Eight years ago, my wife and I had the wonderful experience of flying to the island of Kauai, Hawaii. During our time there, we went to the Ono Family Restaurant in Kapaa for breakfast. I saw someone order banana pancakes, which is served with whipped cream and coconut syrup. Before this moment, I didn’t care for bananas, but after I ordered my first ever banana pancakes with whipped cream and coconut syrup, I was sold. After we left the beauty of Hawaii, I swore I would learn how to make coconut syrup, so I could recapture that moment my wife and I had on our Hawaiian vacation. It took me three years to create a coconut syrup after trying several different recipes. I finally came up with one that tasted great, but also did not need high fructose corn syrup after researching the dangers of it online. Here’s just one of many articles out there when searching “dangers of high fructose corn syrup.”
Oddly enough, I did not find a recipe online that could make the coconut syrup I desired. For syrups, it seems everyone wants to use corn syrup. I think the main reason why is sugar seems to crystallize over time and ruins the glass jar used for storage, not to mention the syrup, which I experienced this on past failures. So, because of this hassle, many people in our modern society give up and use the non crystallizing corn syrup; after all, it’s easier. However, I didn’t give up; I just needed to get beyond our modern culture’s lack of creativity and apathy towards anything challenging. The internet is too modern; I needed someone from a different culture or better yet a different era.
After a trip to Robert’s Bookshop, a used book store, a few years back when we used to live on the Oregon Coast, I found a couple old dusty cook books from the early 1900’s. The one I use for the syrup recipe is titled, The Kitchen Companion: The Science of Good Cooking, published in 1915, one hundred years ago. I use the recipe for a simple syrup as the base and reduce the size to the amount we desire. I then use the vanilla syrup recipe as a template for my coconut syrup and add the coconut extract for the coconut flavor based on percentages I have discovered to work really well.
There is nothing like banana pancakes on a morning that feels less than stellar during a busy hectic week or where the weather is depressing. There is also a lot to be said about the rejuvenating affects of a nostalgic trip back to Hawaii. We even play our Iz CDs to help set the mood. Sometimes a morning can be a vacation in itself without the hassle of traveling.
I have made my banana pancake combination for family, friends, and even for school activities as a fundraiser. I have never had any complaints, but only favorable compliments, which is either a credit at my attempt at creating the perfect combination or to the very polite family members, friends, and school community in my life.