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In the summers, because my dad was a high school teacher and had summers off, we would pack up and leave the city for two whole months, living in a cottage behind my grandparent’s house on the Sunshine Coast. Each and every Sunday morning my grandparents would host a pancake breakfast that was always attended by the entire family; aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbours who are like family. There was orange juice, pancakes cooked on a barbecue top griddle, and two strips of bacon (no more, no less) per person. I really messed things up when I became vegetarian at the age of 14 and threw off the bacon count. And again, I suppose around the same time, when I showed early signs of foodie-ism and one pancake Sunday turned up with a bowl of buttermilk pancake batter I had whipped up from scratch. But what about the pancake mix? The just add water kind? Why did we need this fancy other stuff? I know, change is hard.

On my last weekend in Canada, when I turned up at the new house my dad has been building on the same property, he requested, literally within moments of my arrival, that I make pancakes for breakfast the following morning. I was more than happy to oblige.

These are not the pancakes I made when I was 14, nor are they the multigrain buttermilk pancakes I made on that last weekend on the coast. No, these are far more decadent. But I think that because a) they include chocolate and b) I made them, that my dad would really like these ones too; he’s never been a man to shy away from decadence, and he’s always been the biggest champion of any endeavor of mine, but especially of those in the kitchen. This coming Sunday being Father’s day, and with all of Vancouver in need of a little soothing, what with the chaos that went down this week, perhaps it’s time to just be kind to each other over some really good pancakes.

Remember back when I was given a lovely bouquet of flours for my birthday? Two of those flours are in use here. First, the lovely organic stone ground spelt flour, a gift from my oldest friend, Chris, and second, some hazelnut flour, a kind gift from my fine and decadent lady, Renelle. I couldn’t resist combining chocolate and hazelnut, and I happened to have a brick of dark Callebaut chocolate lying around, so in went big chunks of dark chocolate. And banana. Yum. These are without doubt the kind of pancakes which could easily serve as a weekend treat breakfast or as dessert; Paul doesn’t like pancakes for breakfast, only as a dessert, topped with fruit and ice cream. So if that’s the kind of pancake Sunday you’re in the mood for (a pancake sundae, if you will), have at it.

Banana Hazelnut Pancakes Recipe:

Hazelnut flour is really just finely ground hazelnuts. If you don’t have a bag of hazelnut flour on hand, you can make your own by pulsing roasted hazelnuts in your food processor until they reach a fine powder. You could also substitute almond flour, coconut flour, or another ground nut. Rather than adding the chocolate into the batter, where it will sink and clump on the bottom, I top each pancake with chocolate once it has already hit the grill.

Makes about 6 large pancakes.


1/2 cup stone ground spelt flour

1/4 cup all unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup hazelnut flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt


1 Tbsp melted butter, slightly cooled

1 very ripe banana, mashed

1 egg

3/4 cup milk


1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate, or chocolate chips


butter for the skillet


Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sift dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, mashed banana, egg, and milk. Add wet ingredients into dry, and stir gently to combine.

Add about 1 tsp of butter (depending on the size of your skillet) to the hot pan and swirl around to coat. Pour mounds of batter into the skillet, about 1/3 cup each, leaving ample room for spread. Sprinkle the uncooked side of the pancake with chopped chocolate. When bubbles are rising, gently flip the pancake over and quickly cook the other side.

Serve hot off the skillet with salted butter and real maple syrup, or with ice cream and chopped banana.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2011