Sunday, 10 February 2013

Caramel covered Chocolate Brownie Pancakes

With pancake day coming up on Tuesday, it's time for pancakes. However, what I really wanted were brownies. And having promised myself a chocolate recipe or two over February, I decided to mix the two.
Et voila! So here we have my chocolate brownie pancakes.

Decadent, moist and cakey, these pancakes are definitely a sweet treat that will be a very occasional indulgence. Incredibly rich, it's actually difficult to overeat these (despite trying! ;) .

As if these didn't taste devishly sinful enough, I made a super quick caramel sauce to drizzle over the top. Although my drizzling may have turned into a complete caramel drenching!

These pancakes contain butter and so if you are completely avoiding dairy then you can omit the butter. I find the butter lends a richer flavour to the pancakes.

They are very fudgey pancakes and so must be cooked over a low heat and flilpped very carefully.

Without further ado, here are my;

Chocolate brownie pancakes
Paleo, Primal, Grain -ree, Naturally gluten-free, refined sugar-free, can be dairy-free; omit butter

Serves 2 / makes 8 pancakes

Ingredients;

25g coconut flour
3 eggs
3 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
25g butter
100ml coconut milk (full fat)
75g dates
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch sea salt

How to make them;

  • Add the dates to a small bowl with a splash of water and the salt
  • Heat in a microwave for a few seconds until soft enough to mash with the back of a spoon until fairly smooth
  • Allow to cool and the add with the butter to a big bowl and use an electric whisk to mix the dates and the butter together
  • Add the eggs, coconut milk, coconut flour, cocoa powder and vanilla essence and whisk together until smooth
  • This should make a thick batter
  • Heat a frying pan over a low heat
  • Add a knob of butter to the frying pan and melt
  • Add a tablespoon of the batter to the frying pan and smooth out slightly until rouhgly round in shape; don't worry if this is not perfectly circular. These are thick, fudgey pancakes and so are not going to be uniform but they will make up for it in taste :)
  • Allow the pancakes to cook over the low heat until cooked on one side and then very carefully use a spatula to flip the pancakes over to cook on the other side
  • Once cooked on both sides, remove from the frying pan and stack up in two stacks of four pancakes

...with a super quick caramel sauce
Paleo, Primal, dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

Makes enough to drizzle over 2 servings of chocolate brownie pancakes

Ingredients;

100ml coconut milk (full fat)
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
pinch of coarse sea salt
(up to) 1 teaspoon coconut flour

How to make the sauce;
  • Add the coconut milk, vanilla essence, salt, coconut flour and palm sugar to a small pan and heat over a low to medium heat
  • Heat gently until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency; this should be a syrup-like consistency
  • Once this is reached, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly
  • Drizzle over the chocolate brownie pancakes and serve
  • Yum! :)

Happy Pancake day for Tuesday everyone! :)

Which pancakes are YOU making for pancake day? Plain and simple? Or pancake extravagance? Are you going to try these chocolate brownie pancakes?
Let me know in the comments :)

Monday, 4 February 2013

Chocolatey facts

So, February has arrived.

It' still cold.

And if your New Years resolutions haven't all gone to ruin then please tell me how you've managed to keep it up! Think I may have been too ambitious with mine this year. On my list I have gems such as learning a language in a, lets say, quite "optimistic" time frame. In fact I did want to learn two, yet fear that I may have just been carried away with the promise of a fresh year to get my hands on.

Other things i have done slightly better with, such as, reading. I promised myself that I would become "well-read." You know those people who manage to recite on que the perfect quotation for a situation or make appropriate references to the classics? Yeah, that's not me... Ever so slightly in awe of them.

So now January has ended and Feburary is upon us, I've decided to get into the swing of things. And I'm giving this blog a good chocolate coating. What better topic for the home month of Valentines day and let's face it... yet another month in which I am no doubt going to be indulging in a fair amount of chocolate.

As is the case with many others, I have a chocolate weakness. It is up there next to ice cream. Honestly, whats better than ice cream? Really, what?!

"But you like to eat healthily and you're talking about eating chocolate?" I hear you cry.
True, I like to eat as healthily as possible. I find limiting my sugar intake helps me and this isn't too difficult when cutting out the majority of highly processed foods.

So where does chocolate fit in?

Unsweetened cocoa is said to have certain health benefits. However, it is important to note that this is UNSWEETENED cocoa.

So what's wrong with standard chocolate bars?

The most common problematic ingredients in chocolate bars are;

Sugar and milk powder; The sugar and milk in regular chocolate bars can take away from the healthy effects of the cocoa. Sugar especially makes up the vast bulk of a great deal of chocolate bars and as it has been said that sugar has immunosuppressive effects and seeing as a great deal of conventional chocolate bars are filled with the stuff, this can't be the greatest health move.

Soy lethicin"One other common source of soy is lecithin which is used as a emulsifier in many foods and supplements. Most lecithin in the US is derived from soy but there are some newer products that extract it from organic sunflower. We switched over to the organic sunflower lecithin a few years ago in all of our products."

Some fun sugar related facts - number 20 is particularly important

So what types of chocolate are there left?

Personally, I've been on the figurative chocolate tour bus trying to figure out where I stand on this issue. The debate between articficial sweeteners, normal refined sugar chocolate to fructose sweetened chocolate. There's quite a wide choice avaliable and I've kept my mind fairly open to the subject. Even now I am not 100% in one camp when it comes to which chocolate may be best in terms of which is the pinnacle of chocolate health perfection. Yet weighing up what I know, my chocolate of choice is dark chocolate. I like to chose a good quality organic dark chocolate with the largest percentage of cocoa that I can still enjoy the chocolatey taste through. This usually hovers around the 70% to 85% mark. Depending on the brand - they all have slightly different tastes. I do still play around with xylitol sweetened chocolate (they taste good and actually give a bit of a minty fresh aftertaste) but they are usually fairly brief encounters as I find the GI side effects unpleasant and it is a fine line to cross before you've had "enough."

I do have occasions, as with most things, where I am faced with, in this case, some really special chocolates. Chocolate is a pleasurable food and while I may keep tabs on the amount I eat and definitely the quality, you can bet I am not going to miss out for a genuinely special one off.

What type of chocolate do you eat? Do you find artificially sweetened chocolates work for you or do you prefer a natural sweetener? Or is chocolate more about enjoyment and for the occasional treat, quality can take a backseat?

Is chocolate one of your vices or does your heart belong to another, such as my unreciprocated love affair with ice cream?

Let me know you're chocolatey thoughts in the comments! x