Happy National Pancake Day! Typically, I would consider it an unfortunate day if I woke up with Jack Johnson stuck in my head*. But since these outstanding pancakes blossomed from that very experience, I am beginning to think otherwise. After several hours of humming “Banana Pancakes” to myself one Saturday, I actually concocted a recipe, then went out and bought milk in order to whip up a batch of the delectable treats he sang about.
I hope you’ve learned by now that I simply cannot stick to a plain or normal recipe, and I generally always have to at least make some minor tweak to create an entirely new experience. Naturally, this means I made mini pancakes, and infused them with cardamom.
Although I am pretty positive that my dad-with his traditional tastes and preferences-would have disliked these pancakes (I can actually hear his high-pitched, scrunchy-faced “Yuck!”), these still remind me of him. When it came to cooking, he was a very impatient man; he always assumed things would cook faster if the temperature were higher, meaning that whatever he was making was typically served a bit too charred. And when it came to pancake making, he would opt for silver dollar pancakes (rather than giant ones), because the smaller size meant that they would turn out quicker, too.
Likewise, these baby pancakes are fast, but also adorable and delectable. I am embarrassed to admit that, upon making my first batch, I immediately ate five of them (if “five” actually means “seven and a half”). The cardamom gently complements the caramel-notes of the banana, which presents itself in molten chunks throughout each darling, little cake. Due to the origin of this recipe, I was skeptical right up until the moment I took a bite. That bite made it clear that these pancakes are what I look forward to all week. They are soft and sweet and perfect and comfort and Saturdays and nostalgia all in one teeny, little package. And maybe the sugar is impairing my reasoning skills, but I’m starting to think that perhaps Jack Johnson isn’t so awful, after all.
Baby Banana-Cardamom Pancakes
Makes 2 ½ dozen baby pancakes
3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for griddle
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 overripe banana, mashed
¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup 2% milk
confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup, and salted butter for serving
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Melt 3 tbsp butter and set aside to cool.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together banana, buttermilk, milk, and egg.
- Whisk the banana-milk mixture into the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with half the melted, cooled butter (i.e., add banana mixture, then butter, then banana, then butter, then banana, whisking the whole time to incorporate).
- Stir until just combined (batter will be lumpy).
- Use a regular spoon to dollop batter onto a hot, buttered griddle** set at medium heat.
- Cook the pancake for 1 ½ – 2 ½ minutes on the first side (until the bottom is golden brown and the top has begun to bubble), then flip and cook the other side for another 1-2 minutes.
- When the pancakes have finished cooking, transfer them to a baking sheet and keep warm in preheated oven.
- Continue making pancakes in this manner until batter is gone. Serve warm with confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup, and/or salted butter. To store, keep in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
*Jack Johnson fans–I’m sorry if this offends you. Excluding that one month-lapse during my sophomore year of college, his stuff just doesn’t suit my fancy very much.
**A saucepan will work as well, but it may take longer to make the whole recipe.