My most popular recipe with the 10 and under set in my family is Chocolate Buckwheat Pancakes. They’re delicious and nutritious, but I don’t always have all the ingredients on hand, and I’m guessing you don’t either. When that happens, I just adjust the recipe to use more common ingredients, creating Chocolate Pancakes that are just as big a hit with all the Little Misses.
Chocolate Pancakes: Hold the Fancy Ingredients
My Chocolate Buckwheat Pancakes are a huge hit with my granddaughters. At every sleepover and family brunch (and it’s been a year now since we’ve had either, due to the pandemic) they clamour for pancakes for breakfast. They’re a great treat for the girls, but also nutritious. However, the recipe includes some ingredients that I don’t always have on hand, and you might not either:
- Buckwheat flour
- Spelt flour
- Cacao (not cocoa) powder
- Coconut sugar
When any of these items are missing from my pantry, I just make substitutions. It’s occurred to me that you might prefer to the see the recipe using more “regular” ingredients, and that’s provided below. Here are some substitution ideas:
- Instead of buckwheat flour, use whole wheat or all-purpose flour (preferably unbleached to avoid an unnecessary refinement)
- In place of spelt, use all-purpose flour (so yes, this means I sometimes make the pancakes entirely with all-purpose flour)
- If cacao powder isn’t in your pantry, use unsweetened cocoa powder (still nutritious, but somewhat less so than the cacao)
- For the coconut sugar, you can substitute cane sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar or regular white sugar
As you can see, many permutations and combinations of ingredients are possible, and you’ll still end up with a tasty chocolate (but not too chocolatey) pancake.
Other Chocolate Pancake Enhancements
Remember, you’ll be serving these pancakes with maple syrup (ideally) or another syrup of your choice. The sweetness enhances the chocolate. In fact, the first time I served them to my oldest granddaughter, she announced that the combination of the chocolate in the pancake and maple syrup tasted like a chocolate glazed doughnut. They’re nowhere near as sweet, but I saw no reason to discourage her assessment.
I know people often assume that chocolate pancakes means a plain pancake batter laced with chocolate chips. For me, chocolate chips would add too much sweetness, and detract from my original intent of creating a nutritious pancake. But hey, certain occasions call for some over-the-top flair, right?
I’ve never added any “extras” to the batter, though I often serve the pancakes with fresh or frozen berries. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries all work well. If you really want to fancy up these pancakes, though, here are some ideas for additions to the batter:
- Chopped walnuts
- Shredded coconut
- Sliced bananas
- Chocolate chips
Let me know in the comments what other treats you might add to your chocolate pancakes!
Pancake Party Fun
I wasn’t expecting my chocolate pancakes to become such a hit among my five Little Misses. As you can see from the photos, we often make them together. All of the girls have had a chance to make pancakes with me except for the youngest, Little Miss K, who was not quite two when we went into our first pandemic lockdown last year. I look forward to the day when we get our turn together.
Making pancakes is a good way to teach the girls cooking skills with lessons about cooking safety slipped in. The photos above show Little Miss M mixing pancake batter at age four, and then practicing her flipping skills with my guidance just before she turned five.
Three of the girls and I even had a pancake party following a sleepover one day. We decorated the night before, raiding my party supply stash for pink plates and cups, baby shower napkins, little bunny candles, and a birthday banner that we pretended said Pancake Party. There was great excitement the morning of our party and much fun was had.
Other Ways of Spreading Pancake Joy
When I can’t have my family over for pancakes, I can give them their own copy of the recipe. Or, even better, sometimes I give them kits of all the dry ingredients (on the right in the second photo above) along with either instructions for adding the wet ingredients or the recipe card.
Let’s keep spreading the pancake joy, people!
It’s Time to Make Chocolate Pancakes
This recipe uses ingredients more likely to be in your pantry than my original Chocolate Buckwheat Pancakes. Subtly chocolatey, both are huge hits with my family.
- 1 cup flour (all-purpose, preferably unbleached)
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt (I use kosher salt, but a small pinch of table salt will work too)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 2 tbsp sugar (e.g, white, brown, cane, maple, coconut)
- 2 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil (plus more for the pan)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 to 1-1/4 cups milk (dairy or the unflavoured/unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice)
Stir the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Whisk the wet ingredients (yes, this incudes the sugar!) in a bowl or measuring cup until well blended. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth. Let it sit and thicken for at least 5 minutes before making the pancakes.
Drizzle some of the oil in a pan or on your griddle (the amount of oil will depend on whether it has a non-stick or other finish) and heat the pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add either 1/4 or 1/3 cup measures of batter, depending on the size and number of pancakes you want. You may need to reduce the heat. When bubbles are breaking through th esurface, flip the pancakes over and let cook about 30 seconds or longer, until cooked through. Stack and keep the cooked pancakes warm whie you finish making the batch.
To serve, spread the pancakes with room temperature butter and pour maple syrup over each stack. A few berries on the side are always welcome too.
Looking for More Options for Your Pancake Party?
There are lots of pancake options to choose from here at Urban Cottage Life, starting with my Basic Healthful Pancakes that I created about 30 years ago when my children were young. For something a little different, how about Cornmeal Raspberry Pancakes? (Now there’s a post that’s in serious need of updating.) And if you’re feeling in the mood for something fancier, how about Caramelized Apple Sour Cream Pancakes? Mmm, one of my favourites.