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hot cocoa pancakes + valentine’s day


Healthy chocolate pancakes friends. I know, I can’t believe it either, but let’s talk about the events at hand. I actually  kind of like Valentine’s Day. I know it’s cool to hate on February 14th because it’s just.., like, a meaningless marketing shill instigated to drive capital to the card/gift companies maaaaan. Why do you have to prove your love on only one day of the year? Scoffs, grumbles, negativity, silliness.

I actually don’t care. Remember when you were young and we all gave valentines and treats to everyone in the class and it was cute, delicious, sparkly, corny, pink and red all over? It was such a fun write-off kind of day. Warm fuzzies. You got to make a pouch out of construction paper, decorate it with glittery paint and take it home all full of chocolate, marshmallow-y things, ju-jubes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, California Raisins, Strawberry Shortcake etc punch-out valentine cards. It was, in sum, the best ever. Chocolate and paper goods are still totally my jam 18 years later so why wouldn’t I love Valentine’s Day?

Something I don’t exactly love: big, shiny, monumental dinners on Cupid’s big night out. Meeeeeh. I usually can’t swing it because I’m working anyway but! I feel kinda bad for the service and cooking staff at any given restaurant, surrounded by so much lovey dovey-ness while being away from their special guy/gal. I don’t particularly aspire to contribute to that cruddy feeling while I’m picking away at some sort of heart-shaped root vegetable or cake or something in the candle light. I like going out for an amazing meal, don’t get me wrong. But for V day, home dates just feel right.

Enter these delicious pancakes. They’re chocolate (duh), wholesome, easy to whip up and perfect for lazing about with your lovey in jammies with some fresh fruit, the newspaper, a thick wooly blanket, maybe some Curb Your Enthusiasm on in the background (SUCH a romantic choice, right?) and a hot, cozy pot of earl grey steeping away. Comforting, warm, close and sweet (and somewhat awkward at any given moment if Larry David is on your TV screen…). It’s perfect. These are also totally fine to make just for yourself. I make a single serving of pancakes about as often as I crave pancakes. Which is… crazy often. Whatever. It starts with self love, guys!


hot cocoa pancakes
This recipe was originally developed for the Toronto Vegetarian Association
serves: 2 (generously)
notes:
Heart shapes! Go on. Do it.

1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup light spelt flour (or whole wheat, all purpose etc)
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup + 2 tbsp cacao/cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tbsp maple syrup (or agave nectar) plus extra for serving
1/4 cup liquid coconut oil (or other oil)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside to curdle, about 5 minutes.

Mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Add the curdled milk, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. It should be a tad loose-seeming.

Heat a large, non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Drop ¼ cup measures of the batter into the pan (not too many at a time!). When bubbles start to peak through the surface and you see a bit of light browning/crisping up on the underside, flip the pancakes over carefully, about 1-2 minutes. Repeat for the other side, remove from the pan and set aside on a covered plate to keep warm.

Serve with maple syrup, sliced bananas, berries or whatever other accompaniments you like.

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar05/02/2012 - 11:28 am

Whoa. These are so yummy looking!

Courtney Jones05/02/2012 - 12:48 pm

These pancakes look fantastic. Yum!!!! I have book marked the recipe to make next Sunday for my sweetie. Thanks for the idea :)

Jennifer05/02/2012 - 2:04 pm

These look amazing! Beautiful photos too.

adrienne05/02/2012 - 5:23 pm

Ahh I miss those days of homemade construction paper Valentine’s too. Who didn’t love those chalky hearts with messages on them? This is perfect for the casual Valentine’s Day we’ll have. Breakfast for dinner, yes please :)

Margarita05/02/2012 - 9:29 pm

I think this can be Valentine’s dinner and my man will be happy! Thanks for sharing this!

Anna06/02/2012 - 11:41 am

I’ve always thought of Feb 14 as more of a share love and homemade valentines with everyone, rather than a big date night. The pancakes look wonderful!

dana @ my little celebration06/02/2012 - 10:44 pm

These look fantastic! Lovely photos, too. And I love your blog design. So simple and clean!

Anna @ the shady pine07/02/2012 - 5:44 am

Oh yum! I just need to get hubby to make these for v day for me :)

myfudo07/02/2012 - 6:41 am

Oh my! These are heavenly treats…I don’t need to wait for Valentine’s Day to make these, I am making a bunch today. Yummy!

hannah@ bake five07/02/2012 - 9:59 am

oh my oh my…… if only a guy would make this for me…or anything!

Sarah07/02/2012 - 11:50 am

Would regular milk work for this recipe?

Laura07/02/2012 - 11:52 am

Hi Sarah,
Regular milk would work just fine. Or you can swap out the non-dairy milk and the apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of buttermilk if you have some :)
-L

sara07/02/2012 - 12:09 pm

i am a terrible gift giver but i love love spoiling hugh with good food for holidays. I’m excited for chocolate pancakes!!

Koko07/02/2012 - 1:31 pm

Gorgeous photos! Mmmmm delicious looking pancakes

Danielle07/02/2012 - 5:49 pm

These look SO good. I love pancakes and I love chocolate, and I can’t imagine anything better than these two things together!! Thanks for the inspiration. And btw, I love valentine’s day too, and I don’t care who knows it :)

XOXO
D

Zita07/02/2012 - 6:21 pm

This recipe stole my heart! :) I’m a huge fan of vegan pancakes (I have many recipes on my blog) and this one is definitely on my list of what I’d love to make. Wonderful photography too!

Amanda08/02/2012 - 1:56 pm

Yum! Can’t wait to make these on St.Valentines day…or every other day of the week! Our Food Lovers would love to read about this on our community page! http://bit.ly/yI0sZU

Ani09/02/2012 - 7:51 pm

These look delicious. Curious, though: What does the curdled milk bring to the table?

Laura09/02/2012 - 8:09 pm

Hi Ani, the curdled milk thing is meant to evoke buttermilk because it seems to be pretty classic in the realm of pancakes. It adds moisture, a little tang and helps with the rise too! Hope that clarifies!
-L

Javelin Warrior10/02/2012 - 10:20 am

Your pancakes are incredible! They’re so intensely dark and layering with bananas is perfect… I have featured this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup. Let me know if you have any objections and thanks for the inspiration

sarah14/02/2012 - 6:36 pm

This.is.beautiful. I love the picture with the fork and last bite. And the heart! Love.

nib15/02/2012 - 10:49 pm

We made these w/strawberries & syrup, they were like molten chocolate cake for breakfast. Highly recommended. Next time we’ll try them with bananas & coconut whipped cream. Thank you for the post!

Margarita25/02/2012 - 3:43 pm

Made this today and it was absolutely delicious. Thank you!

[...] 11. Laura from the First Mess: Hot Cocoa Pancakes (from her site) AND Chilled Double Chocolate Torte from Oh She Glows [...]

Afrina khan08/02/2013 - 11:23 am

Hi these look delicious …what kind of whole wheat flour would they work with ? Like whole wheat pastry flour right ? Or How can I make this gluten free ? What flours should I use ? Thank u !

Laura Wright08/02/2013 - 11:31 am

Hi Afrina,
Yes, wholewheat pastry flour would be a good substitute for the light spelt. Alternatively, if you’d like to go gluten free, this homemade GF flour mix has worked out great for me in almost everything I’ve tried it in: http://www.artofglutenfreebaking.com/2009/11/the-story-behind-my-gluten-free-flour-mix/ Hope that helps you :)
-L

Decking Ipe16/02/2013 - 6:27 am

Looks so delicious. My BF loves it when I make pancakes for him. He also loves chocolate, and he loves peanut butter on his pancakes. This might be a match made in heaven.

Nikolina04/05/2013 - 11:15 am

Hi Laura!
We just polished these delicious pancakes off and wanted to thank you for sharing your amazing creations with the rest of us. I have used chocolate hazelnut milk and hazelnut oil to round out the flavor and it was just great! Thank you SO much!

diesen Inhalt20/07/2013 - 2:35 am

Delicious pancakes! I’ll try to make them tomorrow morning.

[…] Hot Cocoa Pancakes from The First Mess […]

little lemon coconut cakes + creamy coconut glaze

Okay so I don’t love cupcakes. Even when the craze hit big time, I wasn’t totally on board. All of those gorgeous sweet little cakes, ornate and decorated just so… had way too much frosting for my taste. It seems to me that there is an inherent issue of ratios with this handheld treat. This is especially true if the frosting is piped on top, as opposed to being smeared rustically. Giant, sweet clouds were distracting me from my favourite part– the actual cake! Then the boutique bakeries were selling frosting shots. Actual shots! Glorified gluttony. And there was a tv show with cupcake shop proprietors competing and snapping at each other about non-rising cakes, time winding down, fillings not jiving with icings, trivial matters completely. Catty. Terrifying. Cupcakes and their whole scene was, without exaggeration, scaring the crap out of me. So I avoided them for a bit. I opted for cookies and actual slices of cake, a tart here and there. I felt fine about it.

