Banana Pecan Waffles

I've been on a summer cooking kick, posting recipes that feature all the stars of the season -- blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, basil, eggplantwatermelon, and peaches, to name just a few -- so you might be wondering why I am posting a recipe with bananas as the main ingredient. Bananas, after all, are not a summer fruit, and actually, have no season at all -- they are a perennial plant that they can be harvested all year long (you learn something new every day!) and are thus good any time of the year. So why, then, am I sharing a recipe for Banana Waffles in August? Two reasons: 1.) I had overly ripe bananas leftover from these Fudge Pops that desperately needed to be used and 2.) the waffle iron is still Summer-cooking friendly. Unlike a regular sized oven -- which gives the sensation that actually, you are living not in an apartment, but rather a toaster oven that looks like an apartment -- the waffle iron uses heat but in small enough quantities to keep your kitchen at an acceptable temperature. 

But let's talk Banana Pecan Waffles, which can be best described as banana bread in the waffle form. The base of the recipe contains not one, not two, but three overly ripe bananas, which makes for maximum banana flavor (never throw out the ugly brown bananas hanging out in your fridge, they have the best, sweetest flavor for baking). Intense banana flavor aside, these waffles are spiced up with a hint of warm cinnamon, a touch of floral honey, and a healthy dose of crunchy toasted pecans for a little texture and nutty flavor. The beaten egg whites to be folded in to the batter may seem like that extra annoying step at the end of the recipe, but trust me! It only takes a few minutes to whip up egg whites and it makes these waffles light and fluffy and cloud-like. I ate these with extra bananas, pecans, and maple syrup, as well as a sprinkle of blackberries (because I had some lying around) but these would also be good with peanut butter or honey. Long story short: you couldn't ask for a better dish to star in your next lazy weekend breakfast/brunch. 

A couple of notes: As I said above -- make sure you use overly ripe bananas here, the ones that have turned all brown and mushy and unappetizing -- they have the best banana flavor. Because of the bananas, these waffles are softer than your average waffle, making them a little tricky to remove from the waffle iron. Using a spatula to lift them out is helpful. Not a fan of pecans? Feel free to use walnuts, chocolate chips, or even blueberries here instead, or leave the mix-ins out all together for plain banana waffles. If you're worried about the waffles getting cold as you make them, they can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven until you're ready to serve them. Finally, these freeze well -- if you'd like to have waffles for breakfast whenever, place completely cool waffles in a resealable freezer bag and freeze. To reheat, just pop the waffles in the toaster. Lastly, it was pointed out to me that it looks like I was drinking wine along with my waffles in the above photo...for the record, it's blood orange juice, which I much prefer to the apparently more tarter and photogenic orange orange juice.

Looking to further expand your waffle repertoire? Check out these savory waffles and these classic sweet waffles. More of a french toast or pancake fan? You might like these Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes, Pumpkin Pancakes, or Buttermilk Pancakes, or this Pumpkin French toast or Individual Baked French toasts

BANANA PECAN WAFFLES

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups plain yogurt
3 eggs, separated
3 very ripe bananas
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups chopped, toasted pecans
Sliced bananas, maple syrup,extra pecans for serving

Directions:
Preheat a waffle iron. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, yogurt, butter, honey, and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
In a separate small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork; stir into batter. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Stir in the pecans.
                                                                               

Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the hot waffle iron according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Close lid; cook waffle is golden brown on both sides, about 5-6 minutes. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve. Serve with extra butter, maple syrup, banana, honey, and pecans, if desired. Makes 6 waffles.



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