Regardless of whether it is indeed the most important meal of the day, breakfast is my most favorite meal of the day. Sweet rolls, savory sausages, fruity muffins, salty bacon, bitter coffee…it’s all good eats in my book. The only hitch is that I’m not a big fan of eating it at actual breakfast time. I love a good breakfast, but my favorite time to have it is for dinner.
Years ago, my college best friend and I would take the occasional long, expensive cab rides from our respective Hyde Park homes to a diner called Clarke’s for a 2am breakfast. The eggs were always light and airy, the potatoes crispy and salty, and the pancakes as fluffy and sweet as sugared clouds. Ever since then we’ve patronized many diners together in search of great breakfasts at all times of the day. We were particularly dismayed when one of our favorite diners, located one block away from the downtown movie theater, shuttered its doors after 25 years of service. We still lament its loss nearly ten years later.
Not surprisingly, breakfast is also one of my favorite things to cook for dinner. Scrambled eggs and some sausage or bacon is my go-to meal when I need to whip up something quick or don’t have a lot in my refrigerator (there were a lot of scrambled eggs after my evening classes when I was in grad school). However, despite this love, I’ve never been much for making pancakes. I think that’s partly because I believe I’m not a particularly good pancake maker, but then I think that maybe that’s because I don’t make pancakes. Hardly ever. We’re talking an average of about twice a year.
So, maybe part of my challenge this year should be to cook more pancakes and find some pancake recipes that I really like. A good breakfast just isn’t complete without them and what kind of cook would I be if I couldn’t whip up quick, satisfying Sunday morning fare? Or, in my case, Wednesday night sustenance.
That said, when I saw this recipe for Banana Oatmeal Pancakes in an issue of Fitness Magazine, I was a little apprehensive. It seemed easy enough and healthy, obviously, but I’ve found the recipes in this magazine to be a little lacking. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try and I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The pancakes weren’t dense or heavy, as I had feared, and neither the banana nor the oatmeal flavors were particularly overpowering. Everything melded together to create a lightly sweetened cake with a subtle wisp of banana that even I, a recently reformed banana hater, could enjoy. While I’m sure some toasted nuts would taste lovely on top of these, I found them to be perfectly fine with some thinly sliced bananas on top and a drizzle of maple syrup. This recipe will most definitely be added to my arsenal of breakfast goodies.
The original recipe comes from a vegan cookbook, but, as you may have guessed from the bacon appearing in the photo, I am not vegan. Instead of soy milk I used skim milk, because that’s what I happened to have on hand. And instead of cooking spray to coat the pan, I used butter. (Hey, I exercise so I can eat things like bacon and butter!) I halved the recipe for my purposes and found that it made six medium-sized pancakes. The recipe below appears as I made it, but if you or someone you love is vegan, I’m sure the original is just as good.
Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
¾ cup fat-free milk
½ cup rolled oats
1 banana, chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
butter, for the pan
In a blender, puree milk and oats, until smooth. Add banana, flour, salt, and baking powder and puree a few seconds more. Let batter rest 10 minutes.
Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Put a small pat of butter in the pan and swirl it around until completely melted. Scoop the batter into the pan in ¼ cup increments. Reduce heat to medium low and cook pancakes until air bubbles appear and underside is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook about 5 minutes more. Top with sliced bananas and maple syrup, if desired.
Makes 2 servings.