Good Morning

December 16, 2009 at 9:16 pm 28 comments

In the same way that I follow a recipe, I follow a certain schedule in the morning. I don’t watch the clock and record how long I take to brush my teeth, but I have a couple things that I always do in the same order. Unfortunately, I usually spend too long doing some things. The very last thing I do before I run out the door is eat breakfast, but it often gets compromised for the sake of time. I brush my hair, pack my backpack, and suddenly my ride is at the door.

Some days I throw a handful of dry cereal into a Ziploc bag and hurriedly pour some soymilk into a travel cup, and then I eat the cereal on the go. Other days I’ll swipe an apple from the counter and eat it during first period. And some days – this is worst of all – I simply go without breakfast. Besides dessert, breakfast is my favorite meal, so those are the days to watch out for my grouchiness.

On the weekends, though, I like to savor breakfast. I love to wake up to the comforting weight of a dog at the foot of my bed, and the sound of the heater gently creaking. I walk down the hallway in my still-warm cotton pajamas and fluffy pink socks to find the kitchen bathed in petal-soft light, and I appreciate how still and how refreshing the winter mornings can be.

My parents wait for me to wake up on my own before starting to cook. Mom starts the coffee and I begin slicing oranges for fresh juice. We plan our breakfast. Our favorites are bagels with cream cheese and lox, pork chops, or eggs (sunny-side up and just a little bit runny, please.) But somehow, inevitably, we frequently end up at pancakes. Pancakes used to always fall to me the way that scones and muffins are considered my territory. But nobody is foolish enough to let me make the pancakes anymore.

There is a special place in my heart for pancakes, but they seem to hate me the most. In fact, my ineptitude at pancake-making is famous in my house. Some recipes are more forgiving than others, but pancakes have no sympathy for me. I’ve made whole-wheat pancakes that ended up a soggy clump on what I thought was a nonstick pan. I’ve burned and undercooked pancakes of all flavors and sizes.

Hands down the worst pancakes I’ve ever made were these blueberry-corn pancakes, and I don’t really have the heart to relive that particular story. I even felt sorry for our trash can as I scraped the curiously gritty and soggy pancakes into the garbage.

Like the determined teenage baker I am, I’ve never stopped trying. I always offer to make the batter and cook the pancakes. But my parents steer me to the table, ask me to set out the plates, or try to distract me with gems like “Why don’t you just relax?” and “Wouldn’t you rather have some bacon?”

You know they’re just trying to keep me from destroying breakfast for everyone. I guess you can’t blame them.

Now my mother is the one who makes the pancakes in my house, and they are far superior to mine. Whatever I am doing wrong, she avoids those pitfalls, and her pancakes end up light and fluffy.

With several overly ripe bananas browning on the counter, we decided to have banana pancakes for breakfast one Sunday. I was allowed to pick out a banana pancake recipe, but after that my mother took over. I juiced tangerines and then, unable to help myself, made a Triple Berry Maple Syrup with some frozen berries still in our freezer from summer.

I sneaked surreptitious glances at my mother as we worked, trying to uncover her pancake secret. At one point she commented, “The batter is a little thick,” but before I could stick in my nose she had fixed the problem, and I went back to simmering the maple syrup.

Ten minutes later I set the table and arranged the plates of food. The orange juice was tart and satisfying, the bacon still sizzling, and the maple syrup a deep, rich purple. We stacked our plates three pancakes tall, poured the maple syrup, and took the first triple-layered bite.

With a thick drizzle of Triple Berry Maple Syrup and small, sweet bits of banana, there was no denying that the pancakes were delicious. They weren’t dense – they were fluffy – but they were deceptively filling. I was halfway through my pancakes and was surprised by how full I was feeling. The banana flavor was also much more pronounced than I’d expected, though not in a bad way. They were just intensely banana-y, in a way that I couldn’t imagine a recipe intending.

I glanced over at Dad, who seemed to be having the same thoughts. We looked at Mom at the same time.

“How many bananas did this recipe call for?” He asked.

She took a moment to remember, then furrowed her forehead. “We didn’t have enough bananas, so I had to halve the amount it called for.”

“…Halve the amount?” I couldn’t even fathom what pancakes with double the banana would be like.

“Yeah. The recipe called for 3-4 cups of banana, and we only had 3 large bananas, which was 1 1/2 cups.”


I picked up the recipe still on the counter, scanned the ingredients, and then began to giggle. “Mom,” I managed. “Not 3-4 cups. Just 3/4 cup of banana – you doubled the amount!”

