Many times while I was making these pancakes I wondered what I was doing. Things get a bit iffy when a recipe contains mashed bananas, not to mention the addition of mushy oatmeal. Too much mush for me, or so I thought. As far as food texture goes, mushy is not one that particularly calls to me. Crunchy? Creamy? Yes and yes. Mushy? Eh, not so much. However, it could be worse than mushy. Don’t even get me started about my feelings towards the adjective “toothsome”.
My point, as elusive as it may seem, is that I didn’t have high expectations for these pancakes. That being said, this recipe intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try and document the consequences. Surprisingly enough, the consequences were quite tasty.
Besides, I had just taken two final exams earlier that day and needed something to distract me from the sheer terror that struck my heart whenever I considered my impending fate.
Can we move on? I’m getting a tummy ache.
First of all, you start off by making the syrup, which is super-easy. Just place regular maple syrup, three cloves, and half a cinnamon stick in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. I must advise you to be careful when cutting the cinnamon stick in half. After trying my best to snap it with my hands, I resorted to using kitchen shears. Cut to half a cinnamon stick shooting clear across my kitchen.
It’s best to make this recipe without any innocent bystanders.
After letting it steep for about 15 minutes, you’re left with this rich, delightful, spicy substance.
I’m a huge fan of maple syrup.
While the syrup is boiling/cooling/steeping, set about making the oatmeal component. In a microwaveable bowl (or Pyrex, if you’re me), mix the oatmeal and water. Microwave for about 3 minutes, your forehead wrinkling with worry the whole time, as the oatmeal rises up to the very top of the container.
Case in point, you’ll probably want to use a larger container than this.
Now, mix the dry ingredients. Do not be like me and boil the syrup, microwave the oatmeal, and mix the dry stuff all at the same time, unless you too want to experience the symphony of disasters that will occur in your kitchen. Between the syrup almost boiling over on the stove to the oatmeal rising dangerously close to the top of the Pyrex, all of it drowning out the croony jazz tunes that you were so happily listening to moments earlier, you’ll have a boatload of problems on your hands.
Yet again, do as I say, not as I do. It happens so often, I think it’s going to be this blog’s new motto.
Once the dry ingredients are whisked together, add the yogurt, mashed banana, and milk.
Side note: I highly recommend mashing the bananas very slowly and very gently, as they will fly across the room, much like the cinnamon stick, if you do not.
I’m slightly concerned at how much of this recipe involves projectile ingredients.
Anyway, at this point, if you’re like me, you will realize that you’re completely out of eggs. Again, if you’re like me, you’re very clever and will improvise. Thanks to an informative packet of ground flaxseed, I know that mixing a tablespoon of flaxseed with three tablespoons of water can substitute for an egg.
Pour that in and mix it all up.
I honestly don’t know exactly what stage of the recipe this is a photo of. I had taken about five different photos of different stages of mixture and after a while everything starts to look the same.
Just before you get to cooking up your pancakes, you will realize that you forgot to add the brown sugar and canola oil to the oatmeal back when you made it, about a hundred years ago. After experiencing so many disasters and close-calls thus far in the recipe preparation process, you must now sigh audibly.
I didn’t hear you!
Once everything’s mixed together, you’re ready to get cooking.
Everything starts off so lovely. These pancakes are so full of promise.
As always seems to ring true in the art of pancake-making, the first batch turns out terrible. It’s just a fact of life, don’t let it deter you.
See? First batch, nice and burnt.
Now that that’s out of the way, you can move on to the second batch.
Now they’re too light!
By now I was feeling quite disappointed in my cookbook, because they obviously misled me with their recipe photos of perfectly-formed, golden brown pancakes.
Lies! All lies!
On the other side of that page you can catch a glimpse into the inner workings of my mind while I’m working on a recipe for one of these posts. It usually involves a lot of post-its filled with crazy, chicken-scratch notes.
Pay no attention to the cryptic messages that I leave myself, they all make sense in my head, which is can be a baffling place to be.
Finally, after the third batch, the pancakes will turn out much better. This batch, however, I completely forgot to take any photos of, except for the final shot, because I had become distracted. Just as I was getting into my pancake groove, my mom started worriedly calling from the living room, asking if I was burning anything, and my dad strolled into the kitchen and turned on the TV, completely drowning out my music. Suffice it to say, I was a bit annoyed.
Don’t get me started on the fact that my dad decided to package the leftover pancakes in the syrup. Why in the name of Sandra Lee’s cocktail shaker would you fill a Ziploc of pancakes with syrup?! I’d show you the photos, but they grossed me out too much.
On the bright side, later that night my mom made a really yummy berry crumble, which served as balm to my pancake-missing broken heart.
It helped a lot.
Okay, sorry for ranting. It’s just that these pancakes were actually really good and I was looking forward to having them for breakfast the next day. They were so much more interesting than regular pancakes, tasting like someone somehow mixed a bowl of oatmeal with banana bread and placed it in pancake form. And the syrup, oh the syrup! It was so good! Spicy and complex and deeelicious.
I highly recommend that you learn from my mistakes and give this recipe a try.
Banana-Oatmeal Pancakes with Spiced Maple Syrup
Recipe adapted from “The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook” by Cheryl Forberg and Maureen Callahan
½ cup Maple Syrup
½ Cinnamon Stick
3 Whole Cloves
½ cup old-fashioned rolled Oats
1 cup Water
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
½ cup Whole-Wheat Flour
½ cup All-Purpose Flour
1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½ cup low-fat Milk
¼ cup nonfat, Plain Yogurt
1 Banana, peeled and mashed
1 Egg, lightly beaten
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine maple syrup, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves. Set syrup aside and keep warm.
In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine oats and water. Microwave until the oats are cooked, about 3 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar and canola oil. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon, whisking to blend.
Add the milk, yogurt, and mashed banana to the oats and stir to blend. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture to the oat mixture and stir just until blended.
Heat a small amount of margarine or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, spoon ¼ cup measurements of the pancake batter into the pan. Cook until the tops are covered with bubbles and the edges are slightly browned. Turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the other side is browned. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter.
Serve warm with butter and the spiced syrup.