I like to make pancakes about once or twice a year. This isn't for any particular reason, I just don't usually crave sweet things first thing in the morning, but because we happened to have a giant jug of maple syrup just patiently sitting in our fridge, how could I resist? The stars just seemed to align.
I think my gripe with pancakes has always been that they're usually sort of boring. There are of course exceptions to the rule, plain, fluffy pancakes can be great but usually I'm left wanting more and wishing that there was something more exciting going on. Some sort of fruit mixed in with the batter is usually a respectable solution to my pancake quandary, but sometimes I find even that's not enough. After all, doesn't the pancake deserve to be elevated, even if it's just a bit?
When I'm at my best, I'm making granola on a regular basis and I like to add it to my morning yogurt or just snack on it throughout the day. But I don't think it should end there, why not put a little crunch into in my pancake batter? I started with a basic Cook's Illustrated recipe for these pancakes and added a mashed up banana, a hefty pinch of cinnamon and a drizzle of vanilla extract. When the batter is poured into a hot skillet, it gets topped by sliced bananas and sprinkled with homemade granola. When the pancake gets flipped, the granola side gets toasted and crispy so that when you bite into them, it tastes a little reminiscent of banana bread, but with a hearty crispness to it. With lots of flavor and the added texture, courtesy of the granola, and when finished off with a good quality maple syrup, this is my kind of pancake.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk (plus an extra tablespoon or so if batter is too thick)
2 bananas, one mashed up and one thinly sliced
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granola (my homemade version can be found here
A drizzle of vegetable oil and a small pat of butter (for brushing griddle)
Start by mixing the dry ingredients into a bowl. Pour buttermilk and milk into a bowl and add the egg white. Mix egg yolk and melted butter together and then combine with the buttermilk mixture. Add vanilla extract, add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk to combine. Fold in the mashed banana.
Add the butter and vegetable oil to a large, hot skillet. Pour batter into the skillet, 1/4 cup at a time making sure not to crowd the skillet. Top each pancake with granola and a couple slices of banana. Once the surface of the pancake starts to bubble a little and the bottom starts to brown a bit, carefully flip the pancake. Heat until the other side is done and serve while warm, granola side up.
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