Saturday, March 10, 2012

Banana Pancakes

I'm not a huge breakfast person. That's not to say that I don't enjoy breakfast; in fact, at times it can be my favorite meal of the day. It's just that I'm often too lazy or unmotivated to make anything more complicated than a fried egg sandwich. Every so often I'll make something that takes a little more effort on the weekend, such as pancakes. Oddly enough though, pancakes do not seem to be my strong suite. Give me a boxed mix and I'm good to go, but making them from scratch? For some reason I have a tendency to under cook them, which leads to a mushy middle. Ask Sean, he can attest to my failed, but still tasty, attempts.

Fortunately enough, this recipe worked out well for me. In my own defence, I have one old school oven. Before moving into my apartment, I had never even seen something like my current oven. Rather than having a dial for the different temperatures, it has buttons. The buttons are: off, warm, low, 3, 2, and High. Huh? Well, see for yourself:

I understand if you're gaping in confusion at this picture. Perhaps a close-up will help clarify things.

So this is what I have to work with. I recognise that my inability to make a perfect pancake lies somewhat with me- but can you blame me when I'm working with this? The problem is that the ideal temperature lies somewhere in between 2 and 3, as 2 cooks the pancakes too fast and results in burning, and 3 goes way too slow. I end up flipping 2 on for half a minute before turning it back. And if you turn the oven on... that changes everything. As a result, everything burns much hotter. So number 3 can turn into 2 or even 1. And you better watch yourself- touch the top of the stove (not on the element unless it's off of course) when the oven is on, and you will burn yourself. It becomes outrageously hot and raises the temperature of my tiny apartment by several degrees. That also might have something to do with the fact that the door doesn't shut properly.

Anyways, now that I've whined about my inadequate appliances, I'll get back to the banana pancakes! These babies miraculously did turn out as hoped. They had a lovely banana flavour, and topped with sliced bananas and warm maple syrup they made a tasty and filling breakfast, that is what I like to think somewhat healthy! In the future I may even substitute half the flour for whole wheat flour, which is something I often do in breads or muffins.

Yield: about 10 pancakes

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing the pan
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 small ripe banana, mashed
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Additional banana slices, for serving
Maple syrup, whipped cream, etc. for serving

Preheat the oven to 150˚ F. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl; set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; whisk together to combine.
In a another bowl, combine the mashed banana, milk, eggs and vanilla and whisk to blend. Add the melted butter and the banana mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix gently with a rubber spatula until just blended (the batter will be slightly lumpy).

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Grease lightly with butter. Drop the batter in 1/3 cup portions onto the heated cooking surface. Cook until a few bubbles form in the top surface and the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the pancake over and cook on the remaining side until golden brown, 1-2 minutes more. Transfer finished pancakes to a plate in the warm oven while you use the remaining batter, re-greasing the pan as needed. Serve warm with maple syrup and sliced bananas as desired.

Source: Williams Sonoma

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