Cast Iron

Olive Oil Pancakes with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt

April 12, 2012
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Amanda's chocolate toast (baguette + dark chocolate + olive oil + sea salt) easily makes the top five list of my favorite flavor combinations. Whenever the stars align and i have extra good bread and chocolate in the house, that aren't destined for some other end, I make myself a few pieces of that wonderful toast. These pancakes were inspired by Amanda's chocolate toast, and I think the combination is just as wonderful in pancake form. I used Cook's Illustrated's Light and Fluffy Pancake batter as a jumping off point, swapping the melted butter for olive oil and subbing buttermilk, but then I added a few tricks borrowed from Aretha Frankenstein's brilliant (genius!) waffle recipe- I replaced 1/4 of the flour with cornstarch and let the batter rest for 30 minutes before cooking. Finally, in order to enhance the crispy edges I had achieved by adding the cornstarch, I fried each pancakes in a couple of tablespoons of canola oil (I did a side-by-side comparison of olive oil-fried and canola oil-fried pancakes, and preferred the canola), just like my friend Molly's mom would do when she made us chocolate chip pancakes in high school. —arielleclementine

Test Kitchen Notes

The olive oil, salt and chocolate combo really is a good one. And these super easy, fluffy pancakes are a great backdrop for it. The recipe is a good buttermilk pancake batter on its own before you add chocolate and salt. With the resting and the starch they are quite tender. The orange zest and drizzle of olive oil work nicely, but I have to admit that syrup was good too. To avoid burning the chocolate when you flip, add a spoonful of batter on top of the chocolate bits. —Stephanie Bourgeois

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes 10 to 12 six-inch pancakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, for frying, plus more as needed
  • 1 bar of your favorite dark chocolate (appx 4 oz), chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon flaky sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil, Spanish if you've got it, for serving, plus more as needed
  • 1 orange, zest of, for serving (thanks to aargersi for the idea!)
In This Recipe
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the beaten egg. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk a few times, so that the items are just combined, but some lumps remain. Allow the batter to rest 30 minutes if you've got the time.
  2. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron if you've got it) over medium-low heat. Add a couple tablespoons of canola oil and heat until shimmery. Pour 1/2 cup of batter into the center of the pan and immediately scatter a generous tablespoon of chocolate chunks over the pancake, then top that with a small pinch of flaky sea salt, trying not to crush the flakes, if possible. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until hollow bubbles appear around the top of the pancake and the edge looks good and crispy. Flip, and cook about 1 minute more, or until the bottom is evenly browned. Repeat this step, one pancake at a time, adding more oil as necessary, until all the batter has been used.
  3. Serve the pancakes with a drizzle of good olive oil instead of butter and syrup (sounds weird but it works!) and some freshly grated orange zest. Yay pancakes!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Zixin Cherry Hong
    Zixin Cherry Hong
  • Ashley Marie
    Ashley Marie
  • Camille Fajbat
    Camille Fajbat
  • SunBunny
  • candaceb
I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).

36 Reviews

Zixin C. April 4, 2014
Love the recipe! It was so delicious, thank you very much. <3 and, as you could probably imagine, lemon zest works just as beautifully with a different sort of fragrant kick. ;)
Tracey M. December 28, 2013
Made these pancakes Christmas morning and everyone them! The olive oil drizzle is a wonderful idea. Will include the orange zest next time (which will probably be tomorrow!).
Ashley M. December 15, 2013
Made these this morning - No buttermilk so I used the whole milk-vinegar trick and it worked beautifully. LOVED drizzling with EVOO instead of butter and syrup - they were so rich I can't imagine putting syrup on them!!
Camille F. October 12, 2013
Hi! I only have this generic powdered buttermilk lying around. I don't even know how to use it and have found lots of people online saying that powdered buttermilk cannot be used as is or diluted with water when it comes to baking and stuff like that. Can you tell me how to use the powdered buttermilk so I can make this glorious glorious pancake recipe? Thank you so much.
Gloria P. November 2, 2015
there must be something on the box that tells you had to make it a liquid ie: water + buttermilk mix
SunBunny October 6, 2013
Thanks for turning my wheels Arielle. Great recipe.
DianeS May 13, 2013
My husband and son made these for me (and themselves, of course!) for Mother's Day. How much more fabulous and decadent could a breakfast be? Orange zest was a great addition. Some used maple syrup, which was also good.
Author Comment
arielleclementine May 13, 2013
how wonderful! i'm thrilled you enjoyed them! happy mother's day :)
candaceb January 27, 2013
Aww, Arielle, you are the best at taking old favorites and updating them to pure heaven!
Lara C. January 19, 2013
made these today, delicious! the best pancakes ever :)
EmilyC July 31, 2012
I tried these and they are awesome! Love how crispy they get. This is officially my new go-to pancake recipe, whether I'm adding chocolate, blueberries, or just going plain.
Kitchen B. April 28, 2012
Oh my, this reminds me of my favourite icecream combo's - the best vanilla ice cream, with the best olive oil you can find, a pinch of sea salt and grated orange zest!!!! A must try. Thank and congrats on the CP
LeBec F. April 28, 2012
kb, don't forget the mayo! (just kidding:-)
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 30, 2012
that sounds completely brilliant! i will definitely be trying it!
dani April 27, 2012
I hope you'll make these for me next time I visit.
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 30, 2012
thanks mama! it would be my very great pleasure :)
Ms. T. April 27, 2012
Mmm, I am SO adding these to my list! Congrats on the CP :)
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 30, 2012
hooray! thanks, Ms. T!!
Shalini April 27, 2012
These look great! I think the crispy edges with the buttermilk fluff and tang and the cornstarch and the chocolate and the sea salt and the olive oil all sound delicious! Can't wait to try them!!
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 30, 2012
thanks, Shalini! amanda is a super genius with the flavor combinations! i'd never have thought to put olive oil with chocolate and sea salt, but it really is outstanding.
fiveandspice April 26, 2012
Congrats on the CP Arielle! I don't know how I missed these, but oh my gosh best combination ever all wrapped in fluffy delicious pancakes! Wow.
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 27, 2012
oh thanks fiveandspice!! you're the nicest :)
MeghanVK April 26, 2012
Love the flavor combo.
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 26, 2012
thanks so much, MeghanVK and many congrats on your win! it's a beautiful recipe :)
mrslarkin April 26, 2012
yahoo! i knew this would be a CP. Congrats, ac.
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 26, 2012
so nice! thanks mrslarkin!!
elizabethintexas April 19, 2012
I make a version of these and I would eat them every day if my family allowed it. They are delicious.
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 26, 2012
haha! completely agree elizabethintexas! i'm in texas too! (austin!)
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 13, 2012
thanks so much everybody!!
mrslarkin April 13, 2012
Hooray for pancakes! This sounds brilliant!!
LeBec F. April 12, 2012
Does the cornstarch make them softer ? Lovely lovely lovely. I want right now! With orange zest in the batter and chopped pecans. yes! thanks for the inspiration!
Author Comment
arielleclementine April 13, 2012
thanks LE BEC FIN! according to Kristen's notes here:, the cornstarch + rest period help develop fluffy and moist interiors and shatteringly crisp exteriors. I wanted a crisp crust on my pancakes, to make them more like amanda's toasted baguette, so I applied the waffle trick to the pancake batter- i think it worked!
LeBec F. April 16, 2012
arielle, i apologize for not having read your explanation before (Note to self- always read chef's text before asking question!)
I'm hoping more 52er bakers will start incorporating whole wheat flour/spelt flour (milder) in their recipes. Have you considered that? I'm finding that the texture and healthiness benefits are really good .