Banana Oat Bran Pancakes


Almost every morning, the kids wake up before I do.  Loretta might sing to herself in her crib for awhile if I'm lucky, and Wyatt usually wanders in and asks, "What's for breakfast, Mom?"  Is he a kid after my own heart or what?  I'll usually mutter "toast" or "something that doesn't require an alert mother," but this doesn't prevent him from asking the daily question--"Can you make pancakes?"

This prompts a complex algorithm.  I factor in the following variables:  Do I have buttermilk? (90% of the time, I do.  That's how I roll.)  Should I be eating oatmeal this morning instead?  What time is it?  Should I say "no" to Wyatt just to prove I'm not a total pushover?  At least one morning a week, my answer is "Yes!".  It's quite hard to resist Wyatt, and I love pancakes maybe even more than he does.

I didn't use to care for them much until I got pregnant with Wyatt.  Maybe that's why they're so ingrained in his cute little DNA.  Another thing I craved during my pregnancy was milk.  Pancakes and milk, as you know, are in a serious relationship.

So for the last six years, I've experimented quite a bit with little variations, and here's the current favorite.  I don't like pancakes made from a mix or with plain old milk.  I always use buttermilk, or sometimes yogurt if I run out of that.  I need something cultured to give them tang and tenderness.  Most recipes call for oil or melted butter, and I like this one because it has neither of those.  I got it off the movie No Reservations--that Catherine Zeta Jones chef movie.  The movie itself wasn't very good, mostly because I found her transformation from bitch to loving aunt lacking credibility.  But the food scenes and the pancake recipe in the extras made up for it.  Okay--now that I think about it, the movie must not have been that bad if I hung around for the extras.  Just like I only read James Joyce, I normally only watch extremely inaccessible indie films.  This was the one exception.

If you're like me, you probably have on-the-brink bananas around quite often, and this is a great way to use them up--much less of a commitment than banana bread.  And I can't write about banana pancakes without giving a shout-out to my mother-in-law Phyllis, with whom I enjoyed many memorable banana pancakes during our trip to China when I was pregnant with Wyatt.

Banana Oat Bran Pancakes
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. oat bran or whole wheat flour
pinch salt
1 Tb. sugar
1 Tb. baking powder
1/4 ts. baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 very ripe banana, mashed

Heat up a griddle on medium heat.

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl.  Whisk eggs and buttermilk together in a small bowl. Add buttermilk mixture and mashed banana to dry ingredients, stirring just until blended.  Drop 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle, flipping after bubbles have formed.  Serve with sliced bananas and toasted walnuts, if you like.  I also grated some orange zest over mine because I had a half-zested orange sitting on the cutting board.  That turned out to be fortunate.