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Pretty in Pink Pancakes

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

Pretty in Pink Pancakes. Photo by Andrew Wellman.

In the spring issue, we featured beets in our regular department, Cooking In Season.

Here’s one of the recipes we included. For more, pick up a copy of Spring Vermont Life, or click here to subscribe.

Pretty in Pink Pancakes

Adapted from 2012 Junior Iron Chef Team Fairfax from Bellows Free Academy Fairfax High School: students Lindsey Legault-Knowles, Morgan Marnell, Aman Saini and Ben Tague coached by teacher Sue O’Brien.

It’s hard to resist cooking these magenta-hued pancakes in heart shapes. (Yes, they’d be perfect for Valentine’s Day.) The recipe was inspired by a favorite whole wheat pancake recipe combined with an idea from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbook, which suggests adding grated apple and beet puree to packaged pancake mix. Whatever shape the pancakes take, adults and kids alike will fall in love with them, although you might want to wait until after they do to reveal the secret ingredient.

2 medium red beets (about 9 ounces)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon fine salt
2 eggs
2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup (depending how sweet you like things)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 ½ cups buttermilk
1 cup grated apples (about two medium apples peeled and coarsely grated)
2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil, for frying pancakes

Trim the beets but do not peel them. Boil them in water on the stovetop, or steam them in a microwave until a knife pierces them easily. Cool slightly and then peel and chop coarsely. Purée the beets until smooth in a blender or food processor. (Add a tablespoon or so of water if necessary.) Measure out ½ cup of purée and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat and all-purpose flours, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract, melted butter, buttermilk, beet purée and grated apple. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the liquid ingredients just until they are well blended and no pockets of flour remain.

Set a large frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. When the pan is hot, ladle scant 1/4-cupfuls of batter onto the surface, spreading them as necessary to about 3 inches in diameter. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes until bubbles form on the tops of the pancakes and then flip them to finish cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat, adding oil to pan as necessary, until batter is used up. Serve pancakes hot with Vermont maple syrup. Makes about two dozen pancakes.

Click here for tips on growing beets.

Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen

Contact Melissa Pasanen at and follow her on Twitter at

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