For the carrot cake pancakes: Put the carrots in a large pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes; drain. Put the cooked carrots and buttermilk in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and orange zest and process to fully incorporate.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Pour the carrot mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. The batter may be covered and refrigerated for 1 hour before using.
For the sweetened yogurt: Combine the yogurt, honey, orange zest and a pinch of salt. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to overnight so the flavors can come together. If desired, transfer the yogurt mixture to a couple of plastic squeeze bottles and add a few drops of food coloring to festively decorate the pancakes.
Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Working in batches, ladle batter onto the griddle to make whatever size pancakes you like, leaving some space between them. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and flip with a silicon spatula. Cook about 1 minute more on the second side.
Serve immediately or transfer to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat and buttering the griddle as necessary for each batch. Serve with the sweetened yogurt and the coconut, walnuts and chocolate chips, if desired.
Recipe courtesy of Bryan Voltaggio and Michael Voltaggio