Weekends and days off are reasons to celebrate. And pancakes are one of the defining aspects of the celebration. While they also double as drunken late night diner fare, these babies are essentially a weekend special. They typify rest and leisure at its best, a small luxury, but simple to make. All you need is flour, eggs and milk.
Pancakes serve as a canvas for creativity. You can use spelt, wheat flour, rye, quinoa or almond flour. Change up the grains or add fruit, nuts, oats, seeds, zest or herbs. You can ditch the egg and use only chia seeds, change the milk for almond or soy milk. If I had the time, I would experiment with every different permutation of pancakes and may even actually do so. For now, though, I stuck to a variation on theme as an ode to a rainy weekend day, the most special of all, where you have an absolute excuse to stay on the couch reading all day and engage in simple kitchen pleasures.
Just a quick note on why I added the chia seeds. Aside from providing a really cool texture, they are a symbolic addition. The Mayans, Aztecs and Incas have eaten chia seeds for centuries. Chia means “strength” in the language of the Mayans and was considered running food because messengers could run all day through the mountains with the help of these tiny seeds. They have incredibly high levels of omega 3 and omega 6, both of which are essential for brain function, reversing depression, and overall heart health. They’re also high in protein, fiber, anti-oxidants and low in carbs. Because of its high amount of good fat, the seed, which is actually a species of flowering plant in the mint family, manages to survive and thrive without any chemical interference. Who can’t use a little of that in the new year?
Meditative to make and warming to eat, these pancakes were hands-down the best pancakes I’ve had in years and provide a respite from all of the running around and a remedy for all of the worn parts of us that we might have neglected in a season of celebration, reflection and renewal. Happy New Year!
Adapted from my dear friend David’s Easy Everyday Pancakes recipe from his lovely blog New York Food Journal.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2 bananas, sliced
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- butter for the pan
Melt the butter and beat the egg. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the butter, egg, and milk and chia seeds.
Mix gently with a spoon. The finished batter should be mostly smooth with no loose flour, but some lumps are fine and will cook out. Do not over-mix or the pancakes will become rubbery. Heat a large nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Add a very thin layer of butter so the batter doesn’t stick to the pan.
Spoon the batter onto the pan, using about two heaping tablespoons per pancake. Add 3 or 4 banana slices to the top of each pancake. When the surface of the pancake bubbles, peek underneath with a spatula and, if it is nicely golden-brown, flip the pancake over. When the other side is golden, remove it to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding a little more oil to the pan in between each batch if needed. Serve immediately with real maple syrup or confectioner’s sugar. Top with more bananas.