Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes (Soaked)

January Vertical

by Anna Harris, Contributing Writer

Meet a toddler’s breakfast nirvana and a mama’s healthy breakfast solution, fluffy buttermilk-soaked pastry wheat pancakes studded with winning bits of chocolate, flavored and enriched with classic pancakes additions of vanilla, egg, and butter. (To read more about the soaking method used in this recipe, read here.)

I realize that chocolate chip pancakes are not anything close to sophisticated cuisine.  To some of us they might not even sound remotely desirable. My three-year-old son, however, would beg to differ, as these are his weekly breakfast staples. It’s likely that as mamas (and some of us have grandiose visions of what the family meal table should look like-Eggs Florentine over homemade sourdough English muffins, Spelt Crepes filled with creme fraiche and local berries, Coconut Granola with home cultured yogurt-that sort of thing) we have the highest hopes for diverging our children’s palates and to nourish every cell of their tiny, developing bodies. I know that for myself, this is indeed a fierce longing.

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Additionally, I was raised in a food-centric, large,  and ravenous family where the notion was held that a cleaned plate was akin to godliness and wasting or throwing food away was practically a crime. So you can imagine my befuddlement when our second-born not  only showed little interest in food but was very (to add insult)…picky! I tried training, coaxing, allowing my toddler to get hungry, nothing much seemed to interest him in my whole-raw-milk-honey-drizzled-yogurt, or eggs,  perfectly raised yeast and sourdough breads, or even the soothing simplicity of warm oatmeal. I confess I even tempted him with store-bought cereal, the brightly packaged, fruity “kids” yogurt, and organic pop-tarts with no success at incurring a voracious manly appetite.

My whole being was perplexed and distressed because my tiny man truly is small as well, Elliot has spindly, long limbs left unpadded by even a hint of baby chub. It was as if he always had something more exciting to do, as if it were such a chore to sit down and eat. I believe the turning point was with these pancakes, being both sweet and easy to chew, something he could quickly recognize. He began to consistently eat breakfast with very rare conflict. For months at a time I fed him pancakes, with both a sigh of relief that he was being fed with the sustaining combination of whole grains and fats but also with a sigh of acceptance at his quirk of being absolutely ok with hardly any variety, something my own soul regularly craves.

It might grate on my butter-devoted nerves when Elliot balks at the sight of a golden pat melting across his single pancake, but oh! it brings me joy and relief to see him fed for the morning and his plate forked clean.  I also smile knowing that I can at least fry those pancakes in coconut oil or butter until the edges are so crisp they crackle at the bite and that he loves when we pour a trickle of real maple syrup atop. While those wonderful foods together (I am referencing my experience as a Trim Healthy Mama ) may not be the friendliest to my mama waistline, they are absolutely sublime for fueling my whippet-thin toddlers.

Practically speaking, I don’t whip up a batch of these fresh every day, becoming a veritable short-order Betty Crocker for my young ones fickle appetites, I typically will make a batch every week though, wrapping extras and storing in the fridge to pull out for the following mornings. We have a very loose rotation of simple and generally frugal breakfasts. Here are some of them.

Inexpensive & Healthy Breakfast Options

  • Overnight soaked oatmeal with toppings of butter, maple syrup, honey, raw milk, cinnamon, raisins, or walnuts.
  • I often will make of Trim Healthy pancake batter made of oats, cottage cheese, and egg whites for myself that sits in a half-gallon jar on a make-as-I-please basis.
  • Egg-based breakfasts, scrambled or fried, with or without homemade toast. (With eggs, as much as I adore them, my children just always think they taste better from our plates, which I guess is ok with me, as long as they are eating them.) Here is one of my especially nutrient dense scrambled egg recipes. 
  • Smoothies can be popular with the children when it’s warm, I can put loads of homemade yogurt, honey, and whatever frozen fruit we have, inside.
  • Super-simple favorites: A banana and peanut butter for Elliot, in particular.
  • Toast and pan-fried ham or bacon.
  • Leftovers, Eden and I are versatile and will happily eat leftover pasta (Eden) or leftover brown rice and quinoa (myself) along with leftover cooked vegetables and protein source. French toast using up odds and ends of bread fall into the yummy leftover category.
  • Just recently, my children also have been converted to enjoying vanilla-infused yogurt and toast. Perhaps this is due to the frequency yogurt is served in our house, they just can’t get away from it!

Since that critical point of my son’s toddler breakfast issues, we have come along way and he will eat what the rest of the family eats, even if it means us lending a hand in the momentous task of bringing the offending spoon to his weary mouth.

