During the IACP convention, which I attended in New York last month, there was an event called the Culinary Expo and Book Festival. The book festival was an opportunity for authors with published books (like my roommate Camilla) to set up a table, promote their latest masterpieces, and hopefully sell a few copies in the process.
As a serial cookbook collector with an uncontrollable habit, the fact that I set foot the room meant that I would most definitely be leaving with at least one new title.
I left with three:
Fried Chicken and Champagne by Lisa Dupar, from whom I also took the most inspiring seminar called "Giving Your Event a Signature Style." My parties are going to rock from now on.
Wicked Good Barbecue by the wicked awesome award winning pit-masters Andy Husbands and Chris Hart. Part of me bought the book because I am in desperate need of an education for using my new backyard smoker. Part of me bought the book because Andy was serving up complimentary pulled pork sandwiches at the festival (smart man.) Part of me bought the book because of the title -- it was written by two guys from Boston. Can't wait to perfect my brisket!
And I purchased Camilla's latest book, 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking, a book that is essentially a miracle in my household, because after flipping through it Eric (a.k.a. Mr. In 'n Out Burger) was actually excited about the prospect of eating healthy dinners.
Not too shabby of an outcome, n'est-ce pas?
So then, I made my way into the culinary expo, which was sort of a trick-or-treating for food professionals event. There were all sorts of food companies, from small Brooklyn bakeries to Cuisinart, with booths and samples (well, Cuisinart didn't have samples, but a free food processor would have been much appreciated!)
Some brands caught my eye more than others, but none so much as Peanut Butter & Co (for reasons that should be obvious -- see name of this blog.) If you're not familiar with Peanut Butter & Co's line of products, allow me to enlighten you of their why-didn't-I-think-of-that genius concept. They have taken all-natural peanut butter and elevated it by turning it into eat-it-straight-from-the-jar flavors like White Chocolate Wonderful, The Heat is On, and Dark Chocolate Dreams (which is indeed the stuff that dreams are made of.)
I think that I lingered at their booth a little too long, sampling here and sampling there, just to make sure that I got an accurate feel for their array of flavors. I mentioned PB & Julie to the PB & Co gang, and they said that they would love to send me some samples to play around with in the kitchen.
"ABSOLUTELY!" (Said in a tone and volume worthy of all caps.)
So, about a week later, Christmas came early. A box containing a jar each of Mighty Maple, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, and Dark Chocolate Dreams arrived at my doorstep, and I started brainstorming about what I could create with the flavors.
Well, that's not exactly true. First I made the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich of my life, then I started brainstorming.
So the first recipe that I came up with was these Whole Grain Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes, something that I envision Elvis enjoyed digging into on Sunday mornings (with a big side o' bacon, of course.) I thought that I was being super original, but then while perusing PB & Co's web site, I found that they already have a peanut butter pancake on there.
Whoops. Well, mine are better.
Kidding -- sheesh!
Well, let's just go with the whole "great minds think alike" thing. They're not exactly the same recipes, and one can never have too many pancake recipes, right? Next time, however, I will check first.
Here are my extra tips for making these pancakes that are fit for "The King.":
- Be sure to heat the peanut butter in the microwave or over the stove before adding it to the wet ingredients, or else it will be difficult to combine everything.
- Be sure that the griddle/skillet temperature is not too high, or else the pancakes will burn on the outside but they will still be raw on the inside.
- These would also make a great dessert pancake. Make silver dollar-sized pancakes, and top them with a little bit of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. You could also add chocolate chips to the batter.
- To really add an "Elvis" twist to this recipe, add some chopped cooked bacon to the batter!
Whole Grain Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup chopped peanuts, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons golden brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup Peanut Butter & Co's Mighty Maple, warmed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon canola or roasted peanut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 medium banana, diced
1 tablespoon butter
Maple syrup, honey, or chocolate sauce or serving
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, peanuts, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, peanut butter, egg, oil, and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the diced bananas.
Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium, and coat it with a thin layer of butter. Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, drop the batter by 1/4 cup portions onto the skillet, spreading it into a circle shape. When the tops of the pancakes start to bubble and the edges start to firm up (about 2 minutes), flip the pancakes and cook until set, 1-2 minutes more.
Serve topped with additional sliced bananas and/or strawberries and a drizzle of warm maple syrup, honey, or chocolate sauce.