Have you ever wondered what the breakfast choice would be for youngsters if there were no cereal in the kitchen pantry? Would they panic or welcome a change?

I sometimes wonder what youngsters would think if you told them there was coffee cake for breakfast. Perhaps some would imagine a cake made with coffee. The following Apple Bran Coffeecake would add cereal in a new way and perhaps would become a favorite breakfast treat.

Of course, most kids like pancakes, so Mini Banana Pancakes served with peanut butter syrup (mentioned in an earlier column) would be a good choice. There’s no cereal in these pancakes, but they’ll delight the palates of young and old alike.

I realize some home chefs do not like to use convenience products, but when youngsters are beginning to help cook, I think it is OK to start them with a mix or other convenience product to simply learn the basic directions of baking. When I was writing my cookbook “A Treasury of Southern Baking,” published by Harper/Collins, I kept this in mind and included a short area for “easy baking” after each chapter.

We all should realize that it is important to teach youngsters that there can be more for breakfast than just a bowl of cereal with milk.

MINI BANANA PANCAKES

2 cups biscuit mix (like Bisquik)

2 eggs

1/2 cup chocolate milk

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

Combine all ingredients and mix well with a fork. Heat an electric skillet to 350 degrees. Lightly brush the cooking surface with oil. Use about 2 tablespoons of the batter for each small pancake. Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes. Flip over and cook until other side is lightly browned. Makes about 20 to 24 small pancakes.

EASY PEANUT BUTTER SYRUP

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup peanut butter

Combine the two ingredients and mix until well blended.

NOTE: My grandson, Mitchell, likes to dip fresh apple slices in this peanut butter syrup.

APPLE BRAN COFFEE CAKE

1/2 cup All-Bran

1 cup butterscotch morsels

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup sour cream

1 cup peeled and grated red delicious apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan. In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, combine cereal and butterscotch morsels. Process until mixture is fine but not powdery. Remove blade and stir in pecans. Reserve 3/4 cup of this mixture and set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, eggs, butter and sour cream. Stir in apples and the cereal mix (except the reserved mix). Pour batter in the pan and sprinkle reserved bran mixture over top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into coffee cake. Cool about 10 minutes on rack. Drizzle with glaze.

Glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients and mix until well blended. Drizzle over coffee cake.

Prudence Hilburn of Piedmont has won more than 30 national cooking awards and written several cookbooks, including, “Simply Southern and More.” Write her at prudencehilburn@aol.com or visit www.prudencehilburn.com.