Breakfast of Champions

This morning I was craving pancakes something fierce. Tragically, I lacked buttermilk, so I sent Hubz to the store. “Pick up some sausage and heavy whipping cream, too!” I needed something major – Hubz and I quit smoking last Monday, so my attitude this week is “fuck a diet” and I’m being extra nice to myself. And needing to cook/eat comfort food affords me the opportunity to join in the Monthly Mingle hosted by What’s For Lunch, Honey?

We have a bunch of baby bananas that are getting brown, so I thought of making some spicy caramelized banana compote for some banana bread-type topping for the pancakes. It came out really yummeh!

Banana bread pancakes
(Basic pancake recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking – it’s supposed to make a dozen 5″ pancakes, but I ended up with only 4 huge pancakes! Oops!)

1 1/2 c AP flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs*
1 1/2 c buttermilk

*I used one egg and 3 tbsp egg white because I ran out of eggs but had bottled egg white, and I think it may have added to the overall lightness of the pancakes.

Heat up a griddle if you have one, or a regular non-stick skillet works great too. Whisk together dry ingredients, then in a separate bowl whisk together wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and whisk only until combined (batter will be a bit lumpy like muffin batter).

Turn heat to medium and add a pat of butter to cooking surface. For huge pancakes use a ladle (mine’s 1 cup-sized). For silver-dollar pancakes you can use an ice cream scoop to meter out the batter. When the bubbles forming on the surface of the pancake batter start to look a bit dry, flip the pancake and cook for ~30 seconds on the other side. Transfer to a plate and keep the pancakes in a 150-degree oven while you cook the rest of the pancakes. Add a little more butter to the pan between pancakes.

Banana bread compote
3 mini or one large ripe banana, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice**
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp chopped nuts – I used hazelnuts (optional)
splash rum or bourbon (optional)
pinch salt

**I keep a jar of my own mix of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and star anise that I toast whole and grind to add to things like banana bread, snickerdoodles, curries, etc.

In a small pan, melt butter with spice mix for a few seconds until butter begins to foam. Add bananas and saute until browned slightly. Add sugar, nuts and salt and stir gently, being careful not to mash up the banana too much. If using it, stir in the splash of booze and let the whole thing simmer for a few minutes over medium-low heat until the alcohol evaporates. Compote is finished when the mixture is saucy and caramelized.

Top the pancakes with a scoop of compote, and if you’ve just recently quit smoking I think you should also add a drizzle of maple syrup and a dollop of freshly-whipped cream. Enjoy with sausages and a mug of good, strong coffee.