Soaked Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Recipe type: Breakfast/Brunch
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Kid-friendly and simple, chocolate chip pancakes that both offer traditionally-prepared grains and fluffy texture, fried generously in coconut oil for diner-crisp edges and deep nourishment.
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 2 tbs. butter, melted
  • 2 tbs. coconut sugar/sucanat
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ⅓-1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand with only 3 ingredients, also dairy-free)
  • Coconut oil, butter, ghee, peanut/sunflower oil for frying
  1. Measure sifted flour into a bowl, mix gently with buttermilk, allow to sit overnight.
  2. Whisk together vanilla, egg, coconut sugar, melted butter, add salt, baking soda, and baking powder, pour into flour mixture. Add chocolate chips and stir gently to combine.
  3. It's helpful to let the batter rest for 10 minutes before frying. Use a ¼ cup measure to pour out onto a heated, well oiled skillet or frying pan. Cook on medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges, flip and cook on the other side until cooked through and browned.

I will also note, that while our family seems to digest dairy with ease, this recipe is so simple to make dairy-free by substituting coconut oil and milk or almond milk and sunflower oil for the butter and buttermilk. Just be sure to include an acid medium along with your alternative milk (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar) or you could always use half yogurt and half water for nice results. Spelt, barley, or kamut flour can be substituted for the more domesticated pastry wheat as well.

Other Nourishing Gourmet Pancake Recipes: 

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Anna lives Buffalo, NY surrounded by a cityscape of both blight and hope. She receives inspiration from the next-door urban farm and loves nothing more than to spend a lazy summer Saturday perusing the lush stalls of a farmers market with her two lively children and husband. Cream and butter are two of her most adored ingredients. She is devoted to sustainable food sourcing and to encouraging others to find the links between simple, beautiful food and thriving health. Some of her major influences include Alice Waters, Sally Fallon, and the More-With-Less cookbooks. She enjoys challenging herself with serving large gatherings, living with intentional restraint, and engaging her children in the creative world of food. Above all, she values relationships and finds joy in bringing people together around the table. You can find her blogging at eastsidepicurean.com 


  1. Heather says

    Thank you for the recipe! I have a picky eater too! My two-year-old son Ben goes through phases where he’ll eat cheese, or peanut butter, or soaked oatmeal, or yogurt — and nothing else! I wish that he would chew and swallow meat, but he’s never done that, ever. We’ll see if I can interest him in these yummy pancakes!

  2. says

    While my husband is not a picky eater, I’d really like to feed him healthy pancakes that he can enjoy instead of just tolerated. These are going on the must try list!

      • Jen says

        I just made a fresh batch of buttermilk this week and I was happy to come across your recipe on Holistic Squid. I did end up using the organic whole wheat. They turned out wonderful, perfectly moist and cakey! My kids ate them with just a dab of homemade butter. They didn’t even ask for maple syrup! This will be my new go-to recipe for pancakes. Thank you!

  3. Aubri says

    I haven’t ever done soaked anything, but I made a double batch of these for my family. I used honey in place of the coconut sugar. My kids loved them! They were excited to see the chocolate chips! 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Amanda says

    Hi! I love your post-and your mention of trim healthy pancakes. I’ve been trying to think of a way to ‘soak’ the oatmeal in that recipe without sacrificing the waist-trimming benefits. What’s your take on this? I see you make it up in advance-I assume you refrigerate that. Do you add a splash of lemon juice or buttermilk? Thanks for your insight.

  5. Lien says

    It sounds like can use yogurt to soak whole wheat flour to make pancakes. Do I leave it out on the counter overnight at room temp . . .is that safe if I am feeding the soaked pancakes to my 1 year old? I read somewhere with yogurt, I should store at a warm temp for the soak . . .thought I can’t seem to find at what temp?


  6. Valerie says

    Just found your blog and am enjoying it very much! My question has to do with the soaking… when you soak nuts or whole grains before cooking, you throw away the water. But here you’re soaking the flour in the milk/yogurt and then using it. Isn’t this counterproductive? I realize there’s no way to soak flour and discard the liquid, but if all the anti nutrients are still there, is there really a point to soaking? Or is it because of the acidic nature of the buttermilk? I’m a newbie, so maybe I missed this information somewhere else.

  7. Adreana says

    This recipe is exactly what I was looking for! My daughter (18 months) is a picky eater, and loves pancakes and chocolate chips! We usually make buckwheat pancakes, and I recently wanted to try soaked pancakes, because Im always trying to reinvent our kitchen to make it more healthy! ANYway, Last night I tried soaking sprouted whole wheat flour for panckes, and they came out extremely runny. I dont know if this is because I used sprouted whole wheat flour? Ive treid looking for the answer online but cant find it anywere, maybe you know something about this?
    Regardless Im going to use the same flour for this recipe, so hopefully it turns out great!!

    ONE more thing, have you ever heard of tongue/lip ties? They are very commonly (undiagnosed) in children, and cause eating problems. Even the less severe tongue ties basically dont allow the person to lift the back of their tongue making it harder for them to chew…

    the symptoms are endless, some include if they store food in their cheeks, spit out food, or choke on food

    I hope this may help you shed light on your picky eater..

    peace &love


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