If you've read my blogs along the way, you may have seen me mention how I'm not big on chocolate. My father was the ultimate chocoholic. His dream (he wouldn't have called it that) was to go to a food show all about chocolate. He loved chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, Hershey's syrup in milk, Hershey's syrup over chocolate ice cream, Reese's peanut butter cups, ad infinitum. I didn't inherit that love. That's not to say that I didn't have the occasional craving, but for the most part, I could live without chocolate.
Now, I do like chocolate cereal. I especially like Cocoa Krispies or Cocoa Pebbles. I love how the milk is so chocolate-y when you're done. But, as much as I love it, I still have to drink water or something else afterwards to get the chocolate-y taste out of my mouth. I'm that way with most sweets - I don't like that leftover syrupy taste that lingers, even if I've enjoyed every bite.
Another chocolate cereal I love is Chocolate Malt-o-Meal. Basically, it's like cream of wheat with cocoa added. Oh my goodness! It smells so wonderful when it's cooked and then with butter and sugar added, it's most excellent. (I grew up with all hot cereals eaten with butter and sugar.)
Anyway, I'm not overly fond of sweet breakfasts, which is why the butter makes the hot cereal more palatable for me. The same is true for pancakes. The butter adds a savory flavor that cuts the syrup (which for me is usually low or no sugar). But, lately, I've been trying to keep pancakes from being just plain pancakes. Plain pancakes for me are like eating spoonsful of sugar. The carbs process so quickly and I end up just dragging even as my blood sugar skyrockets. It's like taking a sleeping pill. So, I've been adding whole grains to my pancakes - until recently, that grain has been oats along with some cinnamon for added flavor.
Maybe it's not a perfect solution, but when you're low income, you use what you have. What I have is generic complete pancake mix that I combine with a whole grain before adding water. The end result has actually been quite good. The oatmeal pancakes turned out wonderfully light and fluffy without any real evidence of the oats that I had added, despite the fact that they were so obvious in the batter itself. And, I didn't have the sugar slump after I ate them like I did with plain pancakes. The whole grains seemed to make a difference in how my body processed them.
So, after several days of eating Chocolate Malt-o-Meal for breakfast, I was in the mood for pancakes again. I decided to try mixing the malt-o-meal with the pancake mix and see how that turned out. First of all, I've always thought the idea of chocolate pancakes was disgusting. Pancakes are sweet enough without adding chocolate to them. Yet, I knew that the chocolate flavoring in the hot cereal wasn't that strong and it was, after all, a whole grain cereal; so, I decided to try it.
I have to say, I wasn't disappointed. Although they were somewhat heavier than the oatmeal pancakes (whether that is because of the cereal or because I changed pancake mixes at the same time, I don't yet know, although I suspect it's the cereal), they turned out amazingly well. The chocolate flavoring was minimal, yet I could smell its essence while they baked in the pan. As with the oats, the cereal grains cooked through while the cakes were baking because of, I assume, the intensity of the steam factor in the cooking process. I still eat them the same way - with butter and low-sugar syrup, although I really only put syrup on the top pancake to run down the sides.
I personally think it's a great way to sneak whole grains and fiber into the pancakes your family keeps requesting. The kids will be intrigued by the chocolate factor and you'll know they're getting something better in their bodies than a pancake usually is. Try adding oatmeal, applesauce and cinnamon. Or, slices of banana once the oatmeal batter is in the pan before you flip them. I know I've noticed a difference in how my body responds to the pancakes since I began adding the hot cereals, so I'm sure these additions will benefit your family as well. And, they won't even realize it!!