I was born in Hawaii and though I was not there long as a baby I’ve been fortunate to spend a great deal of time there over the course of my lifetime. When I was still a child my maternal Grandparents invested in a small motel with other mainlander friends and spent a great deal of time there themselves, forging a familiarity for my childhood visits.
The first trip I really recall was when I was a young teen and traveled with them to three islands, spending a week on each. We went to Oahu, Hawaii and Maui. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean so have very fond memories of being on the beaches and snorkeling. I loved taking walks in the balmy humidity with the intoxicating perfume of Plumaria flowers hanging in the air.
One of my strongest and most lasting food memories were from time in Lahina on Maui, of delicious Banana Pancakes with Coconut Syrup. Too much time has passed for me to remember the restaurant where I first had them but I recall it to be a very local place, not catering to the tourists. It was by a water front and felt a bit like a home kitchen away from home.
I had never had something as extraordinary as banana pancakes. To me pancakes were Bisquick based with maple syrup (and probably then something like Aunt Jemima). Very ho hum. The Hawaiian pancakes on the other hand were so exotic, and flavorful; a celebration of tropical flavors. I would eat them as often as possible when visiting Lahina, and fortunately returned a number of times over the years to sample them anew.
Perhaps it’s the most recent dump of snow cloaked in low teen temperatures, or a food memory kicked off my making Baked Coconut-Pecan Chicken Tenders this week, but these beloved childhood pancakes popped to mind this week. I could not resist the temptation to create a recipe allowing a tropical taste in gluten-free form. For good measure I’ve added another Hawaiian treat, Macadamia Nuts, making for a beautiful texture and even more delicious bite!
I decided to make these pancakes with a mix of Oat and Coconut flour. Oat flour is one of my favorite gluten-free flours to work with both for its homey flavor and structure, which is something in gluten-free baking can be a challenge. If you have not used Coconut flour you are in for a treat. One whiff when opening the bag will tell the story as it delivers a full, rich coconut smell and light coconut taste. It is not flour in the traditional form but rather made from ground coconut meat which has been first dried. Adding it into the pancake recipe delivers and even full-flavor of coconut while remaining light in texture and taste.
This recipe was created from a tropical Hawaiian breakfast memory of Banana Pancakes with Coconut Syrup. Bursting with robust flavors and textures these exotic pancakes add pizzazz to any breakfast. The recipes are naturally gluten-free using oat and coconut flours for the pancakes.
- 1 14-ounce can Lite Coconut Milk (preferably organic)
- 1 tablespoon Corn Starch
- 1/3 cup Brown Rice Syrup (agave nectar may be substituted to make sweeter syrup)
- ½ cup Coconut Flour
- 1 cup Oat Flour
- 1 ½ tablespoon granulated Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- 3 Eggs
- 2 cups Milk (I used unsweetened soy milk)
- 2 medium-large ripe Bananas
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ½ cup chopped Macadamia Nuts (preferably roasted and salted)
- Pour coconut milk into a medium saucepan, reserving ¼ cup.
- Combine the ¼ cup coconut milk and the cornstarch, stirring to allow the cornstarch to fully dissolve. Add mixture to the saucepan. Also add the brown rice syrup.
- Bring mixture to a low boil over medium heat stirring often. Lower heat to low and continue to stir as the mixture simmers for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (note: it will thicken as it cools). Store, sealed, in the refrigerator for use.
- In a large mixing bowl sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Discard any hard bits of coconut flour that may be left in the sifter.
- Place the wet ingredients in a blender (eggs, milk, bananas and vanilla extract). Process on the lowest speed just until the mixture is fully combines and no large banana chunks are present.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir by hand to full combine. Stir in Macadamia nuts.
- On a hot griddle* or large frying pan, drop batter in ¼ cup amounts to form pancakes. NOTE: if the batter sits for awhile it will thicken, and if this occurs spread the batter evenly after placing it on the cooking surface. Watch for bubbles in the pancakes as well as checking underneath for a dark golden color to signal time to turn the pancakes (due to the general thickness of the batter the pancakes will be ready to be flipped before many bubble appear). Cook until done and golden brown on each side.