Brown Butter Pancakes with Hazelnuts and Blood Orange Syrup

Brown Butter Pancakes with Hazelnuts and Blood Orange Syrup
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About This Recipe

When the sun rises over the lush vineyards of Napa Valley, there's no better way to start your day than with a delicious and indulgent brunch. As a Napa local, I find inspiration in the incredible ingredients that grow in our region, and it was during one of those magical mornings that I created these Brown Butter Pancakes with Hazelnuts and Blood Orange Syrup.

The recipe was born from the desire to showcase the unique flavors of Napa Valley, starting with the nutty and rich brown butter. Hazelnuts, which can be found in some of our local orchards, add a delightful crunch and depth to the pancakes. The blood orange syrup, made from the vibrant citrus fruits that flourish in California's wine country, adds a tangy sweetness that brightens the dish.

If you're looking for the perfect side dish to complement these pancakes, consider a bowl of fresh, mixed berries or a simple arugula salad lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. Both options highlight the fresh produce that California is known for and create a well-balanced meal.

As for dessert, a light and airy citrus panna cotta would be a lovely choice, continuing the theme of bright, zesty flavors. Alternatively, you could also opt for a velvety chocolate mousse, which would contrast beautifully with the citrus notes in the pancakes.

Sourcing the best ingredients for this recipe is a breeze when you're in wine country. Visit the Napa Farmers Market for fresh, local produce and hazelnuts. For butter, I recommend Clover Sonoma, a family-owned dairy that has been providing high-quality products for over a century.

When it comes to wine pairings, I suggest exploring sparkling wines that can cleanse your palate and complement the citrus notes in the dish. A crisp and refreshing Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs from Schramsberg Vineyards would be a delightful choice, or for a more luxurious option, the Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut from Domaine Carneros Winery, founded by the Taittinger family, adds elegance to your brunch.

Of course, no visit to Napa Valley would be complete without exploring some of the amazing wineries that dot the landscape. In addition to Schramsberg Vineyards and Domaine Carneros Winery, consider visiting the charming and family-owned Frog's Leap Winery, which offers a delightful array of organic and sustainably-farmed wines. Their Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon wines are especially noteworthy.

As you enjoy your Brown Butter Pancakes with Hazelnuts and Blood Orange Syrup, take a moment to appreciate the flavors and beauty of Napa Valley. The rolling vineyards, the golden sunlight, and the diverse culinary scene all come together to create a truly unforgettable experience for both your palate and your soul.

Happy cooking, and cheers to your Napa Valley-inspired culinary adventures!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Blood Orange

Blood oranges stand out from their citrus family with their distinct ruby-red hue and a flavor profile that’s a mix of raspberry undertones and classic sweet-tart orange notes. These fruits don't just shine in terms of taste but also bring a myriad of health benefits to the table:

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Anthocyanins, responsible for the blood orange's unique color, are powerful antioxidants that combat oxidative stress.
  • Packed with Vitamin C: A single blood orange can provide over 100% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, which aids in skin health, immune function, and iron absorption.
  • Dietary Fiber: Beneficial for gut health and digestion.

The use of blood orange syrup in this recipe not only elevates the pancake's flavor profile but also infuses the dish with a refreshing zest, making it a true star ingredient.

How to Brown Butter Perfectly

  1. Choose the Right Pan: A light-colored skillet is best as it allows you to clearly see the color change.
  2. Medium Heat: Start by melting the butter over medium heat. This ensures even browning.
  3. Stir Constantly: As the butter melts, it'll begin to foam. Stir consistently to ensure even heating and prevent burning.
  4. Watch for Color Change: The butter will progress from a lemony-yellow to a golden-tan and finally to a toasty-brown. Once you see brown specks at the bottom, and it has a nutty aroma, remove it from the heat.
  5. Transfer Immediately: Pour the browned butter into a different container to stop the cooking process.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I substitute regular oranges for blood oranges? Yes, you can substitute regular oranges, but keep in mind the flavor profile and color will be different.
  2. How can I make this recipe dairy-free? Replace the butter with a dairy-free alternative like coconut oil or vegan butter. Use almond milk or soy milk in place of buttermilk, adding a tablespoon of vinegar to curdle it.
  3. How should leftovers be stored? Store pancakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The blood orange syrup should also be refrigerated and can last up to a week.
  4. I don’t have hazelnuts. What can I use instead? Almonds, walnuts, or pecans are excellent substitutes for hazelnuts. Ensure they're toasted for added flavor.
  5. Is there an alternative to using cornstarch for the syrup? Arrowroot powder or tapioca starch can be used as a thickening agent in place of cornstarch.

Tips for Success

  1. Don't Overmix: To ensure fluffy pancakes, mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing can lead to dense pancakes.
  2. Use Fresh Citrus: Freshly squeezed blood orange juice will give the best flavor for the syrup. Avoid store-bought, processed juices.
  3. Test Your Baking Powder: Ensure your baking powder is still active. Mix a bit with water, and if it fizzes, it's good to go. Inactive baking powder can result in flat pancakes.

Recipe Overview

Brown Butter Pancakes with Hazelnuts and Blood Orange Syrup
Lily Anderson
6 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


For the Pancakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, browned and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted

For the Blood Orange Syrup:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 4-5 blood oranges)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
  2. In another bowl, combine the beaten eggs, buttermilk, and browned butter.
  3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Fold in the toasted hazelnuts.
  4. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Spoon 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet for each pancake, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  5. For the blood orange syrup, combine the blood orange juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the syrup thickens, about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve the pancakes warm, topped with the blood orange syrup.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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