Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze

Who doesn’t need cinnamon rolls on a Monday?

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

I know I sure do! Especially when they’re loaded with banana, chocolate and walnuts like these Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze. I don’t even think that these need further discussion, but a discussion we will have.


As I mentioned in my post for these Pumpkin Praline Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting, I owe my deep love for all flavors of homemade cinnamon rolls to my Dad. Over the past couple of years, good ol’ Dad has been dreaming up different combos like Caramel Apple, Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, you name it, and if we’re lucky he’ll have some baking away in the oven for breakfast whenever we go up home to visit.

Two weekends ago, we were up there helping my sister move into her new house, and my parents decided to throw a little brunch to celebrate my birthday the next morning. Sure enough, Dad was in the kitchen the night before the brunch whipping up the above-mentioned Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls, and I decided it was high time for me to feature another cinnamon roll flavor on this here blog using his trusty recipe.

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

On this same trip, Dad and I were chatting over our coffee one early morning (as we usually do since we’re the only early-risers in the family) and he brought up the fact that it had been a while since he made his banana chocolate chip pancakes – another breakfast specialty of his. It got the gears turning in my mind and I figured, why not combine the two? Cinnamon rolls, banana, chocolate chip….all in buttery, flaky bread form? Yes, please!

Of course I couldn’t stop there, and I decided to go ahead and add toasted walnuts to the mix. I mean, who doesn’t want their breakfast to taste like the best Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor around? Oh, and the glaze….yes, I trashed that up too and made it a rich, ganache-like chocolate…

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m proud to say that these Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze turned into not one, but two pans of delicious, indulgent, chocolate-y breakfast pastries, half of which are living in our freezer right now so we don’t eat them all in one sitting. Plus, I love having a freezer full of baked goods for any last minute house guests or mornings where we just don’t feel like cooking!

You’ll notice that the base for these Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls is very similar to my Pumpkin Praline Cinnamon Roll recipe. That’s the beauty of cinnamon rolls! Once you get the basic formula down, you can swap different ingredients in and out to make alllll of the flavors.

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

You’ll also notice that there is (once again) a very long prep time. Don’t be discouraged by this! The hands-on time is really quite minimal, the dough just requires an overnight rise in the refrigerator. All the better if you want an easy breakfast that’s ready to just pop in the oven in the morning (and fill your house with the most heavenly aroma at the same time!)

The dough for our Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze is brought together using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, and is then rolled out into a rectangle over a large floured surface.  This is where our banana will live, mixed into the buttery dough just like you would when making banana bread.

The next step is the delicious, ooey gooey filling. The rolled out dough gets a light brushing of butter, and then a heavy dusting of ground cinnamon. We sprinkle our mini chocolate chips and toasted walnuts over that, and then we’re ready to rock-and-roll!

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s right, time to roll up the dough into a long, tight log. I failed a bit at the “tight” part, but was able to make it work by using a rubber spatula to scrape the dough off of my marble slab (it can get a bit sticky) and guide it onto the rest of the roll.

The rolling is literally the hardest part (besides waiting for the cinnamon rolls to rise!) and once you’re done with that just slice it up and tuck the spirals into a couple of baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Wrap them up and stick ‘em in the fridge overnight, and in the morning you’re just 45 minutes away from incredibly mouth-watering Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze!

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

I like to let the cinnamon rolls have a little bit of a warm rise in the morning, and to do this I just turn the oven on to 250 degrees for about 5 minutes, then turn it off and put the rolls in for 10-15 minutes. After they’ve had some time to rise, I take the rolls out to, set them on top of the oven, and preheat the oven to the baking temp of 350 degrees. Once the oven is preheated, stick in the cinnamon rolls and in 30 minutes your house will smell like your favorite bakery – promise.

You can mix up the chocolate glaze while the cinnamon rolls are cooling, and either pour the glaze all over the cinnamon rolls in the pan, or leave the glaze in a bowl on the side and spoon it over each of the cinnamon rolls as they’re being served. (Although, if you wait to scoop the glaze on after you take the rolls out of the pan, you’ll have a lot more surface area for it too ooze all over…just sayin’.)

