These sumptuous chocolate pancakes are just the thing to elicit oohs and ahhs: fragrant with cocoa, studded with melted chocolate chips, drizzled with a ruby-red raspberry sauce and dusted with confectioners' sugar. But while they are decadent-tasting and -looking - definitely a special-occasion kind of thing - they are more healthful than you might think.
The two kinds of chocolate they contain - cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate chips - offer big flavor and antioxidant power but relatively little fat and sugar. (I use natural cocoa powder rather than Dutched because the Dutching process strips cocoa of its antioxidants.) A little brown sugar brings out the chocolates' fudginess without making the pancakes overly sweet.
Instead of white flour, I use a mix of whole-grain pastry flour, which is made from an especially soft and tender wheat variety, and almond meal, which adds texture, a mildly nutty flavor and extra protein. You can buy almond meal ready to use, or you can make it yourself by whirring almonds in a food processor until they are finely ground.
The sauce is simply raspberries, heated with a touch of light brown sugar until they break down, then pureed and strained. It adds a colorful, bright-tasting counterpoint to the deeply flavorful pancakes and is a less-sweet alternative to syrup.
In all, there is less than a tablespoon of added sugar per serving and lots of good nutrition in these pancakes, but that can be your secret to keep if you prefer, as you relish how much your loved one(s) enjoys them.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PANCAKES WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE
SERVINGS: 6 (makes twelve 4 1/2-inch pancakes)
MAKE AHEAD: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days
For the sauce
• 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
• 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon water
For the pancakes
• 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
• 1/2 cup almond meal or finely ground almonds
• 2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
• 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup low-fat milk (1 percent)
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for the pan
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup dark (bittersweet) mini chocolate chips (may substitute finely chopped dark chocolate)
• 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar, for garnish
• 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, for garnish
For the sauce: Combine the berries, light brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until most of the berries have lost their shape. Transfer to a blender; remove the center knob in the lid so steam can escape. Place a paper towel over the top to avoid splash-ups; puree until smooth, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer. If you're serving the sauce right away, transfer to a bowl; if not, pour into an airtight container and refrigerate (for up to 4 days).
For the pancakes: Whisk together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, light brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat together the milk, eggs, the tablespoon of oil and the vanilla extract in a large liquid measuring cup, then pour that mixture into the flour mixture, stirring to incorporate. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Brush a large nonstick griddle or skillet with a little oil and heat it over medium heat.
Working in batches of two or three, ladle a scant 1/4 cup of the batter (per pancake) onto the hot griddle or skillet. Cook for 11/2 to 2 minutes or until the pancakes begin to look dry and bubbly around the edges, then flip and cook for about 11/2 minutes on the second side; some of the mini chips will be melted and should look set. Stack on a plate and cover loose-ly to keep warm while you repeat to use all the batter, adding a bit of oil as needed for subsequent batches.
To serve, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the raspberry sauce on each plate. Top with 2 pancakes and garnish with a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar and some fresh raspberries.
Nutrition | Per serving: 350 calories, 10 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 19 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 7 g dietary fiber, 20 g sugar