If you have ever taken your kids to Disneyland, braved the swarms of people and the sun and waited in line an hour for each and every ride, then you can imagine what being at a gourmet food catering truck “carnival” is like. I first had the pleasure of tasting Red Velvet pancakes when Street Feast took over the Americana shopping center, and I got to sample my daughter’s bounty from the Buttermilk Truck. I had never heard of Red Velvet pancakes before, but I had always been a fan of a scrumptious Red Velvet cupcake so I was more than eager to test these.
Prior to Street Feast, I had been anxiously following the Grilled Cheese Truck on Twitter but had yet to meet up with this glorious beast. That was my goal…to get to taste the melted brie with carmelized pear and balsamic vinegar sandwich. Unfortunately, my plan of arriving twenty minutes early to be first in line was thwarted. Not only was I not first, but there were already about 30 hungry looking people lined up in front of the spot where the Grilled Cheese truck would eminently be. We had heard that the Buttermilk truck had arrived early so my husband and daughter ran straight there also to find a long, long line of eager patrons. It’s just breakfast food…how long could it take?
They waited and texted me about the wait. I waited and texted them about my wait. I continued to stand in the glaring sun…I visited with foodie strangers standing in line next to me…I played Scrabble on my phone. I was getting tired, cranky and hungrier. I am pretty sure I started to see a giant grilled cheese sandwich mirage in front of me, and yet our line never moved, not once. I guess it takes a LONG TIME to park and do all of the necessary things to set up a totally mobile, fully equipped kitchen/truck (I hope you sense my sarcasm).
After 45 minutes I jumped ship because my daughter and husband came walking by with their tray full of bright red pancakes, cinnamon french toast sticks, sausage and egg mini-sliders and warm, fresh buttermilk doughnut holes. Who needs cheese? To the delight of the people behind me, I gleefully left my position and proceeded to share their jackpot of brinner(breakfast + dinner) insanity. Everything was delicious, but the only thing that I craved everyday for the next week was the melt-in-your-mouth Red Velvet Mini Chocolate Chip Pancakes. Moist, rich and chocolatey, these babies were more than worthy of the forty-five minute line.
I searched all over the internet for Red Velvet pancakes so that I could replicate them for my family who were equally obsessed with these pancakes. There were many out there but the one that turned out to be closest to that of my dreamy Buttermilk Truck memory was a great recipe on the Kitchy Kitchen blog. I doubled her recipe, tweaked it and added the cream cheese dipping sauce/frosting. I really hate to use food dye, but it just isn’t a red velvet pancake without it being red…so I used food coloring paste which I typically buy at Michael’s Craft supply or a local cake decorating store. You only need a few dabs of the paste to turn it into a beautiful bright red, and this seems a bit better than pouring the entire squirt bottle of red dye into the batter. Of course, eliminating the dye all-together would be ideal so feel free to go “au natural” with yours.
Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Pancakes
This recipe makes about one dozen three inch pancakes or about two dozen minis.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 c. Canloa oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Red coloring paste as needed for color
3/4 c. mini chocolate chips
1/4 c. softened butter
Combine your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Gently whisk the dry ingredients to eliminate the need for sifting. Pour buttermilk, sour cream, melted butter into a liquid measuring cup, and add two cracked eggs. Lightly whisk the eggs in with the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and incorporate using a rubber spatula. Add the red coloring paste a little at a time with a toothpick. Coloring paste stains your hands easily so handle the paste with care. Add the chocolate chips and combine with batter. For fluffy pancakes don’t over mix.
Melt a pat of butter and a tablespoon of canola oil on your griddle. Turn your burner on medium and use a wooden spoon or paper towel to spread the oil and butter over the pan, greasing it. The butter browns the pancakes and the oil keeps them from sticking. Wait to drop ladles of pancake batter until the pan is HOT or sizzles a bit when you drop a little water on it. A hot griddle makes for a well-cooked pancake. Flip the pancake when it begins to bubble slightly and the edges look firm.
For the dipping sauce, simply throw the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar into your stand mixer and whip or cream together in a bowl. Serve with blueberries for Fourth of July!