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

And that’s it! Really, as long as you’re cool with popping the rolls in the refrigerator overnight to rise, this recipe comes together in a snap and with very minimal effort. I mean, we’re talking weekday breakfast status right here. So what are you waiting for?

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze

These are not your average cinnamon rolls with flavors of banana, chocolate and walnuts. Just like your favorite ice cream flavor! 

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 18 cinnamon rolls
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 large, ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
For the glaze:
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. First, make the dough. Combine yeast and lukewarm water in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Add butter, sugars, salt, eggs and banana and stir (using the dough hook) to combine. Gradually begin adding in the flour, one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition, but not over-stirring (you just barely want all the flour incorporated in the dough before adding more.)

  2. Keep adding the flour until the dough can be removed from the mixer without sticking too much. It will be a little sticky, but feel free to put more flour on your hands to help you get it out of the mixer and onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough lightly on the floured surface, adding light dustings of flour as needed, until you feel you can roll the dough out into a large rectangle.

  3. Using a rolling pin (or pizza roller), roll the dough into a rectangle that’s large enough for the dough to be about ¾ of an inch to an inch thick. You’ll want one of the long sides of the rectangle closest to where you are standing.

  4. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over the dough, then sprinkle on the cinnamon, followed by the walnuts and chocolate chips. 

  5. Starting at the long side of the rectangle that’s closest to you, begin rolling up the dough into one long log. Do this slowly and carefully, using a rubber spatula and more flour to guide the dough as needed. Pinch the ends into the dough to prevent the log from falling apart.

  6. Using a sharp knife, slice the log of dough into 1 ½ - 2-inch pieces. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and place each roll snugly side-by-side. If you have extra rolls that you can’t fit in the pan, place them in another, smaller baking dish coated with cooking spray, such as a loaf pan.

  7. Cover rolls with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

  8. In the morning, take the cinnamon rolls out of the refrigerator and uncover. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit for just 5 minutes, then turn it off. Add the cinnamon rolls to the warm oven for about 15 minutes to go through a second rise, then remove the rolls and turn the oven heat up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  9. Return the cinnamon rolls to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly while you make the glaze. 

  10. In a medium bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add the melted butter and milk and whisk until a thick glaze forms. Spoon the glaze over the cinnamon rolls before serving.

Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch!

**Author’s Note: You may notice that this girl-powered post is coming to you a day later than my usual weekly posting schedule. We had originally planned to post our Spring Fling Brunch on Wednesday, March 8, but then discovered that many of the ladies in our lives (coworkers, friends, family, etc.) were participating in A Day Without a Woman. After some deliberation, we decided to postpone our posts until Thursday to show our support for all females and gender-oppressed individuals. As always, I so appreciate your support for me and so many of my fellow bloggers and lady entrepreneurs. I hope you enjoy reading about our brunch just as much as we enjoyed throwing it!

I told you this was going to be a fun week!

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com


I am so excited for today’s post because it has been a long time coming. I’ve mentioned it before, but I truly feel so fortunate to have met so many amazing lady entrepreneurs IRL in my small little community of Santa Barbara. I’ve met fellow bloggers, freelancers, small-business owners, you name it. I’ve enjoyed interacting with every single person I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with, and have learned so much by having this diverse sounding board to bounce ideas off of, ask for advice, etc.

Way back in November, my fellow blogging babes, Hana-Lee from Wander and Wine and Becky from Baking the Goods, and I started throwing around the idea of a collaboration brunch. We all have such unique niches when it comes to our blogs (Hana-Lee focuses on wine and travel, while Becky’s the baker and I’m the cook with a side of mixology) that we thought it would be a great opportunity to play off of each other’s strengths and introduce our readers to all of the fantastic things everyone is doing in their own little corner of the Interwebs.

