Spontaneous Carob and Date Pancakes

June 1, 2008


If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.” 


Thanks, everyone, for all your wonderfully supportive and encouraging comments about the osteopenia diagnosis.  I’ve been boning up on the topic (sorry-ouch) and have some great recipe ideas to share in the next while (and even one today).  I’ll also get to my responses asap. . . sorry I’ve fallen behind a bit!

Last week, out of nowhere, I made a monumental resolution.  Flushed with excitement, I rushed home from work and announced to the HH, “I have a great idea. I think we should be more spontaneous from now on.”

He appeared flummoxed (this happens all too often when I make my pronouncements, it seems). “Okay, so now we’re making plans to be spontaneous?” 

Hmmn.  I SO hate it when he’s right.

“Well, how about this, smarty pants?” I countered. “I went grocery shopping today and I spontaneously bought these overripe tomatoes on sale, even though I had no specific plans to cook anything with them.”  Touché!

“Oh, well, then, that settles it,” he capitulated.  “You’ve convinced me. Okay, let’s go to Paris for dinner!’ 

Foiled again. But did he have to look so darned smug about it?

Well, this past weekend, I am proud to say, I did manage some spontaneous fun.  My friend Eternal Optimist rang me late Friday afternoon with an invitation for the HH and me to attend a show at the local Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club–to which she just happened to have free passes! 

Well, without a second’s hesitation, I told her, “Um, I’ll just have to call and check with the HH to be sure he hasn’t booked anything else. Oh, and then I’ll have to walk The Girls. Oh, and feed them. Oh, yeah, and after that, I’ll just finish cooking tonight’s dinner before I wrap up a few things for work–but hey, if I can manage to get all that done before the show tonight, then heck, YEAH! I’M THERE!” Whoo-hoo!  I love this unfussy, impromptu, last-minute socializing!

Okay, I’ll concede that I may not be the most spontaneous person in the world–but with good reason.  In the faraway days of (non-alcoholic) wine and roses–in other words, high school–my best friend Sterlin was sleeping over at my house one late-October weekend when my parents were out of town.  As we sat, eyes transfixed on the TV (I think Dallas was on), our friends Gary and Jackie dropped in unexpectedly (how spontaneous of them!).  They invited us out to the local Dunkin Donuts.  It was late; we were tired; but then, they made us an offer we absolutely could not refuse:

“Okay,” Jackie challenged, “If you two come out right now as you are, the donuts and coffee are our treat. ”  Had we heard correctly? TREAT? No matter that our garb at the moment was our flannel nighties; no matter that it was 11:15 PM; FREE donuts?  FREE coffee?  We flung a blanket round our shoulders and hopped in the car!

Once there, of course, the rules changed (these were, after all, seventeen year-old boys.)  “Okay, we’ll still treat you,” Gary announced, “but you have to go in there without us and buy the donuts.” In our nighties. With a blanket wrapped around us. Would we possibly be that gullible?  Well, we were, after all, seventeen year-old girls.

I’m sure you’ve guessed the end of the story.  The second we exited the car–scree-eech!–they were off like–well, like two seventeen year-old boys in their father’s car.  And we were left abandoned, streetlights trained on us like the spotlight at a prison lineup, at 11:30 at night, in the middle of Dunkin Donuts’ parking lot, wearing flannel nighties and a blankie.

So you see why I’m perhaps a bit spontaneity-shy these days. 

Despite my adolescent trauma, I did end up joining the EO on Friday–solo, as it turned out, since the HH was felled by a major cold and didn’t feel up to it.  It was actually a most enjoyable evening: the show was hilarious and I really appreciated being able to share some long overdue “Gal Time” with my buddy.

This morning, browsing through my Google Reader subscriptions, I came across this mention of Dreena Burton’s Carob Pancakes on Trust My Intuition’s blog.  The description of these was so enticing that I decided–entirely extemporaneously!–to whip up a batch of my own devising. I vaguely remembered learning in nutrition school that carob is (surprisingly) high in calcium; so, with my newfound attraction to all things spine-supporting, I threw together a combination that was both appealing and brimming with bone building nutrients. 

