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.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore and is currently at work constructing her new blog, "ShopHouseCook".