Well, after much rescheduling and the craziness of the holidays, we were finally able to pull it off. The result was a super fun and festive Spring Fling Brunch we held on a beautifully sunny day last week. I whipped up this hearty Breakfast Panzanella, while Becky brought a stunning Ricotta, Potato & Spring Pea Galette and, of course, Hana-Lee brought the wine. We were also able to get some of our other local lady entrepreneurs involved – Vanessa from Garibaldi Goods provided her over-the-top delicious homemade bread (and some jam, of course!), Amy from Bright Inc. provided the beautiful flower arrangements, and Alison from Sugar Cat Studio whipped up some brunch-themed cupcakes. Be sure to check out all of their blogs/websites/businesses because they are all amazing and work their little tushes off to turn out some amazing products. So fun!

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let me just tell you, starting the photo shoot for this brunch at 12pm was pure torture. We did so in order to capture the best lighting, but by the end of our almost two-hour shoot, all of our stomachs were audibly growling because all of the food looked (and smelled) so good! Don’t worry, we were sure to taste everything afterwards because, you know, quality control.

When we decided to give our brunch a spring theme, my mind immediately turned to creating a dish that was full of incredibly fresh ingredients (hello, warmer weather) yet hearty enough to not shock our systems too much after a season of all of those comforting winter foods. I knew a Breakfast Panzanella would go perfectly with the Spring Fling theme and set about making a version loaded with two of my favorite breakfast items – bacon and eggs, of course!

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m sure you’ve had (or at least heard of) the classic version of panzanella before, which generally consists of cubes of crusty bread, fresh basil and tomatoes, and some sort of dressing involving olive oil, vinegar, shallots and capers. For my Breakfast Panzanella, I omitted the capers in the dressing (I’m not the hugest fan) and of course added bacon and eggs, plus some fresh mozzarella, because CHEESE.

What resulted was a perfectly balanced salad – the basil and tomatoes are a reminder that warmer weather is just around the corner, while the crusty bread gives the dish that hominess we still crave during this transition between the seasons. This Breakfast Panzanella is also loaded with protein from the eggs, bacon and mozzarella, so it will fill you up and give you a nice solid base for all of that wine you’ll be drinking.

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

This salad also comes together in almost no time at all. You can toast the bread cubes and cook the bacon the night before, which means you’ll be able to sleep in approximately 15 minutes more before you have to roll out of bed to scramble up some eggs and whisk together the dressing. What’s left after that is simply tossing everything together in one big bowl and garnishing with some fresh basil! If this Breakfast Panzanella isn’t the perfect brunch dish, I don’t know what is.

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

My recommendation to you? Call up some of your girlfriends STAT and set a date for a Spring Fling Brunch of your own. Then head on over to my gal pals’ blog posts for all of the other deets you’ll need to make it a smashing success.

For the recipe for Becky’s Ricotta, Potato & Spring Pea Galette, head on over to Baking the Goods.

For all of Hana-Lee’s wine recommendations and pairing notes, head on over to Wander and Wine.

And be sure to check out all of the other ladies’ sites as well for further inspiration!

Bright Inc. for all of your floral inspiration,

Sugar Cat Studio to grab some tasty cupcake mixes,

and Garibaldi Goods for small-batch artisan foods from local California producers.

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Breakfast Panzanella
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

The classic Italian bread salad gets a morning makeover with the addition of bacon and eggs. The perfect dish for a spring-themed brunch!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 4 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 6-8 basil leaves, plus 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 5 cups cubed crusty sourdough (about 1/2 of a large loaf)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces ciliegine (baby mozzarella balls)
  • 3 eggs, scrambled
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once bacon is cooked, remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Do not dispose of the bacon grease in the pan!

  2. Add 6-8 basil leaves to the saute pan with the bacon grease in it (still on medium heat) and then add the bread cubes. Toast, tossing to coat, until all of the cubes are golden brown. If the cubes seem dry, drizzle on a little olive oil as they continue to toast. You may notice that the basil gets crispy and crumbly as it cooks along with the bread, this is okay! The little bits of basil will add some additional flavor to the salad once it’s done. Once the bread cubes are nice and toasted, spread out on some parchment paper to dry out and cool completely.

  3. Next, mix up the vinaigrette. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients by shaking in a Mason jar or whisking vigorously in a small bowl. Set aside.

