the cake was so bad no one could even eat a slice to be polite! One person even took a bite, made a face, and spit it back out onto their plate! I must have done something wrong (though I could have sworn I followed the recipe exactly), but it was so embarrassing because at that point my husband and I hadn’t been together for very long and I was still trying to prove that vegan desserts could be delicious. Thank goodness they had a back-up cake!
My mother-in-law told me about a time she was having company over for dinner so the night before she prepped a potato dish. By the time she got home from work the next day her potatoes were completely black because they hadn’t been kept in water. She didn’t have time to make anything else so she had to serve black potatoes to her guests! It’s so fun to laugh at our cooking mistakes!
I am going to make those pancakes sometime over the next few days and I will let you know how they turn out!

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Kasandra March 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Gena,

Thank you for sharing! The pumpkin cream sauce looks DIVINE, though I might have to wait till fall again to try! I think it’s brave of you to revisit recipes that may not have worked.. my tendency is to get frustrated and throw in the towel, or rather, throw everything down into the compost bin!

I wanted to ask your advice, then. When a recipe has gone so wrong and seems unfixable, what do you do? I feel terrible wasting a bunch of ingredients (especially the expensive ones) but I also don’t want to force myself to eat something that tastes so icky—it feels like a food sin! My last resort is to compost, but do you have any ideas?

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Jami March 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I love that you’re the kind of blogger who would take down a recipe because it was giving readers trouble. I also love the looks of the beet and berry sauce for those pancakes – it is BURSTING with antioxidants!!

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Emma April 1, 2012 at 5:49 am

Both of these look delicious! the granola reminds me of colourful processed cereal like fruit loops but is a whole lot more appetising! Thanks for the awesome recipes.

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Susan April 1, 2012 at 7:43 am

Just made the beet granola, it tastes wonderful.

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Crys April 1, 2012 at 11:13 am

These came out perfect – the second time around. I chalk my first flop up to lack of sleep due to a teething seven month old (I think I accidentally added an extra cup of buckwheat flour). I did use a gluten free flour mix the second time around. I’ve never had pancakes cook up so perfectly. I haven’t had a chance to try the pumpkin cream sauce but mine were delicious with a little peanut butter and agave syrup, just the way I like them.

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Heathy April 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Gena, I totally appreciate your dedication to delicious vegan recipes, and to us, your readers. The granola and pancakes both look delish!

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Ellie April 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm

love the recipe! and the cookbooks look awesome, i need to get blissful bites!

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Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) April 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Holy moly, some great recipes here, I can’t wait to try them! I just tried making granola with buckwheat groats and wasn’t a big fan, but I can’t wait to try this oat version. I’m also trying to get my hands on some goldenberries after hearing about their high antioxidant content from Dr. Greger’s video. And, the beet syrup sounds amazing, too, let me thank you in advance for that. :)

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Fiona April 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm

I made the pancakes this morning for my husband and I. I made them exactly as the recipe stated and neither of us liked them – sorry! My husband couldn’t even eat his. I am used to healthier tasting things so I finished mine. I think if I put a nut butter and some maple syrup on my leftovers tomorrow I can finish them. Unfortunately the beet/berry syrup was the part I was looking forward to the most and liked the least. It wasn’t sweet and tasted just like a blended beet. Mixing a vegetable flavor with pancakes wasn’t my thing. It looked pretty though! And the recipe was very healthy; I appreciated that too.

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Sarah Carere April 4, 2012 at 12:47 am

So funny that you posted this as I made the beet granola and definitely found it too moist (it never did harden in the oven). I thought it was just because I didn’t have a dehydrator. I can’t wait to try it again because the flavours are amazing (beets + cinnamon = yum)! Thanks for giving me the incentive to try again.

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Kim April 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm

could i sub spelt flour or brown rice flour for buckwheat or would it not hold? :/

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Dana April 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Hi Gena!
Thank you for the recipe ideas! I tried the pancakes and found the amount of baking soda really overpowering. Is it supposed to contain 2.5 teaspoons? Just want to make sure. The pumpkin cream was good, I added a bit of carob and vanilla for depth of flavour.
Thanks!

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Gena April 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Dana, that’s what worked for me! Try 1.5 next time, though. Good luck!

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Alisha April 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Hi,
Beet granola sounds great and I just bought the ingredients to give it a try. Just one question – does the beet goes into food processor uncooked?
Thanks!

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Stephanie April 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Hi just made the pancakes…came out perfectly! I had tried them the first time around and couldn’t get them to cook through, but this time that they cooked up nicely :-) I also made the beet granola the other day and it is scrumptious! Loving it with homemade almond milk! Thank you :-)

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Sam (the Quantum Vegan) June 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

I have the granola in the oven right now, and BOY does it smell good! What a great way to use farmer’s market produce. :) Can’t wait to taste it!

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Martha October 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Hi–I just made these and loved the pumpkin cream (didn’t even need to add an xanthan gum and I added some xylitol to give it some sweetness), but the pancakes were not very tasty. I agree with the comment above that there was an overpowering flavor of baking soda. Also, mine came out much darker than yours, as the buckwheat flour I used is dark in color (isn’t all buckwheat flour dark-colored or is there something I’m missing out on that I should try?)

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Lisa November 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm

The consistency of these were great! I added chopped bananas to the batter, sprinkled cinnamon and drizzled maple syrup on top. Thanks for a great recipe!

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Angela September 13, 2013 at 8:30 am

Hi from another home cook and blogger. I’m really enjoying your recipes as we are just starting to go wheat free, gluten reduced, but not gluten free. I’m still in the experimenting stage of new flours for bread, and am looking forward to making a spelt, med rye, buckwheat and either quinoa or chia seed bread today.

I have a question on your buckwheat pancake recipe. You say to add the cooked quinoa to the dry ingredients. Isn’t cooked quinoa wet? Should it be added at step #2?

Thanks again for your site. I’m looking forward to referencing it more on our journey to healthier eating.

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Gena September 14, 2013 at 6:52 am

It is wet, Angela, you’re right. But for the purposes of this recipe, since it’s not a liquid, I consider it a “dry” ingredient and mix in with the flours. Hope this helps! Good luck on your journey :-)

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Tamara York January 7, 2014 at 1:22 am

Surely if they are cooked in a pancake maker they are not raw? Or are pancake makers a low enough temperature to be ok?

Thanks for the great site

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Gena January 7, 2014 at 8:06 am

These pancakes aren’t raw.

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