Cherry Chocolate Pancakes
I think that most people have what I like to call a magic food. By magic food, I mean that they can consume basically as much as is set in front of them, within reason. I have a few of these types of foods, but probably my number 1 is ice cream. I can eat a whole quart of ice cream and be like, “What?” Sometimes I will get a bowl of what I imagine to be a normal serving of ice cream and Betsy will just stare at me – dumbstruck.
One of my absolute favorite flavors of ice cream is the Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. I mean that stuff is like crack to me. Except I don’t think I could ever OD. I think I could eat it until my stomach exploded a la Se7en. If you don’t know what Cherry Garcia is it is basically vanilla ice cream with large chunks of dried cherries and chocolate.
Last weekend I was scrounging for something for breakfast and realized that I had all of the necessary ingredients to make pancakes. I also happened to have some cherries and some chocolate laying around, so I thought I would try making a pancake that tasted like my favorite ice cream.
My idea was a good one! These pancakes were moist and fluffy and had large chunks of cherry and melted chocolate throughout. They were super-rich, but they were delicious. Turns out pancakes are not one of my magic foods. In fact, I only made it through about 1/2 of this dish before calling it quits. They were that rich.
Cherry Chocolate Pancakes
Yield: Serves 3-4.
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
3 Tablespoons melted butter
20 (apprx.) cherries, pitted and quartered
4-6 ounces milk chocolate, crumbled or just buy chocolate chips. You could use dark chocolate also I think.
1 Cup whipping cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
1) Whip the whipping cream ingredients to make a fresh whip cream. Refrigerate upon completion.
2) Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and then whisk in the wet ingredients which you should mix together separately.
3) Let pancake batter rest for 10-15 minutes in the fridge. Prep the cherries and chocolate.
4) Heat up some butter or oil in the pan or on the griddle over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add a few tablespoons of batter and cook a small pancake. The batter should spread out evenly. If it stays in one spot, the batter is too thick and you need to add more milk. If it runs all over the pan, it is too thin and you need to whisk in some more flour.
5) Pour the pancake (1/3 cup), and then after it has been cooking for 2 minutes (it will start to set up), sprinkle cherries and chocolate on top.
6) When you start to see good sized bubbles forming on the surface of the batter, the edges around the pancake start to firm up and you’ll be able to easily maneuver a spatula under it, flip the pancake.
7) The first side will need probably 4-5 minutes and the second side will only need one or two minutes.
8) Top with a little whipped cream and syrup and you are in heaven.
Pancake recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.
Before we even get to the pancakes though, let’s discuss something that I think is essential to pancake heaven: fresh whipped cream. Everybody always seems impressed by it, but it isn’t that hard. This is the basic formula I use:
There is also this fear that it takes forever to make. In fact, once you get the hang of it, it takes no time at all. In fact, I think it is faster with a normal whisk than with an electric mixer.
So, I timed myself. Under a minute flat.
If you aren’t willing to spend one minute to make heaven in a bowl, then to you, Sir/Madam, I bid good day.
There are a lot of different pancake recipes out there, but this is the recipe I’ve used the last few times I’ve made pancakes and loved it.
This recipe is great, but I had a quandary. I didn’t have any buttermilk and the corner store was out. So I did some research and read that you can approximate buttermilk by adding a few Tablespoons of lemon juice to a cup of milk and letting it sit for 10 minutes.
Note I say approximate, but this doesn’t actually make buttermilk. I tried it and it only sort of worked. It just tasted like milk with lemon juice in it. It didn’t have that signature tang that actual buttermilk has.
Anyway, combine all your dry ingredients in a bowl and then whisk in your wet ingredients which you should mix together separately.
I also let my pancake batter rest for 10-15 minutes in the fridge to let some of the flour absorb the moisture a bit. You could make them right away though if you were in a rush or something.
For me, this gave me time to prep my cherries:
And my chocolate:
You want everything ready when you start making these guys.
Before you start cooking the real deal, I always like to do a pancake test. Heat up some butter or oil in your pan or on your griddle over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add a few Tablespoons of batter and cook a small pancake. The batter should spread out evenly. If it stays in one spot, your batter is too thick and you need to add more milk. If it runs all over your pan, it is too thin and you need to whisk in some more flour.
Once you are happy with the batter, it’s time to make the real deal. I like to use a bit of butter to cook my pancakes, but you could use oil also. Just use a little bit to lube the pan up.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to pancakes with stuff. First, is to mix all the things into the batter and then pour the batter onto the griddle. This works fine as long as you remember to stir your batter before each pancake because the goods will sink to the bottom.
I prefer to pour my pancake, and then after it has been cooking for 2 minutes (it will start to set up), then I sprinkle in my ingredients. This allows for an even distribution of awesome.
There are two sure-fire ways to know when you need to flip your pancake. First, you will start to see good sized bubbles forming on the surface of your batter. This means that the center of your pancake is pretty much cooked. Second, the edges around your pancake will start to firm up and you’ll be able to easily maneuver a spatula under it.
Then the flip!
Now, the second side doesn’t need as long to cook. The first side will need probably 4-5 minutes and the second side will only need one or two minutes. Keep a close eye on it! It will burn quickly.
In fact, if I were to make this again (and I will because it was delicious), I think I would try mixing the chocolate chips into the batter before baking. The way I did it worked okay, but I had to keep a close eye on the pancakes after the flip because when I flipped them, the chocolate came into instant contact with the hot griddle and they would burn pretty quickly. I lost one pancake soldier due to this…
I think if I mixed in the chocolate before, it would maybe not be so bad because there would be a small layer of batter between the chocolate and the hot pan. The cherries worked great though and you can sprinkle those right on top to assure even distribution.
These are kind of a surprise because from the top you can’t notice any cherry or chocolate. All of the goodness is on the underside or inside.
Then you cut them open and BAM:
I was totally going to call these Cherry Garcia pancakes but I was afraid that the Ben & Jerry’s lawyers would be knocking on my door. What? You don’t think hippies have lawyers?! They most certainly do.
Regardless of what you call them though, these pancakes were everything I hoped they would be. Top with a little whipped cream and syrup and you are in heaven.
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