July 25

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Here’s a confession:  I… have a hard time with pancakes. Don’t misunderstand me – I love pancakes. But my skills in the kitchen when it comes to pancakes is subpar.

In the past, I’ve attempted many-a different recipe. Straight up from the Bisquick box with my own additions of strawberries or bananas or chocolate chips. Recipes on the internet that promise the lightest and fluffiest pancakes ever. And every single time, I make flat, wiggly pats of cooked dough. Sounds appealing, no?

As an adult, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my body is not what it used to be and how I treated it in high school is not acceptable. Not only in the “I can eat anything and not gain weight!” way, but in that I require a lot of fiber. I can’t subsist off of soda and burgers. Which, hey, at least I’ve realized it. Better late than never, right? Unfortunately, when it comes to fiber, there are only so many things you can eat for breakfast that… help things along. Especially when you don’t drink coffee. I rely on cereals like Fiber One. They have quite a few great varieties that don’t taste like cardboard and are my solid go-to, especially now that I’ve discovered unsweetened vanilla coconut milk, which makes for a tasty, lower calorie alternative to straight up milk. But I’m getting bored with cereal for breakfast every morning. I tried smoothies for awhile. The nice thing about smoothies is that my morning slush of powdered fiber supplements (that don’t dissolve in water) mix nicely in berry and kale/spinach smoothies. The problem with that now, is having to clean the gorram blender every single time. Then of course, there was the issue of using rancid coconut milk by accident (because it does NOT smell rancid, like regular cow’s milk does), two days in a row, and not realizing what the issue was until it was too late. To say I’ve been turned off by smoothies for the time being would be accurate.

So in an attempt to make something for breakfast that isn’t cereal, I started looking at pancake recipes again. Maybe, just maybe, I can overcome this issue I have. Maybe I can make pancakes that don’t wiggle unnaturally.

Over the weekend, I attempted such a feat with a recipe for whole wheat banana pancakes. The results were, well, I wish I had taken a photo to share with the class because they were disastrous and words cannot describe just how awful they looked. They tasted fine, but lacked any sort of light and fluffiness, so why even bother having something that tasted good? The Fellow™ liked them enough to polish off the rest of the plate, so, I guess there’s that.

Fast forward a few days. I can’t sleep. I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at 1:30 this morning and could think of nothing else but watching the two movies. Then I started trying to figure out my day. Septic pumping folks coming over some time between 8 and 12, a friend coming over somewhere in between, needing to sweep the house something awful, and wouldn’t you know it? No sleep would come. Not to mention the room was incredibly warm and I couldn’t open a window or turn on a fan. When The Fellow™ left for work around 4:30, I tossed and turned and decided to make-do with this surplus of free time. I read the first few chapters of Legend by Marie Lu and figured I should probably get up now, versus at 7:55, so I was at least half-way awake for the septic folks if they showed up at 8. I attempted the pancakes again, except using a couple new tips that I did not employ in the first batch over the weekend. Namely, carbonated water. Well, calorie free carbonated lemon-lime water. The flavor is so mild, it doesn’t overpower. Which wouldn’t be a terrible flavor if it did, but the point was to get bubbles working. I also upped the baking powder amount a smidge, and tried my damnedest to not over-mix. Gluten starts forming and working and doing its business the moment liquid hits it, so the more you mix the liquid and gluten together, the tougher it gets. That’s how you get not-light and not-fluffy pancakes. That being said, bad flour and bad baking powder are also contenders in flat pancake problems, but I know mine are still good.

So what resulted in my little additions?

Super light, super fluffy, and extremely tasty little pancakes. Nine of them, in fact. That’s enough for me to eat two, let the others cool, and freeze for later use. That way I’m not having to make pancakes from scratch every time I’m craving not-cereal. I still have some work to do when it comes to making round pancakes, but ovals are rounded, right? Good enough! Besides, shape doesn’t affect taste, so circle, oval, square, what’s it matter?

 

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Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons wheat germ
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (vanilla or regular)
1/4 cup carbonated water (plain seltzer, lemon-lime, any flavor really)
1 Tablespoon unsalted sweet cream butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed bananas

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, brown sugar, wheat germ, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Remove all lumps as best as possible.

2. In a measuring cup, combine the coconut milk, carbonated water, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas. Melt the butter. Have all wet ingredients ready to add at once.

3. Pour liquid mixture, bananas, and butter into the dry mixture. Mix the two, with a very light touch, just enough to combine. If batter is too thick, add a little more carbonated water.

4. Let sit to the side while heating a griddle or heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium (or about a 6). When pan is nice and hot, coat pan with nonstick cooking spray, canola oil, or clarified butter (regular butter will burn).

5. Pour batter onto the griddle or into the skillet (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup, depending on what size desired). When bubbles begin to form in the batter, check for color on the skillet side with a spatula; about 2 minutes. Flip the pancake. Let cook on the raw side another 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet or griddle.

If serving immediately, do so. If making a large batch, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and set in a warmed oven until ready to serve.

If freezing, let cool completely. Arrange pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet and put into the freezer. When they are fairly frozen, slide them into a freezer bag and store. Freezing them in a single layer to start keeps them from sticking together. You can also use wax paper in between the pancakes.

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