So during a recent vacation that generally ended every evening with s'mores by a campfire, I decided to sort out a way to start every day with them, too. Except that I didn't want to build a campfire quite that early. And if I could do it without all the sugar-induced guilt, that would be nice.
It turned out to be easier than I expected, though it took me a few attempts to get it right. The answer — s'mores pancakes.
I started with my basic whole-wheat pancake batter (feel free to substitute all-purpose flour if whole-wheat doesn't do it for you). But then I doctored it up with chocolate chips and graham crumbs (grocers sell them by the box in the baking aisle). That was easy. But no s'more is complete without marshmallow. That was less easy.
My first attempt, while tasty, was visually pretty nasty. Adding the marshmallow too soon caused it to melt too much and actually disappear into the pancake batter as it cooked. But it was an easy fix.
When serving the s'mores pancakes, we ditched any syrup or other topping. The melty, gooey marshmallow seemed plenty. But if you simply must drizzle something, I'd vote for either hot fudge or marshmallow topping (both sold alongside the other ice cream sundae toppings).
Start to finish: 15 minutes
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup graham crumbs
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Use a paring knife or kitchen shears to cut each marshmallow in half. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Whisk in the egg, milk and oil just until a smooth batter forms.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high. Coat with cooking spray, then ladle batter into it, using about 1/4 cup for each pancake. Allow ample space between the pancakes to allow for spreading.
As soon as the batter is poured into the skillet, sprinkle a bit of graham crumbs over each, then sprinkle a few chocolate chips over that. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then use a spatula to carefully flip the pancakes. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or just until lightly browned.
Flip the pancakes again. Gently press half a marshmallow onto the centre of each pancake (over the graham crumbs and chocolate chips), then flip again to toast the marshmallow for 15 seconds. Flip again and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining batter, coating the pan with additional cooking spray between batches.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 370 calories; 130 calories from fat (35 per cent of total calories); 15 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 50 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 6 g fiber; 630 mg sodium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.