  4. Place the cooled bread cubes in a large bowl. Chop up the now cooled bacon and add it to the bowl as well, along with the ½ cup of chopped fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, ciliegine and scrambled eggs. 

  5. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Garnish with additional chopped basil, if desired. 

 

Loaded Crab Scramble

I told you it was going to be a breakfast week, didn’t I?

Loaded Crab Scramble | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’re looking for an easy yet delicious/indulgent breakfast to whip up this weekend, look no further. This Loaded Crab Scramble is here to save the day!


This was actually an accidental recipe that I came up with while trying to use up some leftover fresh crab we had on hand (and various other random refrigerator ingredients,) but sometimes those are the best recipes, the ones we don’t really plan, right?

So a little backstory on why we had a ton of leftover crab on hand. In my husband’s family, it was always tradition to have crab for Christmas Eve dinner. But ever since we’ve been together, we’ve done Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, and hence have missed out on all of the delicious crab.

This past year, with the way the holidays fell, we were able to head home on Christmas Eve Eve, so of course we decided to pop into his parents’ house that night for a very decadent fresh crab feast! And ever since we did so, Chris’ dad has been regularly buying it as a light, easy dinner for him and his mom, and every time we heard that’s what they’re having for dinner, we’ve been extremely jealous.

So, last weekend, after an incredibly emotional Saturday, my honey knew exactly what would make me feel better and suggested we go out and buy some fresh crab for dinner that night. Well, we went a little overboard and ended up with wayyyy more crab than we could eat in one sitting. Because fresh crab doesn’t last too long as a leftover, I decided to throw it into an easy scramble with other leftover odds and ends we had on hand.

Loaded Crab Scramble | CaliGirlCooking.com

I ended up adding some sautéed shallots, a dollop of crème fraiche, fresh spinach, tomatoes and fresh chives. Let’s just say I wish it was financially practical to make Loaded Crab Scrambles for breakfast every morning.

Quick tip: When we realized we weren’t going to be able to eat all of the crab that first night, we still powered through and cracked it all, getting out all of the meat. We figured since our hands were already a mess, we might as well just get it done. That way, when you’re ready to use the leftovers, you can just throw them into a dish at a moment’s notice and not have to worry about going through that whole process again. I’m all about the shortcuts!

After you have all of your ingredients on hand, this Loaded Crab Scramble comes together super quickly. It’s literally just as easy as regular scrambled eggs, with just a little bit of time sautéing the shallots beforehand. It’s the perfect breakfast if you have lots of fun things other than eating planned for your weekend, or if you slept in a little too late and find it’s already almost lunchtime once you get around to making breakfast 😉

Loaded Crab Scramble | CaliGirlCooking.com

The final touches that I would HIGHLY recommend for this Loaded Crab Scramble are a perfectly ripe sliced avocado and a slice or two of crusty toast. Oh, and of course some coffee, orange juice, or mimosas if you’re so inclined.

If you like seafood (specifically shellfish) you have GOT to give this breakfast a try. We’re still in the height of crab season, so get it now while the crabbing’s good!

Loaded Crab Scramble | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Loaded Crab Scramble
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

The perfect, easy breakfast upgrade - classic scrambled eggs jazzed up with the addition of fresh crab, spinach, tomatoes and creme fraiche!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 2 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 2/3 cup crabmeat
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • Toast
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium low heat. Once butter is melted, add the shallot and saute for 3-5 minutes, until shallots start to become fragrant. 

  2. While shallots are sautéing, combine eggs, crème fraiche and crabmeat in a mixing bowl. Whisk to scramble the eggs and make the mixture come together. 

  3. Turn the heat under the saute pan up to medium high and add the spinach, stirring until slightly wilted. Next, add the egg mixture to the pan and stir gently. 

  4. Add the tomatoes, chives, salt and pepper and continue to gently stir and break up the eggs, as you would any scrambled egg dish. Once eggs are no longer runny and cooked through, transfer to two plates. 

