If you’d like to make something special for that certain someone this Valentine’s Day, why not say I Love you with breakfast in bed? And if you’re going to do that, why not make sure that the meal you serve is fit for the occasion and make it heart shaped as well?
While Valentine’s Day was certainly part of the inspiration for this dish, the clincher for me was finding a set of silicone pancake molds at the local grocery. The set is made by Good Cook, but if these aren’t available at your local store, you can get a pair of Silicone Solutions Heart Pancake Molds in a 2 pack for about $10.00. (Lucky you, I only had a single mold, and it took a while to get through the process, and I like the shape of their molds better than mine. I’ll be jealous!) If you can’t get a mold, you can always simply cut a heart shape out of a finished pancake, or even make your own mold out of foil, just be sure to get it plenty-hot before using.
The really nice thing about making pancakes for a breakfast in bed is that if you have children, they can help with the occasion. Little hands are wonderful at stirring and adding ingredients to the bowl, and you’ll find that they’re quite eager to help. (This accomplishes the most difficult part of an exercise of this type. It keeps the kids from waking said significant other before the time is ripe, while teaching them some cooking skills in the process.)
Another nice point is that since you’re making your own syrup, you know exactly what’s in the breakfast or brunch you’re serving. As far as sweet toppings go, this simple fruit syrup is relatively good for you, even with the sugar, and kids will eat it up as quickly as adults. The fruit is healthy, and if it happens to be blackberry season, it’s even better with fresh picked berries.
This recipe is an adaptation of my go-to pancake recipe, found in The Betty Crocker Cookbook under breads. I use this basic recipe for just about all of my pancake creations, with additions and subtractions as needed, from ultra sweet to supremely savory. (Think beer batter pancakes with caramelized onions and sausage.)
So take a few minutes and make Valentine’s Day special, won’t you? If not, just make these as regular ol’ flapjacks and enjoy the syrup. The choice is yours, really.
- 1/2 package frozen blackberries, thawed, with all juices
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup sugar (approximate)
- 1/2 tsp. honey (optional)
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
(Note: This syrup may be made up to a week in advance of using and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Simply reheat before serving.)
If berries are still frozen: Place berries in a bowl with 1/2 of the sugar and stir to coat. Microwave on medium setting for about 3 minutes, in 1 minute increments, until completely thawed. Allow to cool completely, then continue as below.
Place berries and juices in a bowl with all of the sugar. Stir to coat berries evenly and allow to macerate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
Mash berries slightly with the back of a fork and stir to ensure that the sugar coats the berries evenly. Pour mixture into a small saucepan with orange juice and honey (optional) and put over medium heat. bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until mixture reduces by 1/4 (about 12 minutes). Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.
In a medium bowl, beat egg until fluffy. Beat in all remaining ingredients, except chocolate, until just smooth. (for a thinner batter, add 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of milk.) Add chocolate and stir a few times to distribute the chips.
Heat griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat, or if using an electric griddle, to 375° F. (To test heat, sprinkle with a few drops of water. if bubbles jump and skitter around the griddle, the heat is perfect.) Place heart shaped mold on the surface of the pan and spray surface with nonstick cooking spray.
For each pancake, use just a bit less than 1/4 cup batter that is thin enough to flow to the shape of the mold, but not thin enough to run out from under the edges (This may take a bit of experimentation.) Cook until pancake is bubbly on top, puffed and beginning to rise over the top of the mold (if it’s a little guy like mine) at the edges. flip pancake and mold together and cook the other side until it is golden brown.
Store pancakes in a 200 degree oven, directly on the oven rack, while cooking remaining pancakes.
Serve drizzled with blackberry syrup and a few orange wedges, just for color.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
I think I would have simply sprinkled the chips into the batter once it was in the mold so that the distribution was a bit more even and perhaps sprinkled some powdered sugar over the plate before adding the syrup and garnish, but regardless, these are so scrumptious that I had to give you all another look!
Links to other recipes like this: