In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest, rubbing the zest in with your fingertips until the sugar is pale yellow and scented.
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Add the lemon sugar and whisk until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter. Pour this wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined, a lumpy batter is fine.
Let the batter rest for 10 minutes, meanwhile heat your griddle or frying pan on the stove. Grease with some butter or non stick cooking spray.
When batter has rested, scoop out 1/4 cup of a batter at a time onto frying pan. Cook until bubbling on one side and golden brown on the other, then flip and cook for another 1 minute or so until golden brown on both sides. See recipe notes on how to keep finished panakes warm until you are done cooking all the batter.
Serve with pure maple syrup and enjoy!