Ricotta cheese makes for the lightest, fluffiest pancakes, with a delicate orange flavor set off with dark chocolate chips in these orange ricotta chocolate chip pancakes. (Jump to Recipe)
I think it’s high time we talked about pancakes. I can scarcely believe that the last time we spoke of this beautiful brunch food was over a year ago with these Lemon Ricotta Pancakes…can you sense a theme here? I’m sure you’ll be shocked when I say that these pancakes are adapted from that recipe. I made some tweaks that I think improved it for the better, and I added chocolate because if there were ever a pair made for each other, orange and chocolate are it.
I actually made this and shot the photos on a snowy weekend over a month ago, and had every intention of getting you the recipe immediately (because you need it in your life), but as often happens, life got in the way. I turned 30(!), went to Dublin for a long weekend, came back and promptly came down with a nasty cold, recovered from said cold and hung out with my parents when they came to visit Chicago, worked quite a bit in between all these things, and just this weekend, had a Sunday Funday involving lots of alcoholic beverages during the day, which I haven’t done in quite a while and paid for quite dearly the next day. When did I get old?
The point of telling you all this is, I had good intentions to share this recipe with you as soon as possible, and now is that time. Citrus season isn’t over yet, and I highly suggest you put these pancakes on your list for this weekend. Let me tell you why.
One of the things I disliked in the past about ricotta pancakes was how thick and cakey/puffy they were when made at home. I always order ricotta pancakes if they’re on the menu at a restaurant because I love the tenderness and texture, and the lightness ricotta imparts. But it just didn’t turn out the same at home. My pancakes tasted fine, but were too thick and definitely not light. How, I asked myself, do restaurants always get those pillowy, fluffy pancakes?
Well, google is a beautiful thing. I did some reading, and then some more reading. I discovered that some ricotta pancake recipes require the additional step (which previously seemed like fussy overkill to me) of whipping the egg whites separately from the yolks until stiff like meringue, then folding them into the rest of the batter. Ugh. Like anyone wants to take that extra step when they just want pancakes in the morning.
Desperate, however, to figure out the problem of my overly dense pancakes, I rolled my eyes and dutifully separated out the whites. Grumbling to myself about dishes, I got out my hand mixer and whipped the whites to stiff peaks. Irritated, I folded them into the rest of the batter until smooth, but noticing, as I did, that the batter did seem rather light and fluffy.
Then I cooked them up on my large griddle pan, and noted that they spread more and seemed less thick than my prior versions.
Then I tried them.
Yeah. Ok. Safe to say, I’ll separate the egg whites from now on.
The orange flavor was assertive. The dark chocolate chips set it off perfectly. The ricotta texture was actually light and fluffy. The pancakes were so light they were almost ethereal. This is how I need to make pancakes, forever and ever.
Brian, tasting them, said: “why have you never made these before?” and proceeded to eat five in a sitting.
You need to make these orange ricotta pancakes, this weekend. And then do what I did: put the leftovers in the freezer in individual portions (2-3 pancakes wrapped together in plastic wrap) to have on random weekday mornings.
This morning (a Wednesday) was one of those glorious mornings. Brian, saint that he is, brought me coffee in bed, then zapped these fluffy delights in the microwave for us for about a minute and doused them in yogurt and maple syrup. You can’t make this up; it was one of the best weekday mornings I’ve had in a long time. I hope you’ll do this too.
Orange Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pancakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs separate whites and yolks
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup milk whatever kind you like, dairy or non-dairy
- Zest of one orange zest the orange before juicing, it's easier
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice from about 1 1/2 oranges
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips I prefer dark or semi-sweet
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- Separate egg whites and yolks; place whites in another clean medium bowl, and place yolks in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, milk, orange zest, and orange juice to the large bowl with the yolks and whisk together until smooth.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the large bowl with the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed. Do not over-mix.
- With a hand mixer, or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form, 3-5 minutes depending on the speed (for photos of what stiff peaks look like, see this post).
- Fold the egg whites into the batter with a spatula gently until there are no streaks of white. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Heat a griddle pan or frying pan over medium heat. Grease the pan with butter, then drop batter by 1/4 cup measure per pancake. Spread the batter out a little with the back of the measuring cup. Cook 4-5 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook 2 more minutes or until golden. Remove to a large plate.
- Repeat with the rest of the batter until no batter remains. Serve with butter and maple syrup!
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