These are a nice red color when finished, but not as vivid as the food coloring would produce–you can also cut back on the cocoa to preserve more of the color of the beets, but I like a light chocolate flavor. I consider the maple cream cheese essential, but of course these would also work with syrup. Here is the recipe:
Red Velvet Pancakes with Maple Cream Cheese
1 cup cooked, chopped red beets
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
8 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup (I like the darker, grade B for the flavor)
Place the beets and water in a blender and puree until totally smooth. Pour the puree into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, tablespoon of maple syrup, and vanilla.
Sift together the cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and flour, and stir the mixture into the wet ingredients. If the batter seems too thick, add a little more water.
Heat an oiled skillet over medium-high heat, and cook 1/3 cup measures of the batter until golden on both sides. Makes about ten pancakes.
For the maple cream cheese: use a fork to whisk together the cream cheese and maple syrup until fully blended.