Banana Cinnamon Pancakes

I know this will shock many of you, but I’ve never been a fan of pancakes. Crepes, sure. But pancakes? I’m lucky if I can eat one before feeling slightly nauseous and incredibly full.

I used to think it was the texture that was the problem and later on I thought the single-item breakfast was to blame, because every time I got pancakes I wished I had gotten home fries with bacon and scrambled eggs instead! But after making homemade-from-scratch pancakes for the first time a few weeks ago, I now totally know what the real problem is: IHOP. I have hated IHOP ever since I can remember, but my whole family loves it! Come to think of it I’m the only one who hates Cinnabon, bad Chinese food takeout, and a few other “commercial” venues, too . . . perhaps I was destined to be a snooty, chain-hating New Yorker right from the beginning?

No matter. I’m here to tell you that if you, like me, grew up without ever eating freshly-made-from-scratch pancakes, you need to try this.

NOW.

Don’t cop out and use a mix. It’s barely harder to measure 3 ingredients and mix them up. You do it for cakes all the time, don’t you? Why settle for crappy pancakes when amazing ones will take just 5 minutes longer?

Updated 9/5/09: This post has been Stumbled! I’m so honored!

If you like this recipe, please too!

The recipe I’ve used so far is from Joy of Cooking, which really is my go-to book for basic, sort of all-American recipes like this one. After all, when I decided to attempt an apple pie for the first time, I turned to Joy . . . and what’s more basic all-American than apple pie? Not much!

The dry ingredients are what you would expect: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder. For these pancakes, I added cinnamon too.

The wet ingredients are also pretty standard: milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla.

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that you have all of these ingredients in your house right now, don’t you? That’s how easy this is! Oh, and by the way, if you drink 1% milk like we do, you can totally make this recipe with that. Don’t worry about buying full-fat milk for this one, it doesn’t matter one bit!

But anyway, this post is about banana pancakes, so you may be wondering where the bananas come in? They actually go into the wet ingredients:

I like big chunks of banana, so I sliced the bananas instead of chopping them like Joy of Cooking advises. The downside to doing it my way is that you may end up with a pancake that has no fruit in it, or some that are really lumpy due to too much fruit . . . but I don’t mind as long as I get a good mouthful of warm banana once in a while. Even the crappy bananas we get here taste amazing when cooked into pancakes! Don’t get me started on how much better bananas are in South America . . .

According to Joy of Cooking, you should let the fruit soak in the liquid for about 30 minutes before mixing the wet and dry ingredients together. I’m not sure it’s really necessary for bananas since they’re not dry, but I did it anyway figuring it couldn’t hurt. If you’re in a hurry, feel free to skip this step!

Right before cooking, whisk the dry and wet ingredients together:

Just like with cakes, overmixing is the enemy! Just whip everything together quickly, being sure to grab any flour sitting in the corners of your container, and then leave it alone. Lumps are ok and definitely preferable to overmixing.

Once your pan is hot (a drop of water should splatter and sizzle when dropped on the pan, not just boil), start pouring out the batter. In a non-stick pan, you don’t need any oil or butter to keep the pancakes from sticking, just pour the batter right onto the pan! I like to use a soup ladle so that I can easily get same-sized pancakes without worrying about measuring or even paying much attention. I use the smallest ladle I have, which produces pancakes about 7-8″ in diameter.

When you see lots of bubbles like these:

It’s time to flip the pancake. I really suck at flipping them and half my pancakes end up with a crease down the middle where I tried to lift them up. No matter, these don’t need to be pretty to be delicious!

What you DO need is to keep the pancakes warm while you finish making them all. Once they cool down they’re just not very good and there’s no getting around that. To keep them warm as I work through the stack, I cover them with a 9″ cake pan:

It works perfectly because it’s tall enough to cover multiple pancakes at a time, and since the sides don’t slope down like a pot lid it doesn’t squish anything.

In no time at all, you’ll have a big stack:

Smear on some real butter (please, no margarine! Even a tiny bit of butter is better than margarine), drizzle some real Maple syrup on top, and dig in! I like to save some banana to serve on the side, it’s fun to have some cooked and some raw banana to eat on the same plate.

Banana Cinnamon Pancakes
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
Makes about 7 pancakes, 7-8″ in diameter

  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour (don’t use King Arthur All Purpose, it’s too heavy!)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, sliced, plus more for serving (this is a good use for too-ripe bananas!)

In small bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Let bananas soak in liquid for 30 minutes.

Heat your non-stick pan over medium-high heat until it passes the water-drop-test. Working one at a time, pour out batter and let it sit until you see lots of bubbles (takes about 3 minutes), then flip pancake and give it another 2 minutes on the other side. If the pancakes are coming out too dark, lower the heat a bit (I like mine quite browned as you can see). Continue making pancakes one at a time, stacking them on a dish and covering stack with a cake pan, until all the batter is used up. Then dig in, quickly!

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