We had a good laugh, but since the pancakes were delicious anyway, we didn’t dwell on the mishap. I only have two thoughts on the whole thing – first, it’s a good thing that this family loves bananas. Second, how unfair is it that I somehow manage to ruin any pancake I touch simply by following the recipe, but my mom can double an ingredient and end up with delicious pancakes? The mysteries of life.

And in all honesty, when we make these pancakes again, we will probably double the banana to 1 1/2 cups. They were just so good.

Pancake recipes seem to always underestimate how many pancakes a person will eat. Since my family eats pancakes as the main breakfast, not as a side to meat or eggs, we need more than 3 little pancakes per person. Even if we hadn’t doubled the banana in this recipe, the “serves four” probably would have been inaccurate.

If you like banana, this is the recipe for you. The pancakes didn’t taste heavy or gummy, they tasted like light and fluffy pancakes meets fresh banana. If you’re not in the mood for something filling, I’d say make the pancakes the way they were originally intended, and I imagine they’d be lovely light pancakes with some banana chunks.

The maple syrup was really delicious and also a make-again. The color was such a gorgeous, luxurious purple and it was a snap to make. It was a great complement to the pancakes.

Double Banana Pancakes
(I’ve lost the original source, but I believe it was from a book of pancakes)
Makes 4-8 servings

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
4 large eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas [originally 3/4 cup]
Cooking spray or vegetable oil for the pan

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, and butter. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir by hand until the batter is evenly moistened. (At this point, the batter can be covered and refrigerated for up to 12 hours, or used right away.)

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and grease it lightly by brushing or spraying with oil. Right before you make the pancakes, fold the mashed bananas into the batter. Drop about 1/4 cup of pancake batter into the hot pan, spreading them slightly into circles. Leave about 2″ between pancakes.

Cook until small bubbles appear and the edges are set, about 2 minutes, then flip using an offset spatula. Cook on the second side an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the pancakes are golden brown. Serve at once with Triple Berry Maple Syrup.

Triple Berry Maple Syrup
Makes 2 cups

4 cups mixed berries, fresh or frozen
Zest of one lemon
1 cup maple syrup

If using frozen berries, rinse them to remove any ice or thaw beforehand. Combine the berries and lemon zest in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the juices have been released and the mixture is saucelike, about 10 minutes. I used a spoon to smash the berries and break them up a bit.

Strain the mixture into a clean saucepan, pressing out all the juice you can. Return to a simmer and stir in the maple syrup. Simmer over low heat until slightly reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, for a more jamlike fruit topping mixture, simply add the maple syrup once the berries are soft and jamlike.)

Use immediately, or cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Reheat over low heat or in a microwave before using.

Printer Friendly Recipe – Double Banana Pancakes and Triple Berry Maple Syrup

New feature! The other day I had to print out one of my own recipes from this site and realized how annoying it is. Either you have to copy and paste the recipe into a word document and print, or do what I did and print out the whole post, comments and everything. Twenty pages of text and images… not fun. So I’m going to start making printer friendly versions so it’s easy to print in a snap. I’ll slowly go back and make printer friendly versions of all my archive posts.

Entry filed under: Breakfast/Brunch. Tags: , , , , , .

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28 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jenn  |  December 16, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    For you.. pancakes. In my kitchen… I CANNOT produce a decent pot of white rice. Makes me feel like a ballerina with no slippers.

  • 2. Em  |  December 17, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Thank you!!!!! SO trying these this very weekend. Can’t wait :)

  • 3. swee  |  December 17, 2009 at 9:21 am

    The pancakes look fluffy and yummy! Mine always end up a little flat cause I usually don’t wait till the batter thickens.. I guess I should make the batter the night before.. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • 4. SeattleDee  |  December 17, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Loved the post, and chuckled in sympathy over your pancake block. At our house we prefer the thin, more crepelike Swedish pancakes or a thin-batter sourdough set of disks. Betcha’ you would find thinner pancakes a cinch – or give a skillet-sized puffy Dutch Baby a try. Good luck flipping… or just keep enjoying the current family tradition.

  • 5. Jenny  |  December 17, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Such a beautiful post – I can’t wait to make these pancakes! Thank your mom for the mishap. We will all benefit from it!

  • 6. lavienouveau  |  December 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I love your photos. please tell me, does your family willingly pour syrup and wait for your photos? mine looks at me like I’m insane!

    I just love your photos and your writing, you have such a gift.

    • 7. Elissa  |  December 17, 2009 at 7:47 pm

      lavienouveau – Ha! My family turns the plate for me to get the best light, and my dad says, “How fast do you want me to pour the syrup? Did you get enough photos for the post?” :)

  • 8. D.C.  |  December 17, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Wow, love your recipes! I think I know what to make and eat for breakfast! haha

    Keep up the delicious work!