But sweet, little snack cakes with just a bit of glaze-y coconut cream on top? I’ve talked myself into a bit of that action. It has a different feel. A bit more casual, but certainly refined. The ratio of sweet topping to lemony and light cake is ideal for someone like me. It’s just a nice little snack to go with tea. A cup-sized cake shouldn’t make you feel like you’ve gone over the edge with indulgence right? It’s individually portioned out of reason, out of fairness and in the interest of an individual’s right to an equal portion of the dozen. It is just. These spelt-based cakes are rich with coconut milk and have a crunchy little dusting of nutty sesame seeds for fun because individual cakes, at their heart, are totally about fairness and super cute fun time with sparkles and everything else great in life. And this is totally one of those throw-it-all-in-one-bowl-and-mix kind of cakes! Everyone wins here.

lemon coconut cakes with coconut glaze and sesames
serves: makes 10-12
notes: Feel free to mix up the citrus a bit! Meyer lemon or orange or lime would all be quite good. Also, as soon as you use 1/2 the can of coconut milk in the batter, put the remaining milk in the freezer so that it can firm up and become more cream-like.

1/2 cup natural sugar
1/3 cup melted coconut oil + extra for greasing
1 14-ounce can coconut milk, divided
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup), divided
2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 cup white spelt flour
1/2 cup whole spelt flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
small pinch of fine sea salt
2 tbsp agave nectar
small handful toasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12 tin muffin pan and set aside.

Mix the sugar, coconut oil, half the can of coconut milk, lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp of vanilla in a medium-large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.

Sift in the white and whole spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix into the wet mixture until just combined.

Portion the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cake springs right back when you push on it and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool pan on a wire rack thoroughly.

Make the glaze: remove the remaining coconut milk from the freezer and give it a little stir. Whisk it up with the remaining lemon juice, vanilla and the 2 tbsp of agave nectar. Spoon on top of the cooled cakes and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar29/01/2012 - 9:14 pm

What a lovely treat! These sound so yummy!

Courtney30/01/2012 - 11:42 am

I agree with you about the whole cupcake thing! I can’t stand tons of icing and people seem to think that is crazy. These little cakes look absolutely delicious!

Jacqui30/01/2012 - 2:17 pm

I have never really liked cupcakes/cake all because of the frosting; way too sweet! But your’s sound just my style! And I love the sesame seed sprinkles too!

MyFudo31/01/2012 - 2:44 am

I love the mix of coconut and sesame seeds…The glaze looks really interesting! I have always loved mini cakes!

CulinarilyCourtney31/01/2012 - 3:22 am

While I have to admit that frosting actually is my favorite part of a cupcake, haha, these little cakes are just too cute not to want to eat them! I love your idea of sprinkling them with sesame seeds–nature’s sprinkles heheh :)

Zita31/01/2012 - 5:04 am

I’m vegetarian but I bake a lot of vegan cakes. These cupcakes are my kind of cakes! In most of my baking I also use whole spelt and white spelt flour. :)

I’ll definitely give a try and bake these muffins!

Jeanine31/01/2012 - 10:55 am

I can’t wait to make these! They’re so cute and what’s better than lemon and coconut?I’m with you on the frosting thing…

Jess @ littlegirlbigappetite31/01/2012 - 1:21 pm

Oh these look so cute and yummy! Glad to stumble upon your page and be a new follower :)

adrienne01/02/2012 - 10:42 am

Couldn’t agree more with cupcake culture. Wow, these little cakes sound dreamy! They’re the grown-up, educated version of the cupcake :)

Kels02/02/2012 - 4:16 pm

Love how you used newspaper for the drippings, can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that. These look like they pack quite a punch. And I agree, never was a cupcake gal myself, although these are something I could buy into.

Margarita03/02/2012 - 11:07 pm

Lovely little things! I, like you, have never gotten into the cupcake craze, but I do like muffins and delicious snackies like this.

Leah05/02/2012 - 10:45 pm

These look perfect – nice hint of coconut w/ sesame but not too sweet! Sounds like a fantastic combo.

rachel07/02/2012 - 8:24 am

New here… love this post. We must be soul sisters, because I couldn’t agree more about the horrors of cupcakes buried in frosting. I must try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Mary12/02/2012 - 5:12 pm

Would it be okay to substitute the two spelt flours in this recipe with 1.5 cups of an all-purpose gluten free flour (I use the Bob’s Red Mill brand). I’m new to the gluten free thing and have no idea how the different blends work.

