Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sick Day

On Friday both girls had sore throats, stuffy noses and coughs. I decided to keep them home, presumably so that they could rest and regain their health... or barring that, to keep them from spreading the germs to the entire school!

Since throats were scratchy, I wanted to make something soft for a late breakfast. Gwen is a pancake fanatic, so it was an obvious choice. But how can a Mom make it extra special?

I'd seen somewhere that you could use metal cookie cutters to create shaped pancakes and decided to give it a go. I whipped up a batch of our favorite buttermilk pancake mix from my tried and true copy of The Joy of Cooking. Vinegar and milk stepped in for buttermilk, because, really, who keeps that around?

I pulled out my griddle, handed down from Grandma, got the butter melted and dug out the heart cookie cutters. I love cookie cutters, so I actually had many to choose from, but I figured snowmen or stars were less appropriate. Once the butter was sizzling, I placed the cutters on the griddle, poured in batter to fill them about 1/3 of the way and waited for bubbles to show on top and for the pancakes to rise. I flipped the pancakes, cutters and all, and waited for the other side to brown. Then I removed them to a heated plate and started again.

A couple of things I learned:

  1. Use metal cookies cutters that do not have handles on them. It blocks the shape when you try to add batter.
  2. Avoid shapes with intricate patterns or fluted edges. It's harder to remove the pancake later.
  3. Spray your cutters with non-stick spray first. You'll be able to slide the pancakes out more easily. Have a butter knife handy too, to trim "leaks" or remove the pancakes from the cutter. 
  4. A thick batter, like the buttermilk one I made, works better than a runny batter, like that for crepes. A thin batter will tend to slide right under the cutter. Having the griddle nice and hot helps too, because the pancakes set the shape faster.
  5. I let the pancakes cool for a bit before removing them from the cutters. While they cooled, I did a batch of normal round pancakes, which I froze for later. I just alternated back and forth until my double batch of batter was all used. You could also alternate rounds of different cutters.
When they were done I plated the pretty pancakes up on the plate with some maple syrup, a few rainbow sprinkles and a side of peaches. Yum! Even a sick day can be special!

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