Cast Iron

Olive Oil Pancakes with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt

April 12, 2012
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!

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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).