Thursday, January 8, 2009

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes (Lightened Up Island Style)--Barefoot Bloggers

One of my challenges with food blogging while having an "eat healthier" goal is when a favorite chef, like Ina Garten, is not exactly known for their low-fat recipes.  This gives events like Barefoot Bloggers an added complexity; to lighten up the recipe and make it a better choice health wise, but still have it taste terrific.  January's first Barefoot Blogger's recipe pick is Banana Sour Cream Pancakes, picked by Karen of Something Sweet By Karen. I decided to substitute whole wheat flour, lighten up the dairy, reduce the sugar and sodium and eliminate the butter. I also thought it would be fun to take them "tropical", adding some pineapple and just a bit of toasted coconut and macadamia nuts for a bit of crunch. Ina's recipe is here at Food Network and also in Barefoot Contessa Family Style on page 177. My changes to the recipe are in red below.

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes
Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Ina Garten
Makes 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour (used whole wheat flour)
3 tablespoons sugar (reduced amount)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (reduced amount)
1/2 cup sour cream (used low fat sour cream)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk (used non-fat milk)
2 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (used lime--out of lemons!)
Unsalted butter (used Butter-flavored PAM cooking spray)
2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
Pure maple syrup (replaced with pineapple & a bit of coconut flakes and mac nuts)

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Distribute a rounded tablespoon of bananas on each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.

Notes/Results:  The first step to making a Barefoot Contessa recipe less hard on the waistline is not making a "ginormous" amount as Ina's recipes usually do so I halved the recipe.  I used whole wheat flour (less processing and a tad more fiber than regular flour).  For the dairy I used low fat sour cream (50% less fat than regular), because I had some to use up but low fat Greek yogurt would have been another great choice. I used non-fat milk as well. With the sweetness and flavor from the bananas, I felt like I could reduce the sugar and the sodium with no ill effects. (I used 1 Tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp salt for my half batch of pancakes). Another change I made was subbing lime zest for the lemon zest, only because I had used my last lemon and didn't want to make a trip to the store, but the fact I was going for a tropical vibe anyway made lime a good option.  To cook the pancakes I used butter flavored PAM spray to reduce even more calories. I sliced my bananas instead of dicing and spread them out because I wanted more banana per bite. Finally, my topping was a combo of the sliced bananas, some drained pineapple (in it's own juice instead of sugar syrup) and a sprinkling of some toasted unsweetened coconut flakes.  Note: there is nothing wrong with pure maple syrup as a sweetener, (it is much healthier than a sugared maple syrup and has some vitamins and nutrients to boot), I just have a tendency to want to use it with butter and drown my pancakes in it so for me the tropical topping is a better option. I added some extra calories and fat with the toasted coconut flakes and the mac nuts but I used a just a little on the very top, there are good for you nutrients in those calories, and it adds some nice crunchy texture. I ended up with 5 pancakes instead of the six the 1/2 recipe should have made so mine must have been a bit bigger than Ina's and I stacked two on the plate.  With the heartier topping, one would have been plenty but two made a better photo!  So the important question... How were the pancakes?  Great! Soft but chewy texture, tasted delicious and were very satisfying with the tropical topping so they didn't need any sides of bacon. I didn't miss any of the sugar, butter or extra fat and there was no guilt involved. I would make this recipe again with my modifications. 

Another great recipe choice--thanks Karen!  Check out how the other Barefoot Bloggers enjoyed their pancakes at the Barefoot Bloggers site here


  1. I need to get back to lighter eating, and I wish I had your creativity in substituting ingredients. Your tropical version not only sounds healthy but looks temptingly delicious!

  2. If you like pina coladas... getting caught in the rain...
    Love your tropical twists!

    As a Canadian, I was about to take exception to your avoidance of maple syrup but appreciated your explaination about the benefits of real maple syrup. Unfortunately, most people think the stuff in the plastic bottles at the grocery store is maple syrup when really it is just sugar and chemicals.

    You did a great job making these pancakes healthy and tropical, so much fun!

  3. Oh Deb, those are my kind of pancakes! Pineapple, coconut, and macadamia, yum! I like how you did the banana slices and the whole wheat flour sounds like it would have worked nicely with these. I can't wait to try your variation, I have a favorite pineapple pancake recipe that you've reminded me of also that I haven't made in way too long. I see some tropical pancakes in the near future :)

  4. ooOOOoo I like how you went tropical with them

  5. I love the healthy modifications that you made to these, Deb, and I especially love how you made them "island-worthy." They look irresistible!

  6. Those are beautiful!! Love the tropical theme, yum!

  7. You made a lighter version of pancakes? They still sound delicious with pineapple, coconut and macadamia.

  8. Oh, that sounds delicious! The pineapple and macadamia nuts had to have been incredible.

  9. Those look delicious, but what I'd really like is some of the coconut syrup I used to get when I vacationed in Hawaii. I've never seen it on the mainland. Is there a brand name you can tell me; I'd like to track some down.

  10. What a pretty plating with the shell and the flower!

  11. sounds like a great way to have flavor without all the calories!!

  12. wow, i love your modifications. you really got me with the macadamia nuts!

  13. definitely a breakfast winner!!! happy new year to you... :)

  14. Interesting twist with the lime. Good job.

  15. Arlene--I can't remember the brand I used to have--I ran out and have not gotten more. I'll look for it at the store and let you know what brand. I usually find it in either the bottled juices or the ice cream topping.

  16. Your modifications sound great. I'll have to try wheat flour next time.

  17. That tropical topping gives the pancakes so much extra "pop" you just want to reach in and grab them.


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