Pumpkin Kefir Pancakes

Thanks to my sister-in-law, Mary, we have been eating delicious pancakes for years. She uses freshly ground whole wheat flour which tastes so much better in baked goods. I cheat and mix white whole wheat flour with a higher fiber refined white flour to save time. The original recipe calls for buttermilk, but I've been using kefir instead of buttermilk for the last few years. The chocolate chips are fun but not necessary. They do, however, add just enough sweetness to the pancakes that you can skip the real maple syrup as a topping altogether if you want. Greek yogurt on pancakes is delicious while adding protein, sweetness and moistness. Real maple syrup is used in the pancakes as a healthier alternative to sugar and adds flavor that compliments the pumpkin. Skip the pumpkin, cinnamon, and use a straight teaspoon of baking soda instead of a heaping one for regular pancakes. Top them with plain or vanilla yogurt and cooked-down fresh or frozen berries for delicious, healthy pancakes all year round. No one will miss the fake maple syrup that seems to be part of the pancake equation for so many people!
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Ingredients

2 cups white wheat flour or half whole wheat and half white or all freshly ground whole wheat flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 heaping tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon 2 cups plain kefir 2 Tbsp neutral oil like Canola or refined safflower 2 eggs 2 tbsp real maple syrup or raw honey 1 15-oz can pumpkin (1 cup pumpkin plus 3 Tbsp for yogurt topping) 1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional) 1 1/2 cups vanilla or plain Greek yogurt

Directions

1) Mix dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) together in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients together (minus the yogurt) and 3 Tbsp pumpkin. Heat griddle to 300 degrees F. Grease with nonstick spray or coconut oil. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stop mixing when the batter is just barely combined. There should be some lumps. If the batter seems really thick, add a little bit more milk. Pour batter onto hot griddle. Sprinkle chocolate chips onto each pancake soon after you pour the batter.
2) Flip pancakes over when you see the bubbles pop and the holes stay open rather than fill in with more batter. The pancakes should be hole-y!
3) Mix vanilla yogurt with 3 Tbsp of pumpkin. Top the pancakes with pumpkin yogurt and a dab of straight vanilla (or plain sweetened with real maple syrup) yogurt. Serve with warm real maple syrup (optional).