  5. Garnish with fresh avocado and slices of toast.

Loaded Crab Scramble | CaliGirlCooking.com

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey

I hope you all love breakfast as much as I do.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Because this week is all about the breakfast recipes, and I’m not going to feel bad about it. Technically, this Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey could be breakfast OR lunch, or even a snack, so there’s that. And it is anything but basic, so don’t stop scrolling because this is yet ANOTHER recipe for the OG avocado toast. You are going to make this version with grilled halloumi and honey and you’re going to LOVE it.


First and foremost, have you even heard of halloumi cheese? If so, than you know that it is an amazing, firm, salty Greek cheese that is incredibly versatile – it can be grilled, sautéed, shredded, you name it! And if this is your first time hearing about halloumi cheese, prepare for your mind to be blown.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

I was first introduced to the stuff at a little Mediterranean bar and grill in downtown Napa called Tarla. My friend and I were trying it out for the first time, so naturally we asked the waiter what dishes he recommended. He promptly told us we had to get the Saganaki, and boy, am I so glad we did! Not ten minutes later, we had a little cast iron dish of flaming halloumi cheese in front of us, drizzled with truffle honey, accompanied by Chardonnay-infused Turkish apricots and raisins, and served with little toasts to scoop up all the goodness. I was immediately in heaven.

But, that all-too-common fear of the unknown took over and, although I knew you could find halloumi cheese at certain gourmet grocers and specialty stores, it took me these five or so years since I tasted that little bite of heaven to finally buck up and buy some of the cheese to experiment with. This Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey was my first foray into the halloumi world and, let me tell you, I’m never going back.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

I touched on it already, but one of the greatest things about halloumi is that, when sliced and grilled or sautéed, it will actually hold its shape and not melt into an oozy puddle. It gets these gorgeous brown grill marks and picks up the flavor of whatever you cook it in.

Because there were already a ton of flavors I planned on loading on this toast, I kept my grilling method simple and cooked the halloumi up in a healthy pat of butter in my cast iron skillet. This gave it the most gorgeous slight char (anyone else here a huge fan of slightly golden-browned cheese?) and the cheese literally soaked up all of that delicious, buttery flavor.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though, because as all good toast does, this Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey starts with high-quality bread. You could essentially use any type of bread for this, but I highly recommend something that’s a slight step up from your average sliced sandwich bread. I used a local bakery’s whole wheat levain and it was absolutely outstanding. Plus, that way you can hand-cut the slices as thick as you want!

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

So after finding your fave bread and giving it a good toast (either in the toaster or under the broiler in your oven,) we lather on a healthy dose of smashed avocado, then sprinkle on some fresh lemon juice. This acidity will help cut through the richness that both the avocado and the cheese bring to this dish.

The next layer of this ultimate open-faced sammy is the grilled halloumi. Don’t be shy about this, yes, it’s cheese, but it’s sooo worth the little indulgence. We then drizzle on a little honey to bring some sweetness and sprinkle on some chili flakes for spice, the perfect sweet-salty-spicy tri-fecta.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Some might say this Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey is TOO simple of a dish, but sometimes that’s just what we need, especially on a busy Monday. And once you taste this bad boy, you’re going to realize the explosion of flavor is anything but simple.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

The classic avocado toast gets a fresh makeover with the addition of grilled Greek halloumi cheese, complimented by fresh lemon juice, honey and pepper flakes!

Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Snack
Servings: 2 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 large slices thick cut whole wheat levain (or your favorite bread)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 9 ounces halloumi cheese, sliced
  • 1 large avocado
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Toast your bread using whichever method you prefer. 

  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Add the butter and let it melt. Swirl the pan to coat, then add the sliced halloumi. You can do this in a couple of batches if all of the cheese doesn’t fit at once. Grill the halloumi a couple of minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove to a plate while you prepare the rest of the toast.

  3. Spread half of the avocado over each slice of toast, smashing down with a fork if necessary. Squeeze the lemon juice evenly over the avocado, being sure not to lose any seeds. 

  4. Place the grilled halloumi slices over each piece of toast. You may have one or two slices extra, eat these or save them for later use. 

