Thursday, March 10, 2011
BANANA OAT BRAN PANCAKES
I have found The One—or perhaps I should say the Four or Five, because that is how many of these spectacular pancakes I can put away in one sitting, and let me tell you, there have been several sittings. But what I mean is the One True Pancake Recipe, which, not being a very big pancake fan, I had not even really suspected existed for me. Although I’d dutifully dabbled in a couple of earlier candidates, it was more because I like the cozy, homespun idea of making pancakes on a lazy Sunday morning than because I like the pancakes themselves. And not being a very big banana fan either, I’m surprised to find myself raving about a second banana-based recipe in the space of a month, but here we are.
I stumbled across this recipe at In Praise of Leftovers while searching for ways to use up the enormous bag of oat bran left over from making multigrain rolls. Normally I balk slightly at buying buttermilk, but I’m slowly being won over by the fact that everything I make with it turns out extra-delicious, and besides, I already had some in the fridge left over from the aforementioned banana cake. All the other ingredients were pantry staples, and the process was simplicity itself (no egg separating, mixer, or blender required). The resulting pancakes are ultra-moist and fluffy, only delicately banana-flavored, and not too sweet. The oat bran imparts a savory, nutty quality and a barely-detectable crunch. I like that the texture is much more like a “normal” (tender, pillowy) pancake than some of the whole-grain varieties I’ve tried, but you’re still getting some fiber from the bran plus some fruity goodness from the banana. You can go ahead and put syrup on them if that’s your thing, but I must protest that these are even more fan-effing-tastic with strawberry or blueberry jam instead (jamcakes!). I also happened to have some blueberries on hand, so I dropped them into a few of the pancakes I was making for A and that addition was quite well received. I imagine that chocolate chips (inside) or Nutella (outside) would not be amiss either, if you’re the type who can stomach dessert-like treats for breakfast. But me, I could just eat them plain. I’ve made them twice in two weeks already and, with ripe bananas in the freezer and buttermilk and plenty of jam in the fridge, I know it won’t be long before I do it again. Consider all other pancake recipes officially retired.
POSTSCRIPT, JANUARY 2012: I just realized I've completely forgotten to document one important improvement I habitually make to this recipe: adding vanilla extract to the batter. Because everything is better with vanilla! I've edited the recipe below to reflect this change.
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup oat bran
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups buttermilk
½ to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1. Heat up a griddle over medium heat.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk mixture and mashed banana to dry ingredients, stirring just until blended.
4. Drop ¼ cupfuls of batter onto hot griddle (I like to add a little bit of butter to the cooking surface and let it melt first). Flip the pancakes after bubbles have formed, and cook until browned.
Time: 30 minutes
Leftover potential: Pancakes can be frozen between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container and reheated on a warm griddle (I microwave them just enough to defrost the interior, then cook on a griddle until the outside is warm and crisps up slightly).