Laura12/02/2012 - 7:06 pm

Hi Mary, I’m not totally sure how Bob’s would do in this recipe (it’s not my favourite blend to be honest). I really, really love this particular blend from another blog: http://www.ohladycakes.com/2012/01/how-to-make-gluten-free-flour.html. I’ve had a lot of success with it when making other treats (including cake). You might have to introduce a binder of some kind (a tbsp of ground flax seeds in 1/4 cup of water, an egg, 1/4 cup of applesauce or something similar) if you go with a GF flour blend in general though. Hope that helps!
-L

Judy @ Seven Second Rhapsody12/02/2012 - 10:29 pm

oh….wow. That just looks like it’ll make any rainy day fill with sunshine!

Mary15/02/2012 - 1:26 pm

Thanks Laura! That really helps. I’m definitely going to try the oh, ladycakes recipe!

Reb23/02/2012 - 6:19 am

Was searching for a sugar-free coconut milk glaze and came across your lovely blog, so glad I did! Your recipes and food philosophy are something I want to see more of– will be visiting often!

[...] Almost-vegan coconut lemon poppyseed cupcakes Very loosely adapted from The First Mess – 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature – 1/2 cup sugar – Half of a 398 ml (14 oz) can of [...]

Cookie and Kate25/02/2012 - 2:15 pm

Well, I don’t know how I missed these when you posted them last month, but they look absolutely perfect. Your little coconut cakes are my kind of indulgence.

[...] learned a few valuable lessons today when trying to transform Laura Wright’s Little Lemon Cakes + Creamy Coconut Glaze into doughnuts [...]

beet, potato + avocado salad with horseradish vinaigrette


Any one of my friends will tell you that I’m pretty enamored with the whole Momofuku collective of restaurants and the Dave Chang/Christina Tosi-worship/obsession thing. I have the cookbooks, subscribe to Lucky Peach and dream of future trips to New York for some ramen, birthday cake truffles and a cup of cereal milk soft serve often. Like crazy often. The whole thing is just too cool without trying to be too cool. You know? There are the wildly popular (and super pork-y) items that everyone talks about (for good reason), but last time we were in town, there was a beet salad that seriously got me so, so excited about root vegetables. Believe that! Total sleeper hit.

There was a heaped schmear of creme fraiche on the bottom of the plate, lovely cooked beets all diced on top, capers, rough chopped parsley and fresh horseradish. It was really simple, gorgeous to look at and delicious in an easy way. I say easy because you could just scoop it into your mouth and enjoy all of the flavours and textures making sense together. It was balanced and flavourful without too much effort. These ingredients were pretty much made for each other and I can’t believe it took this long for them to get together on a plate in front of me.

A little snag: I can’t eat creme fraiche every day. It’s expensive and my stomach would hate me, so I came up with this version that I can eat all day, every day with avocado and sweet little yukon gold potatoes. Beets tend to have a love affair with anything that’s creamy, tangy or rich so this all works out pretty nicely. The horseradish and shallot vinaigrette punctuates everything with a strong, vinegary bite. It’s just a hearty, composed winter salad. I’m not craving lettuce much these days, but boiled root veggies and potatoes with brine-y stuff and chives on top? Yes please. And lots.

beet, potato and avocado salad with horseradish and shallot vinaigrette
serves: 4-6
notes: dice the shallot as small as you can so that the vinaigrette gets all in there and softens the pieces up.

vinaigrette
1 small shallot, finely diced/minced up
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup grape seed or other neutral flavour oil

salad
1/2 lb mini yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
2 medium beet roots, scrubbed
1 medium avocado, just ripe, not too soft and smushy-messy
10 blades of chives, finely sliced
juice of half a lemon
2-3 tbsp capers
salt and pepper

Make the vinaigrette: Combine the minced shallot and vinegar in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper and whisk well. Add the horseradish and mustard and whisk to combine again. Drizzle the oil into the horseradish/vinegar/shallot mixture slowly as you whisk it vigorously until thoroughly combined. Alternatively, you can throw the whole works except the shallots into the blender and put it on high for a few seconds and add the shallots to the mix after. Set aside.

