Today, in addition to sharing my super decadent peppermint-hot-chocolate-meets-pancakes recipe, I’m reflecting on all the random things that make my holiday season complete. Here’s my list:
Shopping at insane hours: It’s probably one of my favorite things to do by myself in preparation for Christmas and also probably a sign that I’m a crazy person. I love shopping late at night when the stores are quiet and lines are short. On the way to and from the mall, I sip my peppermint mocha and crank up the Christmas tunes and bask in the glory of stress-free shopping. The whole experience is oddly relaxing.
Made-for-TV Christmas movie marathons: Just last year, my husband and I started this tradition of loading up our DVR with every single Christmas movie showing in the month of December. The sheer cheesiness of these movies is enough to keep us engaged and entertained for hours.
My top 5 fave Christmas songs on repeat: I’m a fan of the non-traditional tunes. If you’re looking for more Christmas songs to add to your playlist, check these out:
- This Christmas by Donny Hathaway (my all-time fave, and it has to be this version)
- Soul Holidays by Sounds of Blackness (so uplifting!)
- Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson (ok this one is a classic. Any fellow band geeks out there play this at a high school Christmas concert?)
- Last Christmas by Wham (the only thing better than the 80’s synth sound with jingle bells are the hairdos in this music video.)
- Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys (quintessential Beach Boys except they’re singing about sleds instead of surfing)
Cheese and crackers on Christmas morning: For as long as I can remember, my mom has prepared a huge plate of different crackers and a variety of cheeses to enjoy while opening presents on Christmas morning. It’s always fun to play a little a mix and match game to find the best cracker-cheese combo.
Peppermint + chocolate: Give it to me in the form of a mocha, cookie, bar, M&M, or even gum. I’m down with this flavor combo…so much so that I made these Peppermint Hot Chocolate Pancakes. For the last 2 years, I’ve actually created a Christmas morning tradition with these ‘cakes. Last year I made a huge stack with each pancake getting smaller as you reached the top so it looked like a pancake “Christmas tree.” We drizzled the hot chocolate syrup all over and sprinkled on crushed candy canes. It was almost too beautiful to eat! Key word: almost
These pancakes are basically peppermint chocolate heaven. I’ve lightened up the batter with Greek yogurt. No butter or oil in these, yet they still come out moist, hearty, and sorta spongy, but in a completely good way because they soak up all that melted minty chocolate.
Say you’re not in the mood to whip up homemade pancakes…Here’s a pancake hack for the “just add water” pancake mix fans out there: simply add the cocoa powder, peppermint extract, and chocolate chips to the dry mix. Then add water, stir, and cook as you normally do. You’ll have equally amazing pancakes in less time!
For the chocolate syrup, I basically melt a bunch of chocolate chips with a tiny drop of peppermint extract. Boom done. Easiest peppermint chocolate syrup ever. You could be a traditionalist and stick to crushed candy canes for the topping. But, just know that sprinkles, more chocolate chips, and chopped nuts are encouraged!
With all the craziness Christmas morning brings, why not add this festive and (no doubt) sugar high-inducing pancake recipe to the mix. Christmas only comes once a year! I promise I’ll be back to regularly scheduled wholesome and healthy recipes after the 1st of the year. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and cheers to the New Year!
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs agave nectar or honey
- ½ cup nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 cup milk
- ⅛ tsp peppermint extract
- ¼ cup Chocolate Chips
- 4 oz or ⅔ cup dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup heavy cream or warm milk
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- Crushed candy canes (optional)
- Make the pancakes: Combine all pancake ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together until the batter is smooth. Spray a large sauté pan or griddle with cooking spray and bring to medium heat. Drop about ¼ cup servings of batter onto the pan or griddle. Cook the pancakes for about 1 minute on each side or until cooked to your liking.
- Make the peppermint chocolate topping: Melt the dark chocolate chips. Slowly stir in warm milk and peppermint extract until incorporated. Top your pancakes with a drizzle of the melted mint chocolate and a sprinkling of peppermint candy pieces or crushed candy canes.