Steel-cut oatmeal made with lots of pumpkin, chocolate chips, maple syrup and topped with mini pancakes.
If you never know anything else about me, know this: I love oatmeal and I love pancakes.
So it’s no surprise that oats often find their way into my pancakes (Exhibit A). And now pancakes have found their way into my oatmeal.
Clearly pumpkin was needed, since it’s the great month of Pumpktober. Chocolate chips seemed like a good addition (when is chocolate ever not a good idea?). And it wouldn’t be much of a pancake oatmeal without plenty of maple syrup.
This breakfast was an idea I thought of while writing the post for Maple Peanut Butter Oatmeal with Bananas and Chocolate Chips (yikes, that was a long title for an oatmeal recipe). The idea of using mini pancakes as an oatmeal topping jumped into my head, and I knew I had to turn that idea into reality ASAP.
This may seem like an odd idea, so let me explain how it worked in my brain. I always add lots of toppings to my bowl of oats (usually more than what’s in my photographs). If it’s an early morning and I’m not photographing my breakfast, I’ll top my oatmeal with nuts, chocolate, fruit, granola, peanut butter – whatever looks good to me.
So, I thought, ‘What if instead of all those toppings, I added cute mini pancakes!?’ Yes. Yes, I had to do that right away.
Of course, you could always add other toppings as well as the mini pancakes (and chocolate chips). If you ask me, oatmeal is like frozen yogurt: the more toppings, the happier everyone is.
If making mini pancakes to use as an oatmeal topping feels like more effort than you’re willing to exert in the morning, then (a) I get it; and (b) don’t worry, the oatmeal’s still delicious sans pancakes.
Without the pancakes, it’s still Pumpkin and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal – and only three days late for National Pumpkin Day (which was on October 26). I can never keep up with these ‘food holidays’.
Side note: I just realized today – October 29 – is National Oatmeal Day! Everything’s coming up Milhouse!
The spices aren’t too strong in this oatmeal, as I didn’t want to detract from the delicious combination of pumpkin and chocolate. So, while there’s quite a bit of cinnamon, the ginger, nutmeg and cloves are fairly subtle. The last thing I wanted was for the chocolate to be upstaged by cloves.
Now let’s talk about those mini pancakes!
If you happen to have leftover pancake batter, then that would be ideal. Just cook it the way you usually make pancakes, but make mini pancakes (about a spoonful of batter per pancake). Or if you have leftover cooked pancakes, simply slice them up and you’ve got yourself an oatmeal topping.
As I imagine most people don’t have leftover pancake batter in their fridge, I’ve included a recipe for mini pancakes below – it’s underneath the oatmeal recipe. The recipe only makes 4 – 6 mini pancakes, just enough for these bowls of oatmeal.
I have to admit: it’s hard to make a teeny tiny recipe for pancakes! There was no chance of being able to add an egg – or even an egg white – to this bite-sized recipe. So the mini pancakes are completely vegan (as is the oatmeal). And I’ll be completely honest: they’re not as fluffy as, let’s say, my Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes or Panettone Pancakes. But I still think they work as little oatmeal toppers.
Timing the oatmeal and pancakes may seem a little tricky, but it’s nothing to fret over. You can make the pancake batter, let it rest until the oatmeal is nearly done, and then cook the pancakes. Since steel-cut oats aren’t as time-sensitive as rolled oats, you don’t have to worry too much about your oatmeal overcooking.
As for the chocolate, I used (dairy-free) dark chocolate chips, which are my favorite. Any variety of chocolate chips (or some chopped chocolate) will work in this oatmeal.
So, you may not do it today, tomorrow or even next week, but please – for the love of breakfast – top your oatmeal with mini pancakes one day.
Yes, that thing exists!
Pumpkin spice lasagna noodles? Yep, you can buy them!
- For the oatmeal
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup steel-cut oats
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon blackstrap molasses
- 1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Mini Pancakes
- Chocolate chips
- Maple syrup
- In a saucepan, bring the almond milk and water to a boil, and then turn down the heat to medium-low. Add the steel-cut oats and salt, and stir well.
- Add the pumpkin puree, and stir until completely incorporated.
- Stir in the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla extract and blackstrap molasses. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste.
- Steel-cut oatmeal generally takes 20 - 30 minutes to cook. As it’s cooking, add more almond milk if it looks as though the oatmeal is drying out.
- Once the oats have softened and are creamy, divide the oatmeal between two bowls. Top each bowl with a few mini pancakes, plenty of chocolate chips, and a some maple syrup. Enjoy!
Blackstrap molasses give the oatmeal a slight brown sugar taste. If you don’t have this ingredient, either leave it out or replace the maple syrup with brown sugar.
Making the mini pancakes
Since steel-cut oats take a while to cook, you’ve got plenty of time to prepare your pancake batter – and cook the pancakes – while the oatmeal is simmering away.
A recipe for Chocolate Chip Mini Pancakes follows this recipe, otherwise use leftover pancakes (or make mini pancakes using leftover pancake batter).
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1 - 2 teaspoons chocolate chips
- In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Let the batter rest for at least 2 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
- Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. Grease with cooking oil spray, and then add a spoonful of batter for each pancake.
- Cook the pancakes for about 2 minutes, or until a few bubbles appear on the surface. Flip, and cook for 1 - 2 minutes on the other side.