Pre-Dawn Banana Bread Pancakes

Three Pancakes with Bananas

Mr. Second Helpings and I graduated The Little Helping from a crib to a Big Boy Bed. The Little Helping was very excited but slept as normal until night number three. That night our house became an episode of Super Nanny with Little Helping springing from his bed as fast as we could get him in it. He cried and negotiated telling us that it was his, “job” to play. He finally settled just before 11 o’ clock and as I climbed into bed I predicted grumpily that he would probably be up at 5:30. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Promptly at 5:30 he appeared at my bedside and inquired, “are you sleeping Mommy?”


Sleep depravation has effected me in a number of ways over the past few years. Generally I am slow moving and grumpy after a night with less sleep than I would prefer. On this particular morning I found myself functioning with a supernatural amount of energy. Before I was really aware of my actions I was in the kitchen pulling out ingredients and looking up recipes. I was about to make my first ever batch of pancakes – from scratch.

The thing is, I had most of a carton of buttermilk sitting in the fridge left over from making bread pudding. Buttermilk is not something I have around often and it was making me anxious. A quick search of brought up a basic buttermilk pancake recipe. It had good reviews but it also looked like it would make a tremendous volume of cakes and it had ingredients I didn’t want to use, like melted butter.

Pancakes Cooking on an electric griddle

Simple fluffy pancakes are a delight but not very filling unless you eat half a dozen. I like a breakfast that is going to fuel me all the way to lunch so I looked for things to bulk up the pancakes. I pulled a bag of walnuts and some bran out of the freezer and mashed up a banana. As the grey light outside grew brighter I whipped up what shall henceforth be know as Banana Bread Pancakes.

Golden Pancakes on a griddle

We all chowed down in the early morning sunlight. I had four, for research purposes. They had a subtle but sweet banana flavor, an earthy note from the walnuts, hearty and filling from the grains, but with a nice fluffiness just like a good buttermilk pancake. Not too shabby for sleep deprived and barely caffeinated, especially since I don’t even like bananas!

Pancake Breakfast

Plate of 3 Pancakes

Banana Bread Pancakes

I started with a recipe for basic buttermilk pancakes ( Buttermilk Pancakes II by BURYGOLD) then subtracted some things and added some things. The resulting cakes were fluffy and delightfully reminiscent of banana bread. Top with your favorite pancake condiments, or for a tangy and lightly sweet alternative, whip up a Nutella Sauce (see below). Makes 1 dozen 3-4 inch pancakes, 3 pancakes per serving.



  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 TB wheat bran (alternates include oat bran or flax meal)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large banana, mashed – about 1/3 – 1/2 cup
  • 20 grams of walnut halves – roughly 2 TB, chopped into chocolate chip sized pieces


  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup skim or light soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the part I ingredients. Stir with a whisk or fork to make sure they are evenly distributed.
  2. Make a well in the dry ingredients – an inverted volcano, and add the egg and banana to the well. Using a fork, stir gently from the egg and banana in the center and work toward the floury edges. As you stir add the chopped walnuts. The mixture will be sort of sticky and dry.
  3. In a new medium bowl add the milks and vanilla and give them a little swirl with a clean fork. Do not add the milk until ready to begin cooking.
  4. Pre-heat a non-stick pancake griddle or wide flat bottomed skillet to a hair above medium heat (350).
  5. Mix the milk into the batter and stir so that there are no little dry spots in the bowl. Batter should be a thick liquid.
  6. Pour batter onto the hot griddle using approximately 1/4 cup per cake. Allow to cook until the bottom is a deep golden brown and the top has little to no liquid. Flip and cook until the second side is a deep golden brown. They should have a springy texture in the center. If they seem soft in the middle let them rest in a low oven for a few more minutes.

Serve hot with Nutella Sauce. Other serving suggestions: A whiff of almond butter, Splenda sweetened sugar-free pancake syrup, more mashed banana and a dash of cinnamon.

Approximate Nutrition per 3 pancake serving: 238 calories, 5.8g fat, 40g carb, 9g protein, PP = 6

*No buttermilk? No problem! Check out this post on The GoodLife Eats for simple ways to replicate buttermilk at home.

Stack of Pancakes with a bit cut out

Nutella Sauce

This is a supper simple way to top pancakes or anything else that might be enhanced by a tangy and slightly sweet sauce. Simply mix together the two ingredients and serve. It is very similar to the topping used in the Sinless Dark Chocolate Cake recipe. – Makes 3 servings

  • 1/4 cup Fat Free Sour Cream (I used Lilly European Style for the texture and the protein boost) Fat Free Plain Yogurt will also work.
  • 1 TB Nutella, softened in microwave for 20 – 40 seconds
Approximate Nutrition (will vary based on brand of sour cream used numbers provided reflect the brand noted in the recipe): 42 calories, 1.8g fat, 4g carbs, 0g fiber, 2g, PP = 1

Plate of Pancakes


2 thoughts on “Pre-Dawn Banana Bread Pancakes

  1. Pingback: 2012 The Highlights « Our Lady of Second Helpings

  2. Pingback: Easy Baking with Buttermilk: Biscuits, Breads, and More | Yummly

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