When I was in middle school, my friend Malcolm Purdum and I would stage pancake-eating contests. It was just the two of us, and we would spend the morning carefully preparing stacks of pancakes to ensure a fair competition. Each one had to be the same size, and we experimented with various recipes and cooking methods to find the perfect pancake.
We learned that underdone cakes were pale and doughy, not fun to eat. Overcooked cakes were crispy and wouldn’t properly absorb the butter and maple syrup with each bite. The best pancakes were light and fluffy, golden brown, with a tender crust that soaked up the toppings without falling apart. Looking back, it’s easy to see how I became a chef—not only was I a competitive eater, but I also knew that each bite had to be consistently delicious.
It should come as no surprise that we are obsessed with pancakes at my house. We scrutinize every aspect of them, looking at how evenly they are browned, how much they rise on the griddle, and of course, how they taste. I love layering textures. It’s so much fun to take something very familiar, like a pancake, and turn it at an angle to create something unusual and wonderful. There are myriad recipes for filled and stuffed pancakes out there. These granola pancakes are my personal favorite. The flavors are deep and rich and the recipe is very consistent. Every batch is a winner.
• 1 cup Banana Granola (page 23)
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 tspn. baking powder
• ¼ tspn. fine sea salt
• 1 large egg
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for serving
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 2 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra for serving
Put the Banana Granola, flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse about 8 times to grind. Put the egg, melted butter, buttermilk, and maple syrup in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture to the food processor and pulse until almost fully mixed. Do not overblend. Transfer the batter back to the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Preheat an electric griddle to 325°F (165°C), or set a heavy skillet over medium heat until a droplet of water skates across the surface. Ladle ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake, being sure to leave a few inches around each one to facilitate flipping. Cook until the bottoms are set and bubbles appear on the surface of the batter, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until they are a deep golden brown on both sides and the center feels firm when gently pressed with a fingertip, 2 to 3 more minutes. Serve hot off the griddle with maple syrup and butter alongside.
Recipe courtesy of Little, Brown and Company. Copyright © 2015 by Bryan Voltaggio