I’ve always had a thing for pancakes. Straight from the box or made from scratch, I find them irresistible. I’d be happy to eat them every morning with only self-restraint, or rather the lack of a short-order cook in my kitchen, holding me back.
Unfortunately pancakes doused with maple syrup and generous pats of butter do not a healthy breakfast make. For years, urged on by a desire to eat even more pancakes without guilt I’ve been on a search for a whole grain pancake recipe that I’d actually like to eat. I finally found one.
Whole grain pancakes are tricky things. There’s a reason that most pancakes use all-purpose flour. Pancakes made with white flour are light and tender without any of the dense texture that often goes hand in hand with the use of whole grains.
In this recipe, you gently whisk beaten egg whites into the batter to add some air to the mixture and lighten everything up. The resulting pancake is decidedly whole grain, but is tender and airy like a traditional pancake. Adding chopped banana, pecans, and a little vanilla extract to the batter makes these pancakes over-the-top and before my coffee had gotten cold, I’d over-indulged.
And while I discovered that eating eight whole grain pancakes will still leave you feeling guilty, I’m happy to have a healthier recipe when it comes time to indulge. Now, I just need to find that short order cook…
Whole Grain Pancakes with Bananas and Pecans – Printer Friendly Recipe
Makes about 2-dozen small (about 3-inches in diameter) pancakes
Adapted from the recipe for Whole Grain Pancakes in The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl
Bananas and pecans were just what I wanted when I made these the first time around, but I’m already thinking about variations. Grated Granny Smith apples with ground cinnamon sounds delicious, as does a more indulgent substitution of chocolate chips and flaked coconut.
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup medium ground cornmeal (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large banana, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Cooking spray or additional vegetable oil for brushing skillet
For serving: butter, maple syrup
Whisk together the whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Let the batter sit for five minutes.
Beat the egg whites in a large metal bowl until stiff peaks form. This can be done by hand with a whisk or use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Gently whisk the beaten egg whites into the batter. You want to make sure to incorporate all the egg whites into the batter, but be careful not to over mix.
Gently fold the chopped banana and pecans into the batter using a rubber spatula.
Heat a griddle or large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Spray the griddle with cooking spray or brush it with a little vegetable oil. Drop two tablespoons of batter at a time onto the griddle (I used a ¼ cup measuring cup filled up halfway with good results).
Bake until the surface of the pancake is covered with small holes (about 1 to 1 ½ minutes) and then turn the cakes over with a spatula. Cook until the other side is brown. Serve hot and stacked high with a pat of butter and warm maple syrup. Eat. Enjoy. Get seconds.