Well my friends, it’s that time. After two months on what they call “the ole grind,” we have finally found our way to Spring Break. We have made it to the light at the end of the midterms tunnel, and I personally couldn’t be more ecstatic. Of course, I have enjoyed this first half of semester. The ole grind is oftentimes extremely fulfilling. There is, however, such a thing as too much [ole] grinding (people who stay away from “ragers” or wear night-guards to protect their teeth will tell you the same). So, in short, breaks are necessary to minimize wear and tear.
Aside from plain straight chillin’ with my family and friends, one form of at-home leisure that I look forward to most about break is cooking. Sure, I get to dabble in some culinary endeavors while at Wesleyan. I live in a program house during the semester, after all, and it has a nice enough kitchen. However, there is nothing quite like cooking in a home kitchen. (And when I say “home kitchen,” I mean “kitchen that people actually clean.”) I just adore making food for the people I care about without having to fear catching the bubonic plague or, at the very least, eating ants.
In such favorable conditions, making brunch is an absolute treat. I love getting up on a weekend morning—maybe an hour or two before the rest of the family—and relaxedly whipping the most easygoing ambiguous meal America has to offer (because brunch can literally be anything and everything you want).
As pancakes are among my truest brunch and/or breakfast loves, it is often that I use this time to make an attempt at creating the best pancakes ever. In going about this foodie exploration, I’ve come upon various winning flavor combinations, such as lemon ricotta and chocolate mascarpone. But, among all of these outrageous varieties, classic has reigned supreme. The best batch of flapjacks I’ve ever made, hands down, was flavored, quite simply, with a sprinkling of chocolate chips.
How did I achieve pancake perfection? I started with the basics: flour, sugar, milk, eggs, butter, and the rest of the pancake ingredient gamut. But then I decided to get a little frisky. To the milieu of dry ingredients, I added cinnamon and an extra teaspoon or so of baking powder. What’s more, I added sour cream—yes, sour cream—to the wet ingredients. Needless to say, the result was dreamlike. With the addition of the sour cream and baking powder to the batter, the pancakes attained the perfect level of fluff. The cinnamon, likewise, gave the mostly classic recipe a flavorful, aromatic spice that meshed with the added chocolate chips harmoniously.
If you find yourself in a brunch-making mood this break, I highly recommend trying these guys out. For best results, serve them warm with syrup and a generous dollop of caramelized bananas.
1 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sour cream, approx.
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus extra for cooking
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 small ripe bananas, sliced
2-3 tablespoons honey
Directions for Pancakes:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, cooled butter, vanilla, and sour cream.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. The desired consistency should still have some tiny lumps. A fluffy batch of pancakes does not an over-mixed batter make.
4. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and set aside a small bowl of chocolate chips.
5. Warm up a large skillet over medium heat and brush with melted butter. Add batter to skillet to form pancakes of about 3-inches in diameter. Add chocolate chips to the cooking cakes.
6. Flip each pancake after the bubbles forming at the surface begin to pop and create tiny holes. Cook to set the other side, another 1-3 minutes.
7. As pancakes are ready, put them in a layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven until ready to eat.
8. Serve warm and topped with maple syrup, more chocolate chips, and, of course, the caramelized bananas below.
Directions for Bananas:
1. In a small bowl, coat banana slices with honey.
2. Warm up a medium skillet over medium heat and brush with melted butter. Add banana slices to pan.
3. Cook until browned and caramelized, about 1 minute on each side.