  5. Finish off the toast by drizzling the honey evenly over both pieces of toast and sprinkling on red pepper flakes, based on your spice tolerance. Enjoy immediately.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes

Indulgent AND healthy???

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s my kind of breakfast! And after such an action- (and food-) packed day like yesterday, these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are exactly what we need to get us going on an even tougher Monday morning than usual. You feel me?


We had a great time watching the Super Bowl yesterday, but as we weren’t really cheering for either of the teams, let’s be honest, we really just showed up for the food.  The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying a little break in the rain and getting outside for some beach volleyball, and a fun photo shoot with one of my new clients that I’m doing some social media work for.

We also spent some time recovering from partying all last week at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which is a huge annual event for us thanks to the hubs’ hookup with VIP tickets. Highlights included seeing the world premiere of the film “Charged” (which is amazing, BTW, so inspiring – stay tuned for more on that one) and rubbing elbows with Denzel Washington who was given the Maltin Modern Master Award for his lifetime of achievements both on the stage and in front of the camera. We always have such a blast every year and, although it goes by way too fast, we always find ourselves ready for a good deal of extra shut-eye when all is said and done.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

All the more reason for these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes to come into our lives! I realize I have not yet posted a pancake recipe here on the blog, although if you’ve checked out my eBook, you’ll know that I have a couple of tasty recipes for more standard, “go-to” pancakes. I also realize that we are now officially into the second month of the year, which means most folks are still TRYING to hold onto their New Year’s resolutions but are finding their strength is waning. I mean, how can it not be with all of these Valentine’s ads and displays floating around?

Well, I have good news for you folks! These Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are chock full of superfoods, yet can still easily pass as dessert (or just a not-so-savory breakfast if that’s more your jam.) You know I’m all about that balance, and this recipe is practically the epitome of what I preach.

Oh, and did I mention they’re also gluten-free? I don’t purposely try to avoid gluten in my recipes (sorry for all of my gluten-intolerants out there,) but just as some of my recipes accidentally turn out vegan, some also just HAPPEN to turn out gluten-free. Just be sure to use gluten-free oats in the batter and you’ll be golden!

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Just like the aforementioned oats, most of the ingredients for these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are something you’ll likely have in your pantry already if you’re in any way tuned into the health and fitness world (or just like a damn good smoothie in the morning.) And if you don’t have these ingredients on hand already, have no fear, because our trusty old Amazon is pulling through for you once again. I even did all of the hard work for you:

MACA POWDER
PROTEIN POWDER
CHIA SEEDS

Alright kids, no more excuses. Let’s bust out our fancy blender and get to it. That’s right, I said blender. Because that’s the only thing you’ll need to whip up this recipe, aside from your nonstick skillet or griddle, of course.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Seriously, the process of this pancake batter could not be any easier. Just throw all of the ingredients in the blender, give it a good whir, and you’re ready to pour said batter into your piping hot cooking vessel. Sound easy enough?

Now, we all know that a Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancake’s story can’t stop once it comes off the griddle, because isn’t a pancake breakfast all about the toppings? Yesssirreee. I opted for sliced banana, cacao nibs and high-grade maple syrup for mine, but feel free to use whatever you want! Whipped cream, butter, peanut butter and strawberries are just a few more things that come to mind.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

So there you have it folks! The secret to a healthy, balanced breakfast that still tastes like dessert. Now can we agree that this Monday isn’t going to be all that bad?

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes

These chocolate pancakes are full of healthy superfoods, yet still taste incredibly indulgent. The perfect breakfast for any day of the week!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 9 mini pancakes
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 banana
  • 2 scoops protein powder (vanilla or chocolate flavor will work)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Begin heating a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. 

  2. Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender.

  3. Using a quarter cup measure, scoop pancake batter onto heated pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it gets a nice golden color. 

  4. Remove from pan to a heated plate and continue cooking the rest of the batter.

  5. Top with whatever you prefer! Some ideas are: sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, maple syrup, peanut butter, cacao nibs, shredded coconut and whipped cream. 

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Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com