Friday, August 3, 2012

Strawberry Cardamom Buttermilk Pancakes + Nectresse

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nectresse™ Sweetener. All opinions are 100% mine.
I'm not much for artificial sweeteners - never have been.  I pass up those little pink and blue packets for the white or brown ones.  Aside from all of the man-made junk inside the artificial sweeteners, they just taste nasty to me.  But when I had an opportunity to try a sweetener that is 100% natural and made from fruit, I was all in!  Made from fruit, you say!?  Why yes!  Monk fruit to be exact.  Monk fruit is a small green melon that has been grown on "lush vines in remote mountain regions" of Asia for hundreds of years.    The extract from the monk fruit is combined with a blend of other natural sweeteners to bring that rich sugar-taste with less calories.  What is this elusive sweetener called?  It is NECTRESSE™Sweetener and it is 150 times sweeter than sugar.  Which means, you don't have to use very much...AND it has zero calories.

So, what to do with my box of Nectresse packets?  Well, I sweeten my coffee and my iced tea (not to mention two of our summer favorites: Lemonade and Limeade), so substituting Nectresse in those applications was a no-brainer.  A packet in my morning coffee?  I liked it!  I was skeptical (remember...I'm a raw sugar or brown sugar in my coffee kinda gal), but it was great.  I only needed one packet, which is fantastic, because even though I know I'm ingesting way too many calories with my coffee normally, I do it anyway.  Nectresse will eliminate some of those first-thing-in-the-morning-calories from my cherished morning ritual!  Ditto on the iced beverages - it dissolved beautifully and added a natural-tasting sweetness.
But the real test was using it to bake something.  Again, I've never been one to substitute sugar, honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar with an alternate sweetener in my baking.  And due to the science of baking, I'm still not comfortable with the thought of using alternative sweeteners (no matter how natural they are) to bake a loaf of bread; that will take a longer period of experimentation.  So I decided to start simpler and use Nectresse to sweeten a batch of pancakes.  I had a pint of strawberries just begging to be used, so I combined those with some ground cardamom, some buttermilk, and the Nectresse to whip up a tempting breakfast.  And guess what?  They were amazing!  I like my pancakes lightly sweetened, and adding some Nectresse was just the thing to accent the sweetness of the little chunks of strawberries.  Depending on how you like to top your pancakes, use more or less and adjust to your tastes.

So what say you?  Are you intrigued?  Would you like to give Nectresse a try and decide for yourself?  Go ahead and try a FREE sample of NECTRESSE™Sweetener.  And who knows...like me, you may find yourself rooting through the pink and blue packets in search of the orange ones from now on!
Strawberry Buttermilk Cardamom Pancakes

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Keywords: breakfast buttermilk strawberries Nectresse

Ingredients (2-2½ dozen)
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4-6 (2.4 g each) Nectresse natural no calorie sweetener
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2¼-2½ c. buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ c. melted butter
  • 1 c. chopped strawberries
to serve (optional):
  • sliced strawberries
  • pure maple syrup
  • powdered sugar
Instructions
Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. Whisk wet ingredients together to just combine. Start with the lesser amount of buttermilk. Combine wet and dry and stir until just blended, without over-mixing (may be a few lumps). If mixture seems too thick, drizzle in more buttermilk until it gets to the consistency that you like. Fold in chopped strawberries.

Heat a cast-iron (or other heavy) skillet over medium heat. Spray with a bit of pan spray if your pan needs it, then drop batter by ¼-cup scoops onto hot skillet. When edges of pancakes start to look dry and bubbles appear and start to pop, flip pancake. Cook until golden on that side. Stack up on a tray in a warm oven to keep hot while you finish use the remaining batter to make pancakes.

Serve hot with extra sliced strawberries strewn around the plate and drizzled with maple syrup or dusted with powdered sugar.

note:
Start with the lesser amount of Nectresse and taste the batter or the first cooked pancake. If you like it sweeter, add some more.
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Check out this video testimonial from Lisa Ling, Nectresse Sweetener spokesperson. Although Ling has a mad sweet tooth, she's always been cautious about her sugar intake and relied on no-calorie sweeteners to satisfy it due to a family history of diabetes. Nectresse is her favorite sweetener.

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