These tender, fluffy pancakes are inspired by a recipe of my mother's and the warm banana doughnuts I had at Fix restaurant in the Bellagio hotel. (This is, of course, working on the premise that pancakes are basically squashed doughnuts!) I find that including oats in the batter adds more interest than plain, all-purpose flour—any whole-grain benefits are an added bonus. —energy
Test Kitchen Notes
These pancakes have changed our Saturdays forevermore. Light, fluffy, and just a hint tangy, they're secretly full of all sorts of wholesome ingredients (thank you, energy-giving bananas, fiber-packed oats, and probiotic powerhouse-yogurt)—but you'd never be able to tell. We second the notion that these taste like mini banana doughnuts—but way better.
A little bit about the ingredients: Since there are so few in this recipe, every one of them matters. The bananas need to be at their absolute ripest, spottiest—like the kind you'd use for banana bread. Since the recipe only has an additional tablespoon of brown sugar, the fruit is what's providing much of the sweetness. Next come the oats and flour, which provide structure and a little bit of chewy texture and nutty flavor. The butter and milk give some richness and flavor, and the egg both binds and provides lift—and the yogurt sneaks in with some tang (same idea here as your favorite buttermilk pancake), also providing richness and structure. A pinch of salt's there to heighten the sweetness of it all.
The leavening in this recipe might seem fussy, but adding both baking powder and soda is absolutely necessary: while the combination of the acid in the yogurt and the baking soda do provide some lift (remember your third-grade science fair volcano?) and tenderness, the powder is what helps powerfully puff up the pancakes. Last, even though it's not listed here, let's also touch on toppings—feel free to add them to your liking here. A handful of chopped, toasted nuts, chocolate chips, blueberries, toffee—sky's the limit. —The Editors
plain, full-fat yogurt
large banana or 2 medium (the riper and spottier, the better)
Beat egg and mix together with yogurt, oats, sugar, and milk.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
Lightly stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined (it will still be lumpy, but don't worry). Add additional milk if too thick. Stand 10 minutes.
Mash the banana well with the baking soda and stir gently into the batter, along with the melted butter.
Heat a large and preferably non-stick skillet, lightly greased with oil, melted butter, or cooking spray, over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles and dances (if it evaporates immediately, lower the temperature). Add the batter to the pan, 1/4 cup at a time, and cook until bubbles appear on surface and edges firm. Turn over with spatula and cook on the other side until golden brown. Repeat, regreasing pan as needed.
Serve immediately (or, if needed, you can keep warm, covered, in 200°F oven) with melted or whipped butter and warmed maple syrup.