Before you heat the griddle, you are going to need the following:
· pancake batter (make your favorite or use a mix) in a bowl with a pour spout
· cookie cutters of varying shapes
· a squeeze bottle (like the kind you'd put condiments or icing in)
· an assortment of dried or sliced fresh fruit, chocolate chips, bacon, ricotta cheese, yogurt or whipped cream
· nonstick cooking spray
Now that you've got your shaped pancake necessities, it's time to get started. Heat your griddle, spray with nonstick cooking spray and start shaping.
Centipede pancakes are easy to make since they are a series of small round pancakes. Using a bowl with a pour spout or squeeze bottle, pour or squeeze small pancake circles in a row so they are touching. The batter will expand while it cooks and connect the circles to form a centipede. Carefully flip using a large spatula or two. Transfer cooked centipede to a plate and let your kids decorate with raisins for legs and a face.
Make classic round pancakes and decorate with whipped cream or ricotta cheese for hair (add fruit syrup for colorful hair, if desired), banana slices for eyes, a strawberry nose, and a smile made out of chocolate chips.
Using a bowl with a pour spout or squeeze bottle, make three pancakes: one large, one medium-sized, and a small. Place large pancake on the plate. Place medium-sized pancake on large pancake about an inch lower than center – this is the snout. To make the nose, place the small pancake in the center of the medium-sized pancake. Use 2-inch pieces of bacon as ears, blueberries as eyes and slivers of cherry for the mouth.
Cookie cutter pancakes are quick -- simply spray the inside of the cookie cutter with nonstick spray and place on the griddle. Pour pancake batter inside until it fills the space (don't overfill, a thin layer of batter is all you need). Let sit for a minute or until the edges set. Remove cookie cutter and use a spatula to flip. Give your kids an assortment of goodies to decorate and personalize each shape.
A squeeze bottle gives you the ability to make any shaped pancake you please. You can make letters that spell your child's name or some other significant word, create numbers to help them with their counting or signify their age, or make different designs, such as curvy lines or geometrical shapes. If appropriate, you can even have your kids squeeze their own shaped pancakes onto the griddle.
Shaped pancakes can be a weekly ritual that will make eating breakfast fun. Additionally, they are deliciously educational -- your kids get to work on their cooking skills, exercise creativity and learn shapes, numbers, letters and words.
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