Chef/owner Barbara Passino of Oak Knoll Inn in beautiful Napa Valley, California and author of the aptly chocolate-filled cookbook Chocolate for Breakfast has turned her life-long passion for chocolate into an opportunity for you to revel in chocolate morning, noon or night.
Give yourself a delicious reason to rise in the morning with some delicious chocolate-filled recipes. If you have the chance to visit Passino’s Oak Knoll Inn, you will be treated to her gastronomic creations, including breakfasts featuring one of the world’s most loved sweets – chocolate. Until then, try one of the following chocolate recipes for your morning meal.
Passino features this colorful fruity dish as a starter course for a substantial Mexican-inspired breakfast that includes Chile Unrellenos with Jicama Slaw and Black Velvet Beans. (Be warned: One bite of this recipe’s juicy fruit and crispy chocolate may be enough to convince you to forgo the rest of the meal!)
Chocolate tortilla ingredients:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 egg whites
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup skim milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Fresh fruit filling ingredients:
2 pints strawberries, hulled, sliced (grind a little black pepper on top)
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1 mango, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 kiwi, peeled, sliced
1 banana, peeled, sliced just before serving to prevent browning
1/2 pint sorbet (use a flavor of one of the fruits)
8 mint sprigs
8 edible flowers
1. To make the batter, place all chocolate tortilla ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Cover the batter and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. To make the tortillas, remove the batter from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes. Heat a small skillet or crepe pan over low heat. Pour in a just less than 1/4-cup batter and tilt the pan quickly to spread batter into a 6-inch circle. Once the edges look dry, about 2 to 3 minutes, loosen the edges with a knife and turn over the tortilla. Cook for another minute or two.
3. To shape tortilla, lift the tortilla out of pan with a knife or spatula and quickly drape it over a rolling pin. It will become firm and crisp as it cools. If the tortilla doesn’t firm up, it means it isn’t thoroughly done, so cook it a bit longer.
4. Gently mix berries in a bowl to make the fruit filling. Keep remaining fruit separate until assembling or they’ll pick up color from the berries. To serve, place a tortilla on a serving plate and generously fill it with berries, then tuck in the mango, kiwi and bananas. Add a scoop of sorbet and garnish with mint and an edible flower.
Chocolate Chocolate Pancakes
Makes about 30 small pancakes
These chocolate pancakes draped with fresh berry sauce are divine as a special morning-after meal or to treat relatives and friends visiting for the weekend.
Chocolate pancake ingredients:
1-2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 tablespoons (plus more for cooking) butter, melted, cooled
1-1/4 cups (plus up to a 1/4 cup more) milk
Raspberry sauce ingredients:
1 pint raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup raspberry liqueur
- To make the pancakes, put the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and sugar through a sieve placed over a large mixing bowl. Add the chocolate chips to the dry ingredients. In a second bowl, beat eggs and vanilla together. Add butter then milk and continue to blend. Pour the liquid mix over the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. It should be the consistency of a really good milkshake.
- Place a platter in the oven and turn the heat to 200 degrees F. As you make the pancakes, put them on the platter so they stay warm until ready to serve. Place griddle or large skillet over moderate heat (reduce heat if chocolate begins to burn) and brush with a little melted butter. Using a ladle, drop batter onto the griddle or skillet to make pancakes about 2 to 3 inches across. Cook until edges begin to look dry and bubbles appear on the surface. Flip gently and cook for another minute on the other side.
- To make the sauce, place half of the raspberries in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, water and liqueur. When the raspberries start the collapse and liquefy, turn the heat down to low and cook until they’re very soft. Pour through a strainer to remove the seeds, pushing against the solids to extract all of the juice. Add the remainder of the raspberries to the juice and stir. Set aside until pancakes are done.
- To serve, serve 3 to 5 pancakes per person, topped with the raspberry sauce and berries.
Chocolate Egg Cream
No eggs needed, this traditional drink is quick, refreshing, and delish no matter the occasion. Bonus: The homemade chocolate syrup is also a simple fix.
2 tablespoons your favorite chocolate syrup – homemade (see below) or store-bought
2 tablespoons milk (traditional), half and half, or cream (Passino’s favorite)
Seltzer water to fill the glass
Mix chocolate syrup and milk, half and half, or cream in the bottom of a tall soda fountain glass. Add seltzer and a straw. Drink while the bubbles still tickle your nose.
Chocolate syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for drinks, ice cream treats, or even stirred into your morning yogurt and bran cereal to, as Passino says, “take the edge off of all that healthiness.”
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup hot water
Mix cocoa and sugar in a small bowl or pyrex cup. Add of the hot water and stir until the sugar and cocoa powder are dissolved. Add remaining water and stir until smooth. Keep in the refrigerator until needed.