The resulting pancakes were extraordinarily light and fluffy, with a cakelike texture (versus the sometimes damp, heavy griddle cakes you’re served in restaurants).  Carob on its own is slightly sweet, so you may not feel the need for maple syrup on these; in fact, we had ours with syrup, and I could easily have omitted it (if you spread with almond butter instead, you’d be adding even MORE calcium!).  The carob flavor is subtle and melds beautifully with the soft pockets of sticky, luscious date.  (and don’t worry–even if your dates are stiff to begin with, the cooking process will soften them). For nutritional info, see my calculations after the recipe instructions.

I adored these pancakes.  Made with carob, they were even safe for The Girls to taste a bite or two. (“We loved those pancakes, Mum! Let’s have pancakes every day!”) Unfortunately, the poor HH couldn’t really taste these at all, since his congested sinuses have dampened his sense of smell. (“Sorry Dad’s sick–but since he didn’t like them, can we eat his, then?”) 

I may not be having dinner in Paris any time soon, but here in Toronto, these made one very delicious–and spontaneous–breakfast. One that would beat Dunkin Donuts, any day.

Carob and Date Pancakes


Feel free to change the fruits in these cakes if you prefer something else.  Next time, I’ll likely make these with chopped prunes, as I’ve been told they’re also good for improving bone health (thanks, Andrea!)  P.S. When I said these are light and fluffy, I meant it–that’s only 3 pancakes in the photo, above!



17 Responses to “Spontaneous Carob and Date Pancakes”

  1. Romina Says:

    The extra calcium is such an incentive to consume more carob especially in the form of a pancake!

    That stack of pancakes looks heavenly!

  2. VeggieGirl Says:

    “boning up on the topic” – haha, love it :0D

    CAROB!!! DATES!!! You’ve won ME over with those pancakes, for sure; and hooray for higher calcium!

  3. Tinker Says:


    I’ve been reading your blog and am always amused by your posts and the dogs… (My cat rules my blog).

    Those pancakes look delicious – I’ll have to try them next weekend for my weekly pancake fix. Yum.


  4. Johanna Says:

    Wow I thought there were about 8 pancakes in that stack – love a light and fluffy pancake – I would like to hear that if I substitute cocoa powder for carob that it would have as much calcium but I suspect that is wishful thinking

    And I cringed at the duncan donuts story – i think it might have been a long time before I showed my face at duncan donuts again – kids can be so unkind

  5. Vegan_noodle Says:

    I always think I need to be more spontaneous as well… carob and date pancakes for breakfast sounds spontanous and exciting (not to mention delicious) to me!

  6. magpie Says:

    Those look delicious. I think I might try them with blueberries… Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  7. Celine Says:

    please, make me breakfast soon? fankoo.

  8. shellyfish Says:

    Throwning caution to the wind (so to speak) I made your awsome raw bars- and, because it was unplanned, I didn’t check to be sure I had all ingredients, and replaced the dried cherries with, get this, prunes! They were amazing, super sweet (didn’t put any agave), and held together really well. I hope to post on them- linking you- soon.
    I found this: http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/healthy-food-more-love-for-veggie-calcium.html
    and wanted to share!
    Loved the story!

  9. Mihl Says:

    I am a bit late but I only wanted to let you know that I am very sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

    It’s so great that you share your delicious and calcium rich recipes with us. I instantly need to buy a new box of carob!

  10. Dreena’s carob pancakes are really good! Yours came out so well — I love how thick and fluffy they are, and the dates must have been awesome in them.
    Awww, I’m sorry the HH was poking fun at your idea to be more spontaneous. I thought your spontaneity was a good idea, one that I need to take to heart! I can be too inflexible at times. The Dunkin’ Donuts story made me laugh, but I’m sure it wasn’t too funny at the time. 🙂

  11. Lisa Says:

    I’m really enjoying your use of dried fruit lately! I usually always have some on hand. In fact, I think I’ve been eating more dried fruit than fresh lately. Another winning recipe.

