I miss the good ole days, the days where I’d test a recipe over weeks, if not months, and post it when it was ready, when it was just right. I’d test it on Saturday mornings, when we’d eat it for breakfast, not 6 times in a row over the course of a Monday and Tuesday, a speed I learned when recipe testing for a cookbook. I started testing these Blueberry Spelt Pancakes with crushed walnuts on the underneath side sometime last year, like the good ole days, over slow Saturday and Sunday mornings.
11, almost 12, years into marriage, knowing each other for 16, with our second babe on the way, we’ve been reminiscing about the good ole days, as if they were only good. Memories are weird like that, editing themselves along the way, for posterity, for survival, survival of the happiest.
The good ole days. I’m not sure I like what it implies. That these days, our right-nows and tomorrows, will never be as good as our yesterdays. We didn’t mean to say it or imply it, but we did. I hope we don’t believe it, but we do. We do because we’ve said it. We do because it’s become a narrative, a common colloquialism, repeated in our storyline.
And it shows up for me every other day when it comes to blogging. I miss the good ole days of blogging like I miss a vacation once it’s over. Bad. I miss posting a recipe 3 months after first testing it. I miss the algorithm-free feeds and the pre-google analytics days. I miss when I worked for free, paid zero taxes on this blog, and mostly lost money (if you add up all the ingredients spent to test recipes, which I never did). I miss the days where no one would think to label me as an expert, expecting more from me than I expected of myself. I miss the days where Instagram was instant, and Nashville was my yellow-toned filter. I miss the days when I never considered SEO or repeating the same keyword one too many times in a post in hopes of getting my work seen on the world wide web. Blueberry Spelt Pancakes. Blueberry Spelt Pancakes. Blueberry Spelt Pancakes. I miss those days.
But implying that those days were only good would be inaccurate—to the yesterdays and the tomorrows. I worked all the time then, even though I would never, no never, label blogging as work, working my full-time job during the day, chasing the light to shoot a recipe on the weekend or after work, and testing and retesting whenever I got the chance. I’d cry big tears on the way home from work, wishing my moonlight would be my daylight someday. One day. I was on Instagram all the time. I was a purist about it all, believing it must be instant to whatever was happening in real life, believing it was more authentic this way. The funny thing though, I was living my real life with a phone in front of my face, impeding the view right in front of me. While I met a lot of friends there, I was also absent in my offline life.
The good ole days. They’re good and bad, hard and horrible, beautiful and balmy, complicated and simple. They’re everything, all at once, just like our today’s and tomorrow’s.
Truth is, I prefer testing a recipe over weeks instead of days. Truth is, nothing is stopping me from doing just that, only an edited memory and a narrative I started believing. Because these are the days, the yesterdays, and tomorrows. Do with them what you need to. I’m talking to myself here. But if I could make a suggestion, I hope these Blueberry Spelt Pancakes fill your breakfast table sometime soon.
A little diner around the corner from us calls these pancakes Wally Blue’s. Kev came home raving about them one day, so I started working on a recipe that would work in our kitchen. A recipe without buttermilk, because we never have it. A recipe with frozen wild blueberries for all the days that blueberries aren’t in season in Minnesota. A recipe with spelt flour because it’s high in protein, that, and I seem to be adding it to every recipe lately. A recipe for Kev, who is right in front of me at the breakfast table with Hal to his right. These are the days with a pile of Blueberry Spelt Pancakes in front of us, nearly expired plain whole milk yogurt, a Costco-sized bottle of maple syrup, and a POP container of shredded coconut. “Snow sprinkles” as we call them. They’re best on everything.
These Blueberry Spelt Pancakes are inspired by a diner around the corner from us. They call them Wally Blue’s. A blue pancake with crushed walnuts on the underneath side, it makes perfect sense. The pancakes are light and nutty and fruity and just right for the weekend and made without buttermilk, which I never seem to have.
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted 1 1/4 c. whole milk 2 tbsp. white vinegar 1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 c. spelt flour* 3/4 c. all purpose unbleached flour 2 tbsp. pure cane sugar (see note below) 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 3/4 c. frozen wild blueberries 1/4 c. crushed walnuts
Prepare the wet ingredients. In a small saucepan, melt butter on low until half melted. Set aside to continue melting and cooling. Meanwhile, measure the milk in a liquid measuring cup. Add in the vinegar, and set aside to curdle.
Prepare the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients except for the blueberries and walnuts. Set aside.
To the cooled butter, whisk in the egg until evenly combined (see egg tip below). Slowly pour the egg mixture into the curdled milk, whisking continually until evenly combined. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, gently whisking until almost combined and some flour clumps remain. Using a spatula, fold in the frozen blueberries until just combined, no further. Allow the batter to rest for about 5 minutes.
While the batter rests, preheat a cast iron griddle on medium-low heat. Before cooking, lightly spray the surface with a neutral oil, adjusting the heat as needed. Fold the batter gently 1-2 times more to incorporate. Using a 2-ounce spring release scoop (about 1/4 cup), add pancake batter to the griddle. Lightly sprinkle each pancake with crushed walnut. The pancake is ready to flip once bubbles begin to appear on the surface, pancake thickens, and the edges begin to cook. (See notes for heat adjustments.) Flip and allow pancake to continue cooking undisturbed. Gently press center to test doneness as if you were checking a chicken breast. It should be mostly firm when ready. Stack cooked pancakes on a plate until ready to serve.
To serve, top with warmed maple syrup. We take our pancakes with a huge dollop of plain whole milk yogurt too.
Tip: to bring your eggs to room temperature more quickly, set them in a bowl of warm water.
Getting your cooking surface heat just right is the key to making great pancakes. Too low of heat will keep the pancake from rising to their potential, leaving a gummy, uncooked texture. Too high of heat will cause the exterior of the pancake to burn before the insides cook through. Of course every cooking surface is different, so it will take a bit of trial and error and modification to your kitchen to achieve the perfect pancake. If using cast iron, which I prefer, know that it maintains heat really well once preheated. By the end of cooking, I’ve typically reduced the heat on my griddle to accommodate the heat wave. Look for cues from the pancake and adjust.
*Spelt flour is an ancient grain with a higher protein content than most traditional wheat flours sold in grocery stores. It has a light nutty flavor. I’ve been baking with it the last 6 months or so and have fallen in love with it.
I like my pancakes barely sweet and finished with maple syrup to my liking. If you prefer your pancakes on the sweeter side add an addition 1-2 tablespoons of sugar to the recipe.
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