Let’s admit it—pancakes are fun. When my kids were small, we formed them into “shapes” with Mickey Mouse ears and chocolate chip smiles. Later I sculpted big flowers and long eared rabbits.
Now that my kids are teens, pancakes are still a hit, but today the fun comes from flavor. The chocolate chips that made up Mickey’s smile are still a favorite, but we’re also making fruit pancakes and even “gingerbread”.
I like to make foods from scratch but my pancakes come from a mix that is whole grain and 70% organic. I substitute an egg for the oil in the instructions which makes them healthier and lighter (because egg acts as leavening).
This alone is fun, but to make the effort really worthwhile, I make them en masse. Made by the dozen(s) and frozen between wax paper, pancakes can be popped into the microwave for a quick and easy breakfast that even a middle-schooler can handle.
Key to making mass production work in our household is creating variety. This means not making buttermilk OR chocolate chip pancakes, but rather buttermilk AND chocolate chip AND blueberry AND … Here is how to make this easy:
First, make up a large batch of plain mix which can serve as a base. It is extra work (not to mention dishwashing) to make up different bowls for each type of pancake, so I add any extras like chips or berries right in the frying pan. Drop the batter into the pan, and top each pancake with your add-ons (frozen berries, etc) before they set. Allow them to get firm before turning (this may require cooking at a slightly lower temperature) so the second side cooks quickly–any chips or berries that remain exposed can burn easily when flipped. Consider letting your kids bark orders, “I want banana this time,” which can add to the diner atmosphere and fun.
If we are feeling really adventurous I turn the final bit of batter into “gingerbread.” The amount left over varies, so I add molasses, ginger and cinnamon until it smells good. This is similar to adding seasonings “to taste,” but dipping into raw pancake batter is kind of like eating wallpaper paste, so tasting is clearly not happening (note that the FDA warns against eating raw or undercooked eggs…)
When my pancakes are done and the meal finished, I rest the (hopefully ample) leftovers on wire racks. When cool, I freeze between layers of wax paper for future breakfasts. No boring breakfasts in my house—and no more cooking before lunchtime ‘til next week!
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