Today was a happy day in the brunch kitchen, but it occurs to me that I probably say that every week. So be it! Brunch is the happy-making time.
The reason today was a happy brunch day is threefold: 1) pancakes, which are super easy to make and hella yum, 2) Mike and I made and ate them at the same time, and 3) chocolate and orange. I’ll leave it at that, because you know how awesome the combo is.
These orange chocolate pancakes involve an extra step from most pancake recipes, but it’s a super-easy step that’ll take 2 minutes of effort. It involves zesting an orange and letting it mingle with maple syrup overnight. In the morning you strain it out, and you’re left with this bright and orangey maple flava, which, combined with the zest in the batter, gives the whole ensemble a really nice overall orange effect. You could use regular chocolate chips just as well as dark chocolate chunks, but I think orange loves dark chocolate best.
Orange Dark Chocolate Pancakes
1 cup flour (I used whole spelt, Mike used all purpose)
2.2 ounces dark chocolate (50 grams), chopped small
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup non-dairy milk (up to 1/4 cup more liquid if using whole wheat flour)
Finely grated orange zest from 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons sweetener (agave, maple, granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons neutral oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A little neutral oil, for frying
Orange segments, for serving
For the orange-maple syrup:
Orange zest from 1 orange, about 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup maple syrup
1. For the orange-maple syrup: Combine ingredients in a small bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Prior to use, strain out the orange zest.
2. For the pancakes: Combine the dry ingredients – flour, dark chocolate, baking powder and salt. Add the milk, orange zest, sweetener and oil and stir just to combine – you don’t want to overmix this.
3. Heat a little oil in a nice non-stick pan over medium-low heat, and pour your pancake batter into shapes and sizes you desire. You know they’re ready to flip when the underside lifts easily from the pan and little air bubbles cover the surface of the pancake. Cook until both sides are golden brown.
Serve with a pat of vegan butter (optional!), orange-maple syrup and orange segments – bonus points if you’ve got a blood orange. Feel virtuous for including a fruit into your brunch.
Pancake tip #1: Soup ladles make excellent pancake pouring devices if you want nice, evenly-sized pancakes. Measuring cups are also good.
Pancake tip #2: Your pancake batter should be pourable. You want it to pour into the pan and spread on its own, but still maintain some shape (if it spreads across the pan with no resistance, you’ve basically got yourself a crepe).
These pancakes might be one of my favorite brunch creations yet. Mike and I declared that if we had a breakfast diner, these would be a staple menu item. (Though don’t expect this any time soon – we need to get rich and famous first).
Mike and I made the exact same recipe – the only difference was our choice of flours (I used whole spelt and he used all purpose), and our methods of plating. I love the idea of serving the maple syrup in a shot glass!
Mike: So my picture is the one shown above, same idea, same recipe! These were probably my favorite pancakes of life. They were fluffy without being insubstantial, and they weren’t so dense as to keep me from eating four of them. The orange-maple syrup was probably my favorite part of the dish. It took on a lot of orange flavor overnight and was definitely worth the two minutes to throw it together. Adding a half ounce of bourbon to the syrup before letting it sit overnight would have given it a little kick while also pulling out even more orange flavor from the zest. I think Allysia and I are both excited to experiment with different syrup and sauce infusions in the future. This one was pretty simple, but who knows where it will go next?
We wish you many of your own happy brunches. See ya!