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by about an inch or two. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes yield to a paring knife easily, but not so easily that they mush. About 12 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside. Place the beet roots in the boiling water and cook until you achieve the same knife-yielding tenderness of the potatoes. This should take longer, about 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and peel as soon as you are able, without burning your fingers of course. Cut potatoes and beets into small wedges and set aside in separate bowls.

Peel and pit the avocado. Slice it into 1/4 inch thick pieces and lay onto your serving plate. Squeeze the lemon over top of the avocado slices and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a bit of the dressing here too. Arrange the beets on top of the avocado. Drizzle some of the dressing on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and some of the chives. Arrange the potatoes on top of the beets and drizzle with more dressing, salt, pepper and the remaining chives. Scatter the capers on top. Serve.

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amy22/01/2012 - 5:08 pm

oh, this is what winter salad dreams are made of! thank you.

Anna @ the shady pine23/01/2012 - 3:20 am

I could eat this salad any time…it looks really pretty and inviting!

CollegeCooking23/01/2012 - 5:51 pm

I usually bookmark recipes in hopes of getting back to them some day but I went out and made this one immediately as my lunch for the week. The only variations I made were buying pre-peeled/steamed beets and substituting rice vinegar for white wine vinegar because i was all out. Thanks for sharing!

Cookie and Kate27/01/2012 - 12:00 am

Ooh, I love that photo of the red beets in your hand! I want to learn to like beets, but they make my throat scratchy. This salad looks lovely, though.

Laura27/01/2012 - 7:15 am

Oh gosh that used to happen with me when I ate walnuts. Was deeply saddening. But it kind of went away over time! Hopefully beets are in your near future :)

Lindsay27/01/2012 - 2:15 pm

I just found your blog through happyyolks and spent the next two hours reading through your archives. Let me just tell you that I am feeling so very inspired (and hungry)! Your photo’s are beautiful. I love your writing style and your recipe ideas are just brilliantly fresh. Thank you for starting my weekend off right. I can’t wait to hit the market!

Laura27/01/2012 - 6:19 pm

Thank you for the lovely comment, Lindsay! Seriously so kind of you. Have a wonderful weekend :)

Tracy @ Daily Deal Blog02/02/2012 - 11:12 pm

Yum! This looks scrumptious. My kind of salad. 

[...] February 7: Beet, Potato, and Avocado Salad (from The First [...]

Hannah06/07/2012 - 12:18 am

Laura – just came across this while traipsing through your archives … I think you might seriously need to change the name of this dish, and call it something like Ron Salad (after my dad). Beets, potatoes, and horseradish are all on his greatest-hits list ;) I can’t wait to make it this fall … another gorgeous recipe. Thanks :)

Geegee16/10/2012 - 3:54 pm

Ok a) I found your blog yesterday and went through the entire archive bookmarking probably every single recipe and

b) This seemed like a very random combination of ingredients but the photo looked so good I made this TODAY (I’m freaking out, I love your blog so much) and oh my god is this heaven in my mouth! I can’t believe these ingredients complement each other so well! I’m very happy :) Keep it up!

Sherry in Union, KY24/02/2013 - 7:34 pm

Not only is this tasty, it is beautiful! Thanks for the recipe!

Olivia @nd the Giant Falafel03/03/2013 - 5:14 pm

Discovered this recipe yesterday and have been day dreaming about it ever since. Had no choice. Made this tonight. Added a 7 min egg and roasted carrot ribbons on top. Amazing meal! Thanks for the great post.

[…] Start off with a fancy but easy salad from The First Mess inspired from the momofuku restaurant group, with an awesome vegan twist of course: Beet, Potato and Avocado Salad with Horseradish and Shallot Vinaigrette.  […]

robyn24/11/2013 - 9:36 am

Saw this recipe the other day and immediately had to make it. Finally rounded up all the ingredients today, except I couldn’t find any proper prepared (or even raw) horseradish at my Aussie grocery store here (boooo) so I substituted a little wasabi, which turned out really well! And I also topped it off with some feta… Man, such a delicious salad. Thank you for posting! The dressing is so delicious I could almost drink it…

Alisa19/01/2014 - 10:11 pm

My boyfriend and I made this salad tonight; it is absolutely divine! The amazing combination of the sweet beets, the sour vinaigrette, salty capers on top of the hearty veggies makes this an amazing meal. So simple too! Will be coming back to this. Thank you for your inspiring recipes!

roberta riccio20/01/2014 - 12:03 am

Great salad_ it was a perfect match for some of the veggies I got from ourr farm share this week. Thank you! all other recipes look so yummy I just had to comment and join in so as no it to miss out!