Finding Breakfast: Chocolate Ombré Pancakes
words & photography by Rachel Jane of Two Loves Studio
'All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.'
- John Gunther
Breakfast has long been lost for me. Not because it is a meal that I skip, or that we weren't introduced, but rather never really having the time to really get to know it. Nor enjoying the foods that particularly define it.
Food has long been much more than just fuel. It surrounds all our best memories and accompanies all of life's celebrations, yet breakfast is rarely part of those celebrations. It is a meal really bound by the ideal of fuel for the day, but what if it was celebrated? What if it were explored more than a seemingly common ritual of fast and healthy with a side of eggs? What if we had the time to indulge in it?
Happiness is a freshly flipped pancake and there is nothing quite as satisfying than finding the knack for making a perfect pancake to share with family and friends, and the only thing sweeter than that is pairing it with chocolate.
Chocolate Ombré Pancakes
Makes approx. 12 pancakes
3 cups self raising flour, levelled 3 cups milk, 3 eggs ,Generous pinch of salt
250g good quality dark chocolate 85%, melted
1 cup milk, additional
Butter for frying
Small handful of mint, garnish Blueberries, Honey or Maple Syrup Powered sugar *optional
To melt the chocolate, use a water bath over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Make sure the water is not touching the bowl. Whilst the chocolate is melting, make the pancake mixture.
In a large bowl add the 3 cups flour, 3 cups milk, 3 eggs & salt and whisk until smooth and combined.
Have 3 additional bowls on hand to split up the mixture for colouring with chocolate.
Dark chocolate layer: Pour 1 cup of pancake mix into the 1st bowl. Add ½ cup of melted dark chocolate and ½ cup + 4 tablespoons of the additional milk into the bowl with the first pancake mixture. Mix together until it once again resembles pancake mixture. (At first it will start out thick and clumpy, but keep stirring and it will make its way back to pancake mixture).
Chocolate layer: Pour 1 ¼ cup of pancake mix into the 2nd bowl. Add ¼ cup of melted dark chocolate and ¼ cup of the additional milk into the bowl with the second pancake mixture. Mix together until it once again resembles pancake mixture.
Light chocolate layer: Pour 1 ½ cups of pancake mix into the 3rd bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of melted dark chocolate and mix together until combined.
White layer: There should be 1 ½ cups of pancake mix left in the bowl for the top layer.
Preheat the oven to low to keep your pancakes in whilst you finish the pancakes for your stack.
To save time, have two fry pans on the go.
Start with the darkest chocolate and chocolate layers first. The key to ombre pancakes is to cook them on a low to medium heat. This will ensure they cook slowly and evenly in colour. If the heat is too high, parts of the pancake will cook faster and brown or burn, changing the colour. Slow and steady wins the race. Make yourself a cup of tea of coffee and enjoy the process!
Have a stick of butter ready and put a small amount of butter into the pan before you pour the mixture into the pan every time.
Start with the dark and chocolate layers first. Cook them on a very low to low heat to ensure the mixture cooks instead of the chocolate burning. With these two layers, the pancakes won't bubble like normal pancakes. The top will stay shiny. When you notice a few bubbles on the outside of the pancake and the top becomes quite shiny, it is most likely ready to flip. Test the sides on the pancake to make sure they are sturdy before you flip them.
Pour approx. ¼ cup pancake mix into the frypan and cook on the first side for about 3 minutes. Once you notice the bubbles around the outside, the top looks shiny and the sides are sturdy enough to flip, get your egg flip underneath and flip. Cook the other side for less than 2 minutes or until firm.
Continue to make the pancakes until you're out of mixture. You should get 4 pancakes out of every bowl and colour.
After making the first two darker layers, start to make the light coloured layers. Make sure there is no residual chocolate pancake mix left in the pan to discolour the next layers of pancake. As these layers are lighter, try to use a small amount of butter so as to not make the pancakes too yellow.
Over a low to medium heat, continue to add approx. ¼ cup of pancake mix to the frypan with butter in between pancakes. Cook on the first side for 3 minutes. These lighter pancakes will bubble more like regular pancakes when ready to flip. Flip once sturdy and bubbles have appeared. Cook on the other side for less than 2 minutes or until firm.
As you make each pancake, keep them in a baking tray with foil covering the pancakes to make sure they stay warm and don’t dry out.
Continue to make the pancakes until your out of mixture. You should get 4 pancakes out of every bowl and colour.
Once all pancakes are cooked, assemble in colour order; 4 dark chocolate pancakes, 4 chocolate pancakes, 4 light chocolate pancakes, 4 pancakes.
Bring to the table garnished with mint and blueberries, icing sugar if you desire and serve with honey and maple syrup to taste.