double chocolate crêpesPosted: June 10, 2011
I am only three posts into this blog, and two out of three recipes so far involve chocolate (and double-chocolate, at that). These are chocolate crêpes filled with Nutella. They probably don’t need much more of an introduction than that.
While these are certainly appropriate for a dessert, I made them last weekend for breakfast. During the week, breakfast is pretty much oatmeal (or “gruel”, as Mark likes to call it), because it is healthy and requires minimal effort from not my-yet-functional brain. I love breakfast foods though, so on the weekends I like to wake up in a more leisurely fashion and make more complicated and exciting food to start the day.
Crêpes are not really complicated, and they make wonderful breakfast food, because the batter must be made ahead of time. Any recipe you see for crêpes will (or should) tell you to let the batter rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This is, according to Harold McGee, the authority on the science behind cooking, so that the “proteins and damaged starch” (damaged from the mixing process) can “absorb water,” and also to let air bubbles out. This means that you can make the batter the night before, and then when you wake up, all you have to do is cook the crêpes.
Double Chocolate Crêpes
The crêpes themselves are not too sweet, but the Nutella adds the perfect amount of sweetness. The original recipe calls for Dutch-process cocoa powder, but I don’t see any reason why natural cocoa powder (what one generally finds in grocery stores) wouldn’t do just as well in this case. You can read about the difference between the two here. The only difference it should make in this recipe is that your crêpes may not come out quite as dark as the one pictured, as Dutched cocoa (which I used) takes on a darker, richer shade. They will still be delicious.
Makes about 16 crêpes
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
3 tablespoons (25 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons (45 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for cooking crêpes
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (175 g) flour
Nutella, or 1 cup (160 g) chocolate chips, or the same quantity of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
Combine the milk, cocoa powder, butter, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and warm, stirring from time to time, just until the butter has melted.
Put the flour and eggs into a blender, add the warmed cocoa mixture, and blend until smooth. You may need to pause to scrape down the sides of the blender. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or overnight.
When you are ready to begin the crêpes, take the batter out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature (maybe 20-30 minutes). Heat a 10- or 12-inch skillet (nonstick is easiest to use if you have it) over medium to high heat. When it is hot, add a small pat of butter, and wipe it around the pan with a paper towel to grease the pan. Pour in 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the batter. Swirl it around in the pan until the surface of the pan is evenly covered by the batter. Cook the crêpe 45 seconds to 1 minute. When the edges look crispy, gently flip the crêpe with a spatula. Smear a bit of Nutella (or sprinkle chocolate chips or chopped chocolate) over a quarter of the crêpe. Let the crêpe cook for about a minute on the second side. Then fold it in half, and then in half again (that way there will be Nutella in every bite!), and serve right away. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
If you can’t serve them the moment they come out of the frying pan, you can keep them warm on a baking sheet in a low oven as you finish cooking the rest. If you have leftovers, you can freeze or refrigerate them (depending on how soon you plan to eat them), and reheat them very briefly in a skillet, adding the Nutella or chocolate chips at this point. They won’t be quite as good reheated, but they will still be slathered in Nutella, so I can assure you they are thoroughly edible.
If you’ve never made crêpes before, it’s worth knowing that the first crêpe often doesn’t come out quite right, as you’re still working out the temperature and getting into the flipping routine. So if it tears or isn’t very pretty, don’t despair! It will still taste good; in fact I usually eat the first crêpe myself right away, so I am not ravenously hungry while finishing the rest.
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris