"The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine."
- Hippocrates

January 21, 2010

Blueberry Banana Pancakes

When Jeff and I bought our first home, we had these romantic visions of lazy Saturday mornings at the dining room table, still cozy in our PJs, reading the newspaper for hours, passing the Arts and Lifestyle sections back and forth, all while sipping hot coffee from a seemingly endless pot. Alas, we've been living in our home for over two years and this fantasy has yet to be realized...Oh well, it's still nice to dream right??

Although we're still waiting for our hours-long coffee and newspaper fest to materialize, we have been successful in establishing one cherished Saturday morning tradition - Pancakes!! And I highly recommend you try it. These pancakes are really easy to whip up and always turn out fantastic - not too dense or too light - all without the need for dairy or eggs!

Not only do they taste great, but they are healthy too! Well, healthier than the average anyway... They're made with whole wheat flour (I've actually tried them with everyday white flour and they turned out a bit rubbery - so try them with whole wheat if you can), they have a whole banana and lots of blueberries! Plus, I suggest adding some chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds for extra health benefits (and great added texture)!

Makes 4 medium sized pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds) (optional)
1 ripe banana
1 - 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, etc)
1 tbsp sweetener such as maple syrup or sugar (optional)
About 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
About 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying
Lots of real maple syrup!!

Put a serving dish in the oven and preheat to 210 degrees.

Mix flour, baking powder and nuts in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mash banana with a fork or masher until most of the lumps are gone. Add 1 cup non-dairy milk and sweetener to the banana and mix well. Add the wet mixture to the dry and gently mix until just wet (don't beat this mixture or the batter will be rubbery). If you notice the batter is too thick, add up to 1/4 cup more non-dairy milk until you reach the desired consistency.

Preheat your frying pan at about medium-high heat with a tablespoon of oil. When hot (tip: a drop of water should sizzle), drop 1/3 cup of batter into the pan then immediately drop the blueberries into the batter (add as little or as many as you want) - gently press them down into the batter while the pancake cooks. When the batter starts bubbling on the sides and in the middle you're ready to flip! Cook the other side for another 3 or 4 minutes to ensure the batter cooks around the blueberries.

Once cooked through, transfer cooked pancake to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

My humble tips for great pancakes:

1) Use a small frying pan if you have one (e.g. 9 inch). This will keep all the oil inside the area where the pancake cooks - ensuring maximum outer crispiness and less waste!

2) Drop any fruit pieces to the pancake batter AFTER you've poured it into the pan - otherwise you'll get lots of color from the fruit bleeding into the batter (not a bad thing, but just the way I like it).

3) Use a measured amount of batter for each pancake for a uniform stack - and less fighting over who gets the largest pancake!

4) Make sure your heat is just right - I keep adjusting the heat throughout the cooking process, the first pancake is cooked at the highest heat (about medium high) and I keep inching it down from there - by the time I get to my fourth one, the heat is usually set at medium low.

5) Resist the urge to keep checking if the underside is cooked - give the pancake time to cook through a bit and get nice a crispy on the outside. Wait until you see bubbles all the way through the batter, then flip!

6) Whenever you have a ripe banana lying around but don't necessarily want to cook with it right away, just freeze it! When you're ready to use it, defrost for about 45 seconds, cut off the top and squeeze the banana out of it's peel - super easy!

Well, that's it for this week - geez, who knew simple pancakes could result in such a lengthy post! Have a great weekend!

This recipe was adapted from How it all Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer