Basil & Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pancakes

When I think of basil and chocolate I think of Oprah.

Weird? Hold on I’ll explain.

I’m sure a lot of you are Oprah fans, so does anyone remember the episode when Giada De Laurentiis was on and she whipped up a chocolate, basil and brie panini? Oprah clearly didn’t like it, it was written all over her face. The audience received samples and even they weren’t impressed. AWKWARD! Something tells me it was the cheese that ruined it all! But that show always stuck with me… I wasn’t sure why it did until this morning.

chocolaty goodness2

Well the other night my Mom gave me a big zip-lock baggie of fresh basil from her garden and my first thought was that I’d make some pesto. Then I thought again of how many pesto recipes there are in the world and my mind went back to that Oprah episode I saw years back. And then my mind went to pancakes. I’ve never had a recipe pop into my head so quickly. So I jotted down the gist of it, tossed back a few cups of coffee and then set off for my kitchen to scour down the ingredients and get my cookin’ on.

I like using whole wheat flour in pancakes kinda gives the pancakes some depth.

Grab about 10-12 basil leaves; stack, roll and chiffinade {or slice thin strips} then give it all a good chop. My girls were all “Yay Pancakes!!” and then they said “What’s the basil for?” and with a huge enthusiastic smile I told them “We’re having basil & chocolate chip pancakes!”  I quickly saw their smiles fade into what I can only explain as puzzled frowns of disappointment? For them {and most people} basil = Italian pasta dishes, so they couldn’t even fathom. To be honest I was a bit nervous, and yet strangely confident that this recipe was going to be a success… it had to work… I wasn’t sure how or why… but it just had to.

Place both the flours in to a mesh strainer over a large bowl.

Add in the light brown sugar, baking soda and kosher salt.

Sift all the dry ingredients in to the large bowl.

This is why I sift everything… besides it makes the dry ingredients light and airy, and it also eliminates those rock-hard sugar pieces. All at the same time! 😉

In a separate bowl with the ricotta; add in one large egg, 3 tablespoons of melted {not hot} butter, and 3/4 cup whole milk. My container of ricotta had the liquid already settled on the bottom. But if yours is pretty wet you might want to try straining it over a bowl to catch the excess liquids. Using ricotta cheese in a pancake recipe will keep them pancakes light and delicate!

Whisk until everything is combined.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry…

And mix just until everything is incorporated.

Lastly toss in the mini chocolate chips and the chopped basil. Chocolate pairs wonderfully with basil… but if basil isn’t your thing then try some fresh grated orange zest along with a pinch of cinnamon. But I highly recommend trying the basil; it’s a fresh and familiar flavor that really brightens up these pancakes. I’m forever changed and pancakes, for me, will never be the same.

Once everything is combined, go grab a 1/4 cup measuring cup.

On a lightly oiled, preheated griddle add about a 1/4 cup of batter. I use the measuring cup to smooth and spread the pancake batter out a tad.

Flip when golden. Carefully. Oops!

Which is about 2-3 minutes per side. That’s much better.

Top with butter…

Lots of butter.

And of course, real maple syrup.

And go to town! The instant the forkful of pancake dripping with butter and maple syrup hit my lips I knew the risk paid off and I just achieved a scrumptious triumph! Who would’ve thought an episode of Oprah could inspire such culinary success? So get out your steno and jot this one down, it’s gonna knock your socks off!


Basil & Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pancakes

Yield: 6 large or 12 small pancakes


1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 cup All Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

A good pinch of Kosher Salt

1 cup Ricotta, {drained if super wet}

3/4 cup Whole Milk

3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled, plus more for serving

1 whole Egg

1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

2 tablespoons Fresh Basil, chiffonade then chopped {about 10-12 good size leafs}

Real Maple Syrup, for serving


Preheat a lightly oiled griddle to 350-375 degrees.

Over a large bowl sift together the first 5 ingredients. In a smaller bowl combine the ricotta, egg, whole milk and melted butter. Add the ricotta mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Next, add in the mini chocolate chips and the chopped basil and stir.

Measure out the batter by using a 1/4 cup measure, and pour onto the hot griddle. Using the measuring cup to spread and smooth the pancake batter out a tad.

Flip when golden about 2-3 minutes and repeat.

Serve with lots of butter and real maple syrup.

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27 Responses to “Basil & Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pancakes”

  1. #
    Jessica @ How Sweet — August 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I'm just LOVING this combo! These sound absolutely amazing.

  2. #
    Shannon@JustAsDelish — August 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Wow, what an amazing combination! Your photos make me crave for pancakes late at night here in Malaysia

  3. #
    Val — August 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    The pancakes look great but I fear if I tasted one I'd also react much the same way Oprah did with Giada's. I can't pair the flavours together for some reason. I understand the idea of the light perfumey sweet basil leaves with chocolate but can't imagine the basil blending in with the other flavours. I'm very intrigued to give it a try though.

  4. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — August 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Val! I think for Oprah it was the cheese along with the basil and chocolate… But I think it's a flavor combination that will surprise most people! 🙂

  5. #
    Aarthi — August 22, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    wow…i have never heard of this before..Should give it a try..Thanks for the recipe dear..

  6. #
    Bev Weidner — August 22, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    You're kidding! This looks so good, I might just need to sit down for a second.

  7. #
    Tina — August 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    These pancakes look so good, especially with the flavors you put in there. They are probably so delicious, they need no topping. Yum!

  8. #
    RavieNomNoms — August 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I am intrigued!! This looks like such an interesting combination. They look simply fantastic!

  9. #
    kita — August 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I do love when you can tell that the host doesn't really like what they are chowing down on. I'm into awkward moments. 😉

    These pancakes do certainly sound interesting. I would have to try them while the BF is at work cuz there is no way I could slip it by without him raising an eyebrow.

  10. #
    Erin — August 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Wow! NEVER would have put these ingredients together, but it sounds like they work. The pancakes look amazing!

  11. #
    Sabrina-eat.drink.and be merry. — August 23, 2011 at 1:47 am

    I just love reading your posts! 🙂

    Although I have never had the two together I bet these were fabulous! Giada never lets me down! 🙂

  12. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — August 23, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Thanks Aarthi!!

    Tina~ I totally agree… I could eat them with just the butter… but the syrup is deeeelicious too!

    Kita~ Awkward moments are hilarious!!!

  13. #
    Pretend Chef — August 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Basil and chocolate is a flavor combo that is new to me. I am very intrigued now and want to give these a try. They look really delicious.

  14. #
    Tiffany — August 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    The basil chocolate combo is RIGHT up my alley!

  15. #
    Sandra — August 25, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Super creative!

  16. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — August 25, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Thanks Sandra! It's amazing what happens when you have the right ingredients and some guts to try them out! 🙂

  17. #
    upforachallenge — August 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Just made them this morning! I could eat the whole batch myself!!! Sooo delicious!

  18. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — August 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    upforachallenge~ I'm so glad you tried them! Thanks for leaving feedback! 🙂

  19. #
    Tres Delicious — September 6, 2011 at 5:34 am

    wouldn't mind trying this out looks delicious. Love the photos, they really look good. I'll get back to you on how it went.
    By the way feel free to check out my site am offering a free lunch bag this week 🙂

  20. #
    Mrs. Dirty Dishes — September 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I just made these for breakfast and was surprised at the combo of basil and chocolate! These have such a beautiful look and give an everyday breakfast a very gourmet feel! Thanks for sharing! I want to try a basil chocolate cupcake now!

  21. #
    Keri and Neal — October 2, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Tried these out this week and loved them! The basil and chocolate combo is refreshing and oh so yummy! Will certainly make these again.

  22. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — October 2, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Keri and Neal… I'm so happy you tried these! I knew the concept of chocolate and basil would sound strange to some… but I knew there were darring cooks out there that would try it! Thanks for coming back and leaving feedback! 🙂

  23. #
    Karma — April 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I made these this morning and they are DELICIOUS! I did not have wheat flour so I just used all purpose, but they still turned out well. I love the combination of flavors. Thanks for the recipe!


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