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Leftovers: Chocolate chip banana pancakes are simple and impressive

These chocolate chip banana pancakes are served with peanut butter syrup.  (Julia Ditto/For The Spokesman-Review)
These chocolate chip banana pancakes are served with peanut butter syrup. (Julia Ditto/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

Thanksgiving is coming up in two weeks, and while it might not be the all-out family fest that it has been in years past, I’m guessing that most of us will have at least a few guests visiting over the holiday. My conundrum on Thanksgiving morning has always been, “What do I feed these people?”

They obviously have to eat something, but my culinary bandwidth is completely maxed out with the impending feast, and I simply cannot spare the time, energy or counter space to do much more than slap cereal boxes on the table and tell everyone to have at it. While that might work for my kids, it won’t do when guests are involved.

This year, I’ve discovered a delicious, simple breakfast that comes together in minutes but is disguised as something much more elaborate: Chocolate chip banana pancakes with peanut butter syrup. “This does not sound simple,” you might be saying. “The title alone has eight words in it.”

Trust me: If I can pull this together in five minutes on a busy school morning with children weaving in and out of my work zone while talking my ear off about the crazy dream they had the night before, then you can manage it on Thanksgiving morning – or any day that you want an impressive and filling breakfast that doesn’t involve too much hassle.

The magic leftover ingredient in these pancakes is overripe bananas, of which I always have at least a few on my counter. In the old days, before my pancake epiphany, I would use our ever-present overripe bananas to make banana bread, which was always a crowd-pleaser but took lots of time and ingredients. Now, I use up the bananas in an easier way.

I mix up the pancake batter (I use pancake mix for efficiency’s sake, but if you don’t have an 8-year-old standing at your hip explaining the intricate point system used for various Pokémon cards, you’re welcome to whip this up from scratch).

Then I peel a few bananas into a medium-size bowl. After mashing them roughly with a fork (chunks are OK!), I fold them into the batter and add a handful of chocolate chips before ladling the pancakes onto a hot skillet.

While they’re cooking, I’ll prepare the real star of this show: the peanut butter syrup, which couldn’t be simpler. Spoon a half cup of peanut butter into a microwave-safe bowl, and pour a cup of maple syrup on top.

Heat them together until they are runny and smooth, and then drizzle the syrup on top of the hot pancakes. Your family and guests will wonder how you pulled off such a legitimate breakfast on such a busy day. Bananas. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Pancake mix. Your secret is safe with me.

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup

Adapted from ourbestbites.com.

2 cups pancake mix

Water (amount according to package directions)

If making from scratch:

1 ½ cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon oil

1 egg

2-3 overripe bananas

⅓ cup chocolate chips

Peanut butter syrup:

1 cup maple syrup

½ cup creamy peanut butter

If using mix: Prepare the batter according to package directions. Set aside.

If making from scratch: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, vanilla, oil and egg. Mix until just moistened and combined.

Place the peeled bananas in a separate bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Fold into the batter. Add the chocolate chips and gently stir.

For syrup: Heat the maple syrup and peanut butter in a microwave-safe container for 30 seconds to one minute. Stir and set aside.

Heat a nonstick skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Use a ¼ cup to pour the batter onto the skillet and wait until bubbles form before flipping. Once cooked, drizzle pancakes with peanut butter syrup. If syrup becomes too thick, reheat as necessary.

Julia Ditto can be reached at dittojulia@gmail.com.

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