One of my favorite teachers of all time was my eighth grade American history teacher. He enlightened me about many things, but one of his most memorable lectures was one about chocolate. Well, it wasn’t really about chocolate, it was about the time when British colonists first came to the new world. They brought sugar with them, no doubt to use for their incessant tea brewing. But the British did not yet know of chocolate, because the cocoa plant didn’t grow back home. However, it was native to America. But the Native Americans did not have the privilege of chocolate as we know it today, because they had no sugar to sweeten it with. If they did eat chocolate from the cocoa plant, it was bitter as black coffee. I remember my eighth grade teacher telling us, “it must have been a great day when a colonist carrying a sack of sugar crashed into a Native American carrying a bushel of cocoa beans, and all the sugar and all the chocolate spilled on the ground and mixed together, and that’s when they discovered chocolate as we know it today.” I’m not sure this anecdote was certifiably historically accurate, but it stuck in my brain and to this day, that’s how I imagine the colonists and the Native Americans discovered the awesomeness of sweetened cocoa. With such a monumental discovery made together, it’s a wonder they didn’t stay peaceful forever. They could have never fought and instead formed a lasting friendship, all based on sweet chocolate. Right?
My point is, chocolate without sugar = too bitter. And sugar without chocolate = too sweet. One without the other is a fraction of the value of what you get when you put sugar and chocolate together. So, when we say “I love chocolate,” what we’re really saying is “I love the combination of chocolate and sugar.” The ratio of chocolate to sugar depends on the type and quality of the chocolate, but pure chocolate all by itself is not at all sweet, and kind of has a bitter flavor. We add sugar to balance out the bitterness, and are left with the most delicious thing on earth.
This morning, I tried to make a flourless chocolate pancake based on the flourless cupcakes I made earlier this week. I replaced all the flour/matzah meal I would have used with pure cocoa powder. Unfortunately, I did not think to add any sugar to the pancake so I was left with this mass of bitterness:
I imagine this pancake tastes just like the spill from that fateful collision between the Native American and the British colonist so many centuries ago.
So here is the recipe for this pancake, just as I made it. I recommend adding some sugar to the pancake batter as well if you are into sweeter chocolate treats. But with the sweet topping, it’s actually okay without sugar in the batter as well.
Flourless Chocolate Pancake with Cinnamon and Sugar Topping
based on this recipe
makes one pancake and one serving of topping
- 2 tbls pure cocoa powder
- 1 tbl skim milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tbl olive oil
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- 2 tsps Earth Balance original buttery spread
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- generous sprinkle of cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
For pancake batter: combine all ingredients in a small bowl, beating the egg into the other ingredients and stirring until well combined. Let the batter rest for five minutes while you whip up the topping!
For topping: Melt your 2 tsps Earth Balance in the microwave. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until combined.
Now, to put it all together: Spray a pan with nonstick spray. Cook the pancake batter over medium heat. When both sides have been cooked, remove from heat. Place pancake on a plate and smear the glaze/topping all over it. Yum!
You Might Also Like: