Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chocolate Dutch baby pancake

One of the best trips I've taken in my life was a 4 or 5 day trip to the Netherlands during my last semester as a senior in college. During Finals. Don't worry, I had given my professors a heads up before the trip and arranged to take my finals at another date (I did graduate, in case you were wondering). My college roommate and I found an e-saver fare to Amsterdam, and it was an opportunity that neither one of us could pass up. She also happened to have a friend who lived in Amsterdam so we would have free housing.

Amsterdam was such a beautiful city. The architecture, the people, the canals and the food were all amazing. We arrived in Amsterdam on Queen's Day, which is a national holiday for the Dutch. The entire city was painted orange to celebrate one of the country's royal families, the House of Orange. We walked around the city and met all kinds of wonderful people, decked out in their orange clothing and accessories and had a blast getting to know the area.

After Queen's Day was over, life went back to normal, and we were regular tourists again. For breakfast one day, we went to a cute little restaurant called Poffertjes that specialized in Dutch pancakes. I ordered an apple pancake and thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

For whatever reason, I hadn't thought about making these Dutch pancakes again until I came across a chocolate version in Nicole's cookbook.  My husband bookmarked this recipe before I even had a chance to do so myself. The texture of the pancake is exactly as I remembered it - slightly chewy but thin enough to make me want to eat the entire thing. In fact, the Dutch usually order an entire pancake for themselves and eat that as their meal. These Dutch pancakes aren't like your traditional fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Instead, they are about a 1/8 inch thick and loaded with tons of toppings. You can see that I opted to keep my plain, but you can certainly add powdered sugar, fruit, syrup or whipped cream.

I hope to visit Amsterdam again someday, and when I do, you can be sure that I'll be stopping by Poffertjes again.

Chocolate Dutch baby pancake
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can substitute with all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Directions
Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in your oven and preheat it to 425 degrees F. If you don't own a cast iron skillet, you can use a standard pie pan - just be sure to grease the inside of the pie pan with butter.

In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, flour, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla and sugar together. Mix well until there are no lumps.

Once the oven has reached 425 degrees F, remove the skillet (or pie pan) from the oven and add the butter to the skillet. Swirl it around so it evenly coats the pan.

Pour the batter into the skillet and place it back in the oven. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the pancake fully puffs up in the middle.

Remove the skillet from the oven and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar. You can also serve with fresh fruit, such as sliced strawberries.

Note that the pancake will begin to deflate after a few minutes. This is completely normal so don't be alarmed.

Yield: One 10-inch pancake (about 6-8 slices)

Source: Prevention RD's Everyday Healthy Cooking: 100 Light and Delicious Recipes to Promote Energy, Weight Loss, and Well-Being; page 215

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