Friday, June 8, 2012

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes with Bananas and Whipped Cream

My major in college was Human Development and Family Studies, which means that I have devoted a lot of time studying theories of how children best develop. I have always wanted to be a mom, and I felt as I studied that I was learning valuable things to help me along my way as a mother, as well as train me for the career path of my choice.

I think if they were to do a study on the matter, they would probably find that the most deflated first-time parents are those who have studied human development -- we have so much guilt when we find that, despite our theoretical knowledge, we are just like everybody else: in survival mode and doing whatever we can to figure things out.

Today is my first baby's first birthday! He brings such light to my life! I love seeing the world through new eyes as he discovers something "new" that I take for granted. Being his mother has stretched and changed me, and, for better or worse, has shown me what I'm made of. And while today is about my little man, it's also about me and my husband and celebrating the survival and thrival (yes, I know I made up a word just then -- stay with me) of our little family through this first challenging year of parenthood.

To my Bryce: You are something to celebrate, really and truly! Your Momma loves you more than tongue can tell!

For this auspicious occasion, I present these pancakes! The only thing missing is some sprinkles. (Why, oh why do I always think of these things after I've already shot the photos?! [shakes fist at sky])

These are heavenly; fluffy pancakes, rich chocolate, creamy bananas, and light clouds of cream. Definitely a splurge in every sense. Make these for the birthday girl or boy in your life, or just for yourself. I bet you've earned it.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Bananas and Whipped Cream

1 3/4 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c. buttermilk (plus more if your batter is a little too thick)
3 Tbsp. oil (I use canola)
mini chocolate chips

1 c. heavy cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar (more or less, depending on your tastes)
splash of vanilla

2 bananas, sliced
chocolate syrup (optional but highly recommended)

Measure flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, combine egg, buttermilk, and oil. Add to dry ingredients, stirring only until just moistened. The batter will be lumpy, and that's a good thing. If the batter is quite thick, go ahead and stir in a little more buttermilk, say 1/4 c. or so. Set this aside for a few minutes while your griddle heats over medium  heat.

Once griddle is nice and hot, pour batter on in 1/4 c. mounds (I like to use my muffin scoop for this) and cook on first side until edges begin to dry and bubbles burst on the top of the pancake. This is when you add your chocolate chips. Sprinkle them over each pancake just before you flip it. Be as heavy handed (or not) as you like -- it's your party.

Cook on the other side 1 or 2 minutes more, or until golden. Remove from griddle and place on a warm plate covered loosely with foil (I make a little tent with my foil; crease it down the middle and overturn it on top of your plate).

While you're keeping an eye on your pancakes, whip up your cream. Pour 1 c. of cream into a large, deep bowl. Grab a whisk, and mix in a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar and a drizzle of vanilla. Give it a taste and add more sugar, if you like. When it's sweetened to your satisfaction, whip it to stiff peaks. Set aside until your pancakes are ready.

Once your pancakes are cooked, make each person a short stack, starting with the birthday girl or boy, of course. Layer pancakes with a smearing of whipped cream and some banana slices, topping each stack generously with more whipped cream and bananas, and a squeeze of chocolate syrup. And learn from my mistakes, don't forget the sprinkles! A few more chocolate chips never hurt either.


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