I was doing it before it was cool. (It's fine, I bet you were too.) Now that plenty of scientific evidence has proved that chocolate can provide some health benefits—in moderation, of course—that doesn't seem like such a big deal. But what about chocolate for breakfast? Sure, the Spanish and French aristocracy used to drink it all the time, but a mocha in the morning isn't quite enough for me. Here are some ways you can feed that craving before noon and not feel like a total freak. I promise—you're not alone.
Pain au Chocolat
Pain au chocolat is the classic of classics. The French definitely knew what they were doing when they came up with the best formula ever: flour + butter + chocolate. Easy.
The possibilities are endless in the cereal aisle: Count Chocula, Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Pebbles, Cookie Crisp, Oreo-Os...The list goes on. I'm almost ashamed to admit how much I like Reese's Puffs. And hey, if you can't think of them all, MrBreakfast.com will remind you. You'll probably learn about a few cereals you never knew existed (Crazy Cow, anyone?) in addition to remembering all your favorites. There are quizzes, mascot profiles, videos of old commercials, and other distractions to keep you busy. Who knew there was so much to cereal?
Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Unlike muffins, scones, and other baked goods, which can double as desserts or snacks, pancakes are pretty necessarily a breakfast food. I always have associations of special times with pancakes: weekends when your parents had time to make them, or your birthday, or maybe going out for breakfast. This pancake recipe may just inspire you to whip up a batch of chocolatey, fluffy deliciousness this weekend (but I won't tell anyone if you decide to go with the "Shmisquick").
Crepes are sort of like pancakes. Well, they are pancakes, I guess. But so very different. It seems that crepe shops are popping up all over the place outside of just Paris, but if you don't happen to live near one, they're actually quite easy to make at home, and David Lebovitz has a great tutorial on it. Since you can put whatever you want in a crepe, it doesn't necessarily have to be chocolate—but we all know that Nutella is your best option.
Then there's granola. I know—you're thinking, "oh, granola! The breakfast food that makes everyone say...meh." But not all granolas are created equal. Now that chocolate has been declared "good for you," the health-food companies have jumped on the bandwagon. And I say amen. My two favorites are Early Bird and Baked. There's also a great-looking recipe over at Orangette.
Since I'm running out of space here, what did I miss? Let me know your favorite early-morning chocolate fixes.
About the author: Liz Gutman co-owns the Brooklyn-based candy business Liddabit Sweets, which means she spends a lot of time around chocolate (and a lot of time eating it). She moved to New York in 2001 to go to, wait for it, acting school. But when the acting life wasn't for her, she wound up in the French Culinary Institute's pastry program while working at Roni-Sue's Chocolates in Manhattan's Lower East Side. She befriended Jen King, aka the other half of Liddabit, at FCI and founded Liddabit in May of 2009.