Healthy hot chocolate blender pancakes

 The toddler absolutely stuck his finger into this pancake right before this photo.

The toddler absolutely stuck his finger into this pancake right before this photo.

There were 500 reasons why I loved living in Manhattan, but the city in winter was not one of them. Pushing a stroller through mountains of dirty snow and then the huge puddles on every corner once they melted, was torture. And not for nothing, but New Yorkers stop picking up after their dogs when it snows. Like, do you think the snow renders your dog's poop harmless? Because the only thing grosser than frozen dog poop is melted dog poop. But I digress.

So now we're cozy in our house in the suburbs while arctic winds and snow howl outside (and the only frozen poop belongs to OUR dog).

And while we've amended our diets for the inevitable post-holidays detox, it's not as easy for M to swear off sweets (nor do we expect him to), so we're toning them down and transitioning away from indulgence and toward moderation.

Enter, hot chocolate pancakes. The name is enticing and fits with the frigidity of our current climate. BUT! The ingredients are more wholesome than the name implies.

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One thing I like about this recipe is that, unlike other recipes that use banana as a natural sweetener, they don't actually taste like banana. I mean, I love bananas, but I don't always want my baked goods to taste like them.

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I also think that the mixture of malt powder and cocoa powders tastes more like hot chocolate than cocoa powder alone. *If you don't have malt powder, use 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder total and add 1-2 Tbsp of maple syrup to the batter.

And while we're at it, let's talk about "blender pancakes" as a concept. As an admittedly lazy cook and housekeeper, I'm skeptical of getting out the blender when it's not strictly necessary. Maybe I'm scarred from not having a dishwasher for most of my adult life, but it seems so much more complicated to clean the blender than to wash out a bowl and spoon.

Anyway, the blender is totally justified here because the oats get chopped up nicely and incorporated more easily. Without blending, you'd either have chunky pancakes or you'd have to wash a food processor and a bowl and spoon. In conclusion, thank god for dishwashers.

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Hot Chocolate pancakes

1 large banana
1 cup quick oats
2 eggs
¼ cup milk (dairy, almond, soy, coconut, rice- anything will work)
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp malt powder (*See note above if omitting malt powder)
1.5 Tbsp cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, scraping the sides if necessary.

Heat a frying pan with the butter or oil of your choice over medium low heat. Pour out about 1/2 cup of batter (we're looking for about 4-inches in diameter) into the hot pan and let cook until 1 or 2 bubbles form on the raw side. (You won't get lots of bubbles as you would with regular pancakes.) 

Once a bubble or two form, carefully flip the pancakes over and cook for 4-5 minutes on the other side, until a crust forms and the pancake feels firm to the touch. 

Serve warm with berries, syrup, powdered sugar, nut butter, or honey.

Yield: 5-6 medium pancakes

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