You’re Welcome, World: Clinton St. Baking Co.’s Banana Pancake Recipe!

Forget Fashion Week, forget Valentine's Day — it's Pancake Month, people. Once known as the most miserable time of year, February has become Christmas Part Two ever since Clinton St. Baking Co. initiated this glorious tradition. The NYC brunch hot spot is widely considered to have the best pancakes in all of Manhattan (nay, the universe), and New Yorkers have been known to show up hours in advance for a plate of its traditional silver dollar beauties. In February, the menu expands to include a whole slew of artisanal pancake specials, available day and night. If you haven't had cocktails and pancakes, you have a lot to learn about dinner.
In celebration of this, the happiest time of the year, owner/chef Neil Kleinberg has graciously given us the recipe for Clinton St.'s most coveted pancake special — Crunchy Banana with Cinnamon-Chili-Chocolate Sauce. Between the perfect, fluffy batter recipe and the ultra-decadent topping, it is truly a sight to behold (and shove into your face). Good luck not making this every night, forever.

Pancake Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder, plus 1 tsp
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, separated
3 cups whole milk
¾ cup (or 12 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted, (plus 2 tsp unmelted for the griddle)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients:

1 cup flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups seltzer water or club soda
Canola or peanut oil for frying
4 bananas, peeled and halved horizontally
Cinnamon sugar (2 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon)

Sauce Ingredients:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder (such as cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pancake Instructions:

1. Measure and sift all the dry ingredients into a large (preferably stainless steel) mixing bowl: flour, baking powder, sugar, salt.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture. The result should be slightly lumpy, yet combined to form a batter.
3. Whip the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl until they reach medium peaks (soft in the middle). You can either whip them by hand with a whisk, or put them in the bowl of an electric mixer to whip. Be careful, you don’t want to overwhip the egg whites.
4. Gently mix half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Then gently fold the remaining half into the batter. Remember: this batter should be slightly lumpy and have large parts of egg whites not fully incorporated; it should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top. (The batter will last a few hours in the fridge without deflating too much.)
5. Heat a griddle — either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat pan — to 350 to 375°F. Grease the hot griddle with the remaining butter. Drop a cup (approximately 4 tablespoons) of pancake batter on the griddle and cook to set. When you see bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crispy on the edges. If ready, flip the pancake.
6. When the pancake is golden brown on both sides, remove with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, cooking several pancakes at a time.

Topping Instructions:

1. Melt the chocolate, corn syrup, half-and-half, butter, vanilla, chili powder, and cinnamon together in a stainless-steel bowl over a pot filled with warm water on low heat. Mix until smooth. Keep warm until ready to serve.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk. Continue whisking as you slowly pour in the seltzer. Set aside.
3. Fill a Dutch oven halfway with oil. Heat the oil to 350°F, checking the temperature with a cooking thermometer. Roll the banana halves in the batter and place them on a dish. With tongs, dip a banana tip into the oil and hold firm until the oil begins to bubble. Gently drop the banana half into the oil. Fry 2 banana halves at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bananas turn golden brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to agitate the bananas every 30 seconds so they do not burn on one side. Repeat with the remaining bananas.
4. Place the fried bananas on a paper-towel-lined plate. Slice the bananas on the bias into 1-inch pieces and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar. Serve the slices on top of the pancakes with the Cinnamon Chili Chocolate Sauce.

Photo: Courtesy Alex Kleinberg/Clinton Street Baking Co.
Pancake Recipe: Via Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook

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