  • 9. bedroom set  |  December 18, 2009 at 12:56 am

    This is such a beautiful post! I love pancakes. I grew up with it on the table during breakfast. And I think, I have tried all the syrups I can pour on it.

  • 10. Lauren  |  December 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Its always funny how people have certain recipes that always work – my aunt can make a perfect pie crust every single time, but my mom could never (interestingly – until she tried a gluten free one).

    That maple syrup looks to die for. Its a staple in our house, and I can only imagine how amazing this would make it =D.

  • 11. Hannah  |  December 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    That’s exactly how I am with pancakes, they always have annoying little clumps and they are always flat. I love your blog!!!

  • 12. Margarita  |  December 20, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Well, you’d be proud of me. I actually made the banana/apple bread with oodles of walnuts today. It came out yummy. Yup, you are an inspiration. :) I gave two loaves away and kept two. As for the pancakes, my oldest daughter loves bananas. She loves her pancakes topped with bananas and whipped cream. I can’t imagine if I made them with bananas and then topped them with more bananas and whipped cream. Wow!!!!!!!!!! I on the other hand love the berries and whipped cream for topping. But you might’ve inspired me to try the banana pancakes too. Keep up the good work.<3

  • 13. gretta  |  December 20, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I just made the pancakes and am eating them now! super yum. I did substitute 1/2 of the flour for whole wheat flour and added chocolate chips. This recipe is certainly one I will keep on coming back to!

  • 14. Kate  |  December 20, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    I made these and these are absolutely delightful!

  • 15. Dolce  |  December 20, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I love bananas so I would definitely try your ratio the next time I want pancakes, though now that I know I can also make them with chestnut flour… I would probably try also with hazelnut-chocolate inside :)

  • 16. Natanya  |  December 20, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Pancakes are my favorite breakfast! My dad is the pancake master, but I’ll have to compare his recipe to yours! :)

  • 17. Making my Mark  |  December 21, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Haha! That’s funny. I love pancakes, too.

  • 18. kaet  |  December 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    you are such a good story teller! i can actually picture every moment and scene of this post! i love winter mornings as well, the world is so still and silent.

  • 19. barb  |  December 22, 2009 at 11:12 am

    You’ve got to try sourdough. I’d be happy to meet you somewhere to give you some of my starter. I’m just north of the lake. We should meet in Kirkland for an exchange. My sourdough is from the old Seattle Smitty’s pancake house. I keep giving starter to friends and relatives who aren’t ready for the commitment! I’m happy to give a cup so someone who would appreciate it, and it would start you on a whole new set of recipes and techniques. It makes amazing rolls and bread too.

  • 20. Marisa  |  January 8, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Don’t worry, I’m not a pancake maker either. I leave it to my husband. The banana flavour sounds awesome though.

  • 21. Marisha  |  January 12, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I dont know why, but I have always made amazing pancakes. They always turn out light and fluffy, my family loves ’em. The trick is to not over-beat. Honestly, thats all there is to it. Even if it looks like you have clumps of flour thats unmixed or melted butter thats sitting on top, DONT OVER-BEAT IT. That really seems to be the downfall of a good pancake.

    Also, I suggest trying a buttermilk pancake recipe. They are delicious!

  • 22. Chef Tom  |  January 12, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    That looks like the perfect breakfast to me ! :-)

  • 23. Tables  |  January 31, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Thank You so much for the recipes. Just what I was looking for!! These pancakes are delicious!!

  • 24. Malin  |  February 7, 2010 at 9:36 am

    They look ultra delicous! I have to try these, though I’m not very skilled with pancakes either. The banana story reminded me about the time I managed to put 1 1/4 liter of water in a cake. It was supposed to be desiliter…. No need to say that it did not turn out well!

  • 25. Sunday Mornings at My House « Thyme Is On My Side  |  February 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    […] this recipe from 17 and Baking for a berry […]

  • 26. Alexa  |  March 28, 2010 at 1:10 am

    i LOVE weekend breakfasts as well! sometimes i plan a new recipe to try for saturday morning at the beginning of the week!
    this morning it was crumpets :)
    havent done pancakes in awhile though, these sound great. (although you manage to make everything sound amazing, honestly)
    a special fresh-cooked breakfast really makes my day. (and so does your blog!)

  • 27. Karen  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

    lol….I am a pretty decent home cook and while I don’t bake as much as you, what I do bake usually comes out pretty nicely. And, like you, I have yet to master the art of pancake making! I don’t know…the griddle is too hot or not hot enough? I think I’m usually ok on the batter but it’s hard to tell…they never quite come out right. I haven’t tried them in a while now…maybe I’ll give it another go sometime soon…

  • […] (Breytt uppskrift frá 17 and baking) […]


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Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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