Sunday, October 25, 2009

PotW: Bananas about pancakes!

[last week's PotW: Rosemary pancakes with poached Bosc pears]

When it comes to pancakes, I don't monkey around.  Okay okay--I promise, just getting all the monkey jokes out of my system before I begin talking about banana pancakes!

There are so many things that you can do with overripe bananas--the most stereotypical being banana bread.  But I didn't feel like banana bread, despite the huge bunch of nearly overly-ripe bananas that I had on hand.  So banana pancakes it was.

Banana pancakes
with fried spiced banana,
brown sugar, and raw cacao nibs

With banana pancakes alone, I still didn't manage to use up all of the bananas I had on hand, so I decided to make double banana pancakes.  I took the leftover bananas, combined them with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, brown sugar, and a dash of lemon juice and fried them in butter.  The result was this amazing near-caramelized banana sauce for the pancakes that would seriously blow any maple syrup out of the water.  Then, the bitterness and crunch from a bit of raw cacao nib sprinkled on top provided a great counterpoint in texture for the plate.

But I shouldn't take all of the credit for the banana "sauce" on these pancakes.  In truth, I was inspired by a banana memory from my Berkeley undergraduate days (ah, undergrad cooking--how poorly we ate!).  Back when I was an undergrad, my roommate and I hosted this potluck for our music group, and one of the desserts that our friend brought was bananas that he then fried in oil with a bit of cinnamon and sugar and served drizzled in chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream.  I remember my roommate being so enamored by this dessert that she folded it into her repertoire and proceeded to cook it.  A lot.  So here's a shout-out to Amy and Jeff who were the inspiration behind these banana pancakes!

Anyways, the week ahead is going to be a packed one!  Be sure to tune in on Monday and Tuesday to hear what all the hubbub will be about!

Read on for recipes...

Banana pancakes
makes about 15-18 silver dollar pancakes

9oz. buttermilk (I used buttermilk because I had that on hand. Regular milk should work fine.)
2 extra-ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 tspn vanilla
8 oz. flour
2 heaping Tbspn brown sugar
2 tspn baking powder
2 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn salt

1. Combine buttermilk and banana in a bowl.  Mash and whisk thoroughly until most of the banana chunks have incorporated into the milk.  Add the eggs, melted butter, and vanilla and combine.
2. Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth.  Batter will be thick.
3. Oil lightly a medium hot skillet and cook the pancakes.  

Caramelized banana "sauce"
Please note that the amounts in this recipe are approximate.

4-5 extra ripe bananas, cut into slices on the diagonal
2 heaping Tbspn brown sugar
1-2 Tbspn cinnamon
1 tspn ground cloves
1 - 1 1/2 tspn freshly grated nutmeg
juice from half a lemon
butter, for pan
raw cacao nibs (if you can't find cacao nibs, feel free to sub with crushed pecans or walnuts)

1. In a bowl, lightly combine chopped bananas, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and lemon juice. When bananas are coated by the spice combination, set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan on medium high (to high, depending on your stovetop), melt a generous pat of butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Don't go easy on the butter! 
3. Add the bananas to the pan and allow to fry for about 5-8 minutes, until the liquid has reduced into a thin caramel consistency.
4. Remove bananas from pan, arrange over pancakes, pour sauce from pan on top, and garnish with cacao nibs.



  1. oh my! This is breakfast decadence! Dessert for breakfast indeed! Now I know what to do with some of my overripe bananas...

  2. absolutely divine--best batch of pancakes i've seen in a loooong time. :)

  3. Wowo i just love all the pictures delcious and so so creamy.

  4. i want to make this for my friends and serve it with coconut sorbet, but i'm not sure if the two forms and flavours will quite meld... any thoughts dear chef? i suppose the only way to find out is to do a little taster session beforehand :)

  5. @Anonymous: oh, coconut sorbet sounds like it would go really well with banana pancakes!

  6. @Anonymous: oh, coconut sorbet sounds like it would go really well with banana pancakes!

  7. oh my! This is breakfast decadence! Dessert for breakfast indeed! Now I know what to do with some of my overripe bananas...


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