  12. Terrible, terrible pun… but you made up for it with the gorgeous pancake photo!

    For a sample of those pancakes, I’d happily change my name to the Carob-covered Vegan!

  13. Courtney Says:

    Yum–I love dates and spelt…I am going to have to plan to make these soon! Although I did not have an experience like yours (I cannot believe that!), I am definitely the least spontaneous person I know. In fact, it is a family joke how un-spontaneous I am!

    By the way, I made your lara bar bites (sorry, I can’t remember what you called them exactly!) over the weekend (as planned), and they are amazingly addictive! Wow. I think the co-op people are going to start calling me the crazy date nut girl because I have been back twice since Saturday to buy more of each to make more treats! Thanks for the awesome recipes!


  14. Deb Schiff Says:

    I am so impressed with your pancakery! Oh so fluffy. Like lovely caroby, fudgy clouds. I can only imagine how wonderful they were, dates and all.

    It really reads very close to a cupcake recipe. Wonder what would happen if you added a bit more sweetener, used a bit less milk, and added a bit more carob powder, then poured the batter into cupcake cups and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes.


  15. atxvegn Says:

    I think I was either a victim or a perpetrator of a prank like that a LONG time ago!

    Those pancakes look lovely!

  16. Ricki Says:

    Carob is yummy in any context, but it is a bonus that it’s high calcium!

    I did think of you when I was cooking these. . . glad to add to the list of carob recipes!

    Thanks so much for your comment and for visiting my blog! The link you provided looks terrific. I’m going to try it out next time! 🙂

    Thanks so much for commenting! Glad you enjoy the site. I really liked the look of your blog as well, and see lots of recipes I can try. Looking forward to it! 🙂

    I realized the photo somehow made it look like lots more pancakes (the way they were cut, maybe?) so wanted to clarify. I think cocoa would taste great, actually. As to the DD story, well, we were kids, right? And I forgot to mention that they only left us there long enough to cause panic–then drove around the block and came back to get us!!

    Vegan Noodle,
    I’ve always wanted to visit Texas, so maybe one day I’ll spontaneously drop in and we can share a batch! 😉

    Glad they appeal! I think the original recipe (the one from Dreena) had blueberries. ..but since I don’t have that cookbook yet, I’m not sure. They would be a good addition, though! 🙂

    How about cookies traded for breakfast? (I think I’d get the better deal . .. ).

    What a fabulous idea–I LOVE the addition of prunes here! (And besides, they’re great for bones. . .). Thanks for the link, too–looks terrific and I’m going to set aside some time to look at it in detail.

    Thanks so much for your kind wishes. And glad you like the recipe (and I think it would work with cocoa,as Johanna suggested, too. ..).

    Ruby Red,
    I really think I need to get Dreena’s latest book, with all the good feedback I’ve heard! (And yes, the HH pokes fun at me all the time. . . but it’s all in jest, so it’s okay. I have lots to poke fun at, too!). RE: the DD story, no, not funny at the time, though at least they didn’t leave us stranded indefinitely!

    Funny, I didn’t realize how much dried fruit I’d been using till I read your comment! But yes, I suppose I’ve been trying to empty out a container of dates that’s getting a bit TOO dry. Glad you like this one!

    Ha! Sorry about the pun; couldn’t help myself. Happy to provide pancakes (and that way, at least your acronym wouldn’t have to change!).

    Thanks! And “crazy date-nut girl”–love it. Glad you (and the coop) liked the recipe!

    Aww, thanks! Well, I guess any baked good would be a variation on the same ingredients, so these could certainly be made into cupcakes somehow. Let me know if you try them out that way! 🙂

    You? A perpetrator? Can’t imagine. . . (though of course life was quite different for me, too, way back when). Glad your mature self likes the pancakes!! 😉

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