Get ready for the weekend, folks. We have a new pancake recipe threatening to supplant our favorite blueberry-cornmeal pancakes. This one is great for several reasons: it comes together quickly; it's healthy (whole wheat flour, not much fat or sugar); it's cook-friendly--not a single pancake had a burnt side or raw center; and the texture is light and tender.
What I like most about it, though, are the sweet, caramelized bananas. I did this years ago with different banana pancakes I made from a mix, but when it came time to cook these babies, I wasn't convinced the extra step was worth. Mike, in his culinary wisdom, insisted that we do it, and he was so right.
If you've studied banana pancake recipes (and, yes, I have), then you've noticed most call for chopping or mashing the bananas and stirring them into the batter. Instead of incorporating the slices, we add them to the skillet first, giving them a minute or so to brown BEFORE pouring the batter over them. Thanks to that direct contact with the heat, they have the chance to brown while their natural sugars intensify. And when it's finished cooking and flipped onto the plate, you have one very nice-looking banana pancake!
Banana Pecan Pancakes
Walnuts would be a good substitute for the pecans. Another idea is to replace the nuts AND the melted butter with ¼ cup of chunky peanut butter. I haven’t tried it yet, but I would microwave it to loosen the consistency and add it to the liquid ingredients in place of the butter. Finally, this is mostly a note to myself, but you might find it helpful in a pinch: Since I was about ¼ cup short of buttermilk, I supplemented it with ¼ cup of reduced fat milk to no ill effect. I wouldn’t replace more than ½ cup of the buttermilk with regular milk, however, since buttermilk helps make the pancakes tender and reacts with the baking soda for leavening.
Makes about 10 4-inch pancakes
1/3 cup pecans (28 g)
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (150 g) (all-purpose may be substituted)
1/3 cup medium stone ground cornmeal (44 g)
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 to 2 ripe bananas, sliced
Pure maple syrup for serving.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and roast 5 to 8 minutes, stirring once, until browned and fragrant. Cool slightly and chop.
Meanwhile, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add the buttermilk and melted butter and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just moistened. Fold in the chopped pecans.
Heat a large skillet to medium-high and coat with nonstick cooking spray (oil or butter is fine too). Place 4 to 6 banana slices in the skillet and cook about 45-60 seconds. Scoop 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter over the bananas and spread to uniform thickness if needed. Cook until air bubbles form in the center, or until the bottom of the pancake is deep golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until second side is browned, 1 to 2 minutes more. Watch carefully to prevent overcooking, adjusting the heat level as necessary (Of course, you can cook more than one at a time, or many, if you have a griddle.). Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with maple syrup.