Happy New Year all! After a lovely nearly month-long break I am back with another recipe – and, let me tell you, if these chocolate brownie pancakes don’t make your 2021 breakfasts something to look forward to, then I don’t know what will.
Perfectly crispy edges, dense but light chocolatey texture inside and if you drizzle (or drench, like my kids) them in maple syrup and serve with some berries (we used our homegrown loganberries), I can guarantee this will be your New Year weekend breakfast perfection.
But aren’t brownie pancakes bad for you?
Well, to put it diplomatically, it all depends. It depends on what ingredients you use to make the pancakes, how you dress them and what you serve with them, right?
In this version, I have chosen to use the following healthier ingredients which make these brownie pancakes dairy and refined sugar free as well as more nutritious than your usual pancakes. Check this out:
Wholemeal flour and wholemeal spelt flour
One of the main differences between wholemeal (or whole wheat) and white flour is the fiber content. Wholemeal flour naturally has the level of fiber found in wheat, while white flour has had most of the fiber removed from it during processing. Fiber is an important part of your diet, as it prevents constipation, helps control blood sugar, helps prevent heart disease, and may even assists in weight-loss management. Wholemeal flour is also rich in vitamins B-1, B-3, and B-5, along with riboflavin and folate. It also has more iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour. Source: The Spruce Eats
Spelt is an ancient grain which is nutritionally very similar to wheat. However, comparisons have shown it to be slightly higher in zinc and protein. It is also rich in manganese, phosphorous, vitamin B3, magnesium and iron. Source: Healthline
Cacao is an excellent source of several minerals, including iron, selenium, magnesium, chromium and manganese. It’s also low in calories, high in fiber and should have no added sugar (check the list of ingredients when buying to make sure). Also, a note on the terminology – cacao powder contains more fibre and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean are still intact (but the terminology sometimes varies so check the packaging).
Plant based milk
I have been using macadamia milk (as I am in love with this barista macadamia milk which is smooth and creamy with just the right level of macadamia taste). I like to use plant based milks as they are dairy free, and so easier on the tummy and still delicious. as well as being more nutritious than cow milk – for example, macadamia milk is richer in calcium and vitamins D and B12. Source: Healthline. However, feel free to use other dairy-free alternatives (such as coconut milk which will also make these nut free) or, if you don’t need these brownie pancakes to be dairy-free, cow milk should work just fine as well.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinger has various healthful properties including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. It may also aid in weight loss, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving the symptoms of diabetes. And let’s not forget, it’s great for your skin (as the fermentation process creates a compound in the vinegar called acetic acid, which is well known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties), so having a spoonful every now and then is a great idea. Source: Healthline
These brownie pancakes are sweetened by maple syrup rather than white sugar, making them richer in minerals such as zinc and manganese. But beware, maple syrup will still raise your blood sugar fairly significantly (though its glycemic index is slightly lower – around 54 as compared to white sugar which has a glycemic index of around 65). That means, use it in moderation – both in the pancakes and when drizzling (in particular, a little friendly tip here – if your kids are holding the little pot full of maple syrup, whatever you do, don’t look away).
If you swap out the flours for gluten free options, you can also make these gluten/wheat free.
If you swap out the macadamia milk for coconut milk, for example, you can make these nut free and suitable for kids’ school lunch boxes. (Because they would make for a lovely treat cold, cut up into quarters and perhaps accompanied by a little pot of homemade jam? Just sayin’.)
Chocolate brownie pancakes [refined sugar and dairy free]
- 100 g wholemeal spelt flour
- 85 g wholemeal flour
- 3 heaped tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 3/4 cup plant based milk (I use macadamia milk but try coconut milk if you want nut free pancakes, or use cow milk if dairy free is not a concern)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- maple syrup, for drizzling
- berries or other soft fruit, diced if required (mango would be beautiful here)
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
- Whisk the wet ingredients together in another small bowl or a measuring cup.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until well combined.
- Make pancakes, whether in a pancake maker like we do or in a pan over a little bit of melted coconut oil.
- Drizzle with some maple syrup and serve with your favourite berries.
I would say this recipe serves about 4 for breakfast. My kids can only manage 2 of these pancakes max and I would say the adults would get maybe 3 or 4 each, depending how big you make these.
We use the Tefal snack maker with pancake plates which is how we can make them so nice and even. The plates also help with keeping these guys nice and thick inside so you get the gooeyness and the crispy crust.
Try and vary the toppings. based on what fruit you have at home. As I said above, diced mango or other soft fruits in season like peaches, apricots, nectarines or even bananas would be fantastic, if you don’t have berries.
This recipe is based on a fabulous recipe for chocolate pancakes found in the Australian Women’s Weekly #Veganlife cookbook which is an absolute cracker!