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Banana Pancakes: A Source of Vitamins and Eating Pleasure


By Tom Tillman

  One of these mornings when you’re not rushing out the door, and you just happen to have an over-ripe, spotty banana sitting on your countertop, try these banana pancakes. They’re the best ever: light and fluffy on the inside, lacy and crisp on outside and delicately flavored with bananas and vanilla.
  
Nutrient content does change slightly as fruit ripens. As a banana turns yellow, its levels of antioxidants—substances that seem to protect against cancer and heart disease—increase somewhat, so you may be missing a small nutritional benefit. On the other hand, you may be gaining something. The reason bananas get sweeter as they ripen is that their starch is broken down into sugar. When your body has to break down the starch itself (as it does when you eat a green banana), your blood sugar rises more slowly.
  
All of this may not matter much—after all, both green and yellow bananas are rich sources of potassium, vitamin B6, fiber, and vitamin C, and particularly low in sugar when compared with, say, a doughnut. The real issue is that so few of us eat enough fruit, ripe or not. In January,  scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that fewer than 1 percent of adolescents, roughly 2 percent of adult men, and only 3.5 percent of adult women meet the guidelines of three and a half to five cups of produce a day. This despite the fact that the researchers counted jam, jelly, and orange juice as fruit, and both French fries and the ketchup poured over them as vegetables! If you are fretting over which fruit to eat—rather than glibly strolling past the produce aisle—you’re ahead of the game.
  
The recipe, believe it or not, is adapted from a children’s cookbook, which says nothing of how good they are but definitely proves how easy they are to make.
Servings: Makes twelve 4-inch pancakes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Ingredients
For Pancakes
   1-1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off
   2 tablespoons sugar
   2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   1 small, over-ripe banana, peeled (the browner, the better)
   1 cup plus 2 tablespoons low fat milk
   2 large eggs
   1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
   3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Cooking
   Vegetable oil
   Unsalted butter

For Serving
   Maple syrup
   Sliced bananas
   Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Instructions
   In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
   In a small bowl, mash the banana with a fork until almost smooth. Whisk in the eggs, then add the milk and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour the banana mixture and the melted butter into the flour mixture. Fold the batter gently with a rubber spatula until just blended; do not over-mix. The batter will be thick and lumpy.
   Set a griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat until hot. Put a pad of butter and one tablespoon vegetable oil onto the griddle, and swirl it around. Drop the batter by 1/4-cupfuls onto the griddle, spacing the pancakes about 2 inches apart. Cook until a few holes form on top of each pancake and the underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is puffed, 1 to 2 minutes more. Using the spatula, transfer the pancakes to a serving plate.
   Wipe the griddle clean with paper towels, add more butter and oil, and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the pancakes while still hot with maple syrup, sliced bananas and confectioners’ sugar if desired.

  • Begin by whisking together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl.

  • Using a fork, mash the over-ripe banana until almost smooth.

  • Whisk the eggs into the mashed banana.

  • Add the milk and vanilla extract.

  • Then pour the banana mixture and melted butter into the dry ingredients.

  • Fold the batter with a rubber spatula. It will be thick and lumpy.

  • Heat the vegetable oil with a pad of butter on a griddle or in a non-stick pan (the butter gives flavor and the vegetable oil prevents the butter from burning). Spoon the pancakes onto the griddle and cook until some bubbles appear on the top and the underside is golden brown and crisp.

  • Flip the pancakes and cook a few minutes more.

  • Top with maple syrup, fresh sliced bananas and confectioners’ sugar if desired.

 
 
 
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