Orange Chocolate Pancakes (Guest Post)
I may not be morning person but I am definitely a breakfast person, as in, I make a mean breakfast.
I make nearly everything: pancakes, chilaquiles, baguette french toast, huevos rancheros, overnight oats, frittatas. (I say nearly everything because while Allison has designated me the breakfast-maker in the house, she refuses to allow me to scramble eggs; they need to be handled a certain way to be delicately fluffy and apparently I stir them too often.)
Every weekend I cook make-ahead breakfasts for the weekday mornings. Every weekend morning I usually start on breakfast before my first sip of coffee. And whenever we have company, the responsibility of breakfast usually falls on me.
I really don’t mind at all; I actually enjoy making breakfast as Allison makes coffee or espresso. Once upon a time the first words out of my mouth in the mornings usually had to do with acquiring coffee while Allison’s first words upon waking up were always about how hungry she was. Our conversations would consist of her saying “I’m hungry” and I would just answer with “COFFEE.”
It shows how our relationship has wonderfully grown when the first thing we do now when we get up it is go to the kitchen and make things for each other — she always gets me caffeinated while I start breakfast. We take care of each other like that.
Lately, by special request, I’ve been making Joy The Baker’s lemon poppy seed pancakes. I love this recipe — it’s so simple and it makes enough to feed 4 people easily. Of course we usually just freeze half the batter and defrost it in time to have the pancakes a second weekend in a row. Also, we never keep buttermilk in our fridge, so we sometimes make buttermilk with milk and lemon. But then we also rarely ever have milk, so in place of milk, I use almond milk and Greek yogurt.
The last time we were eating these pancakes we were discussing items to bring to a potluck or event and I remembered that Allison has an awesome recipe from her friend Rachel for a chocolate mousse that she made for our first New Year’s Eve together. We dipped clementine wedges into it and it was lovely. I requested that she make the chocolate mousse for my birthday a month after that and even though I had the flu (on my birthday!!), I still ate it with clementines.
The flavors of chocolate and orange always remind me of the cold winter months. The tang of the orange compliments and brightens the rich chocolate. It’s a combination that I never thought I would like, but I was so very wrong.
The discussion about what to make for the potluck was quickly forgotten while I daydreamed about chocolate and citrus. When I had taken by next bite of my lemony poppy seed pancake, I realized that this recipe could be easily modified to include chocolate and orange (instead of lemon). So the idea was born.
A few weeks later (pancakes are a rare treat in our home, since they’re so decadent), I started the experiment. Instead of the lemon zest and juice, I used the zest and juice from half an orange. Instead of the buttermilk, I used Greek yogurt and almond milk. I tried it out with four tablespoons of cocoa powder. The pancakes were light and fluffy — perfect with maple syrup.
Even though Allison doesn’t like chocolate cake, she loved these pancakes, and requested that I add even more chocolate and more orange. The final recipe has the zest and juice of a whole orange, and six tablespoons of cocoa for more intense chocolate and orange flavors.
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Orange Chocolate Pancakes
(Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes.)
(Serves 4-5, Makes 14-16 pancakes / batter freezes well; defrost overnight in the fridge)
Active time: 20 minutes; Total time: 25 minutes.
~ 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
~ 1 orange, zested and juiced (juice reserved for step #3)
~ 2 cups all-purpose flour
~ 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
~ 2 tsp. baking powder
~ 1 tsp. baking soda
~ 1 tsp. salt
~ 1¼ cup almond milk (or milk)
~ 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
~ 2 large eggs
~ 2 tsp. vanilla extract
~ 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
~ butter, for frying
~ maple syrup, for serving
~ clementine wedges, for serving
How to make it:
1. In a small bowl, add the orange zest to the sugar. With your fingertips, mix the sugar and the zest to allow the orange oils to saturate the sugar and the aromas to awaken.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking power, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together, then set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk, Greek yogurt, and eggs. Stir in the orange juice, vanilla extract, and melted butter.
4. Add wet ingredients to the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk until ingredients are incorporated and smooth, although it’s okay if there are still some lumps. (Optionally freeze half of the batter in an airtight container for another time; defrost overnight in the fridge.)
5. Heat up the griddle. Once the griddle is hot, add a little butter, then scoop up about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on the top, then flip over once and cook until browned on each side. Serve warm with maple syrup and clementine wedges on the side.
Print this recipe! (PDF)
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