Why yes, those are chocolate pancakes you see pictured below. A certain three-year-old daughter of mine is about to turn four, and she requested them for the birthday pre-party we had today. (Last year it was chocolate waffles.) We like to draw birthdays out as long as possible in our family.
While chocolate pancakes might be unconventional, they were topped with the most natural pancake topping I know for this time of year: a berry sauce. My parents grow blueberries, raspberries, and multiple varieties of blackberries that bear fruit throughout the summer. My kids’ hands and shirts have been stained with berry juice since the day we arrived, and every day there are fresh baskets of berries waiting after my dad makes his morning rounds. This berry sauce, one of my mom’s specialties, was inevitable.
And yes, of course you can also make summer berry sauce all winter using frozen berries. I usually make it with blackberries, but today’s version was raspberry. The only real requirement here is that you whisk the cornstarch into cold water until smooth; if you add the cornstarch after the sauce is warm, it will clump. Weird, huh? Other than that, feel free to play around, you really can’t go wrong. Summer Berry Sauce: In a medium saucepan, whisk 1 Tb. cornstarch with 1/3 c. water until smooth. Stir in 1/3 c. sugar, 2 c. berries (fresh or frozen), and 1-2 Tb. lemon juice (to taste). Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick and bubbly.