Why It Works
- Mixing the batter as little as possible limits gluten development, keeping the pancakes tender and moist.
- Making chocolate ganache sauce with milk rather than cream keeps the pancakes from being too rich.
Chocolate for breakfast? Pancakes for dessert? I say: Why not! I've never subscribed to the notion of attaching specific foods to specific meals. I'll eat anything, any time of the day.
I used to completely appall my grandmother when she stayed at my house when I was growing up. She would stand there in shock as she watched me toss a few slices of cold and congealed, pepperoni pizza into the toaster oven for breakfast. Was I doing something wrong? These days, my husband will sort of smirk and roll his eyes if I say that I'm happy to just scramble up a few eggs for dinner. "So that's really what you're going to have for your main meal—eggs?" Yes.
Enter: chocolate pancakes with chocolate sauce.
This dish first caught my eye because it was chocolate, second because I couldn't make sense of it. It wouldn't fit into a neat little category like other "breakfast" or "dessert" dishes do. Even though we can heartily accept chocolate-stuffed croissants for breakfast, and Belgian waffles for dessert, some prim and proper eaters may think: When on earth are you supposed to eat a chocolate griddlecake?
Perhaps, my serious eaters, I don't have to tell you at all—the answer is whenever you want. If you whip up chocolate pancakes for your kids' breakfast, well, you'll be the hippest parent ever. Or serve them for dessert: Warm chocolate flapjacks are comforting, gooey, creative, and unexpected.
These chocolate pancakes stay nice and light because they're flavored with cocoa powder, not melted chocolate (which would have weighed them down). A bit more sugar than the usual pancake is used in this batter to balance the deep bitter taste of unsweetened cocoa.
When mixing, as with all pancake batters, go gentle. A lumpy, quick stir is what you want for a tender hotcake. For the sauce? Instead of a chocolate syrup (which I found too sweet), I stick with a chocolate ganache... but I lighten it up with milk. The result is intense chocolate flavor with good enough body to slick over the warm cakes, but without the obscene fatty richness of cream. That said, I still like to add a pat of butter (or two) in between the warm layers.
For the Chocolate Pancakes:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (see notes)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing pan and buttering pancakes
3/4 cup whole milk
For the Chocolate Sauce (see note):
1/2 cup whole milk
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, melted butter, and milk. Pour liquid ingredients into dry and gently mix until batter is just moistened (there will be some lumps). Do not overmix the batter.
Melt small piece of butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Drop 2 heaping tablespoons batter in hot skillet and spread into 2 1/2-inch disc. Space discs 2 inches apart. Cook until bubbles form over entire top, about 30 seconds. Using a nonstick spatula, carefully flip pancake and continue to cook until done, 15 to 30 seconds more.
In a small saucepan, heat milk to just simmering. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Serve over pancakes.
Maple syrup or raspberry preserves are good substitutes for the chocolate sauce.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 8g||10%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||21%|
|Total Carbohydrate 22g||8%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 11g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|