I love pancakes, I really do. In this house we celebrate with pancakes for occasions both big and small, birthdays, first days of school, last days of school, Tuesdays. I think I get my pancake making skills from my Grandpa Witte. My Grandma Witte is THE BEST in the kitchen, and the majority of the cooking was all her, but Grandpa would take over just to make pancakes on special mornings and they were seriously the best things on earth. I have so many special memories of sitting at their kitchen table in Iowa, the radio on top of the refrigerator playing music from the forties, waiting for those pancakes. I can still see my Grandpa standing there at the stove, carefully flipping them and taking his time till they were perfect. With the kids, I like to have fun with them, and it's a cute challenge for me to keep coming up with new ways to surprise them. I started using cookie cutters years ago for the pancakes to make shapes, and my family collects fun and new ones they see and sends them to me to see if I can create a pancake. It isn't always easy, I struggled with the dachshund pancake (that tail!) and the monkey wasn't all that easy either, but I prevailed. The trick is to put the batter into a squeeze bottle, like an empty chocolate syrup bottle that has been thoroughly washed out, and then you coat the inside of the cookie cutter with butter or cooking spray, that way the pancake can slip out once it is cooked on one side.
The squeeze bottle is the trick to making letter pancakes too. You can literally spell out anything, or make a variety of freestyle shapes with the squeeze bottle, it's so easy. Just be careful when flipping letters so the longer pieces don't break off. I usually have to hold part of them to flip.
Heat up the griddle with a pat of butter on it, using a flat griddle pan is best but you can use any pan, making sure to keep the pancake in the middle. The really tricky part is when to flip. Wait until there are just a few bubbles, then gently try to pull the cookie cutter up with some tongs. If it starts to go, pull it off and flip VERY carefully so you don't spill any uncooked butter, or let it cook a little without the cutter on it before you flip.
Once you get started making these it's hard to stop because they are SO easy and the kids get suck a kick out the fun shapes. If I'm feeling really ambitious I will make the pancake shapes into rainbow colors as well, and we usually decorate the pancakes with some sort of treat like confectioners sugar "snow".
This recipe is hands down the best pancake recipe I've ever come across, and I've been using it for years. I usually make mine with vegan butter and coconut milk now which is good for anyone who is dairy free, and they turn out amazing even without the dairy.
What I love most about making pancakes for the kids is that it has become a little family tradition for us, and even though they don't always come out perfect, we always enjoy them together.
I hope you all have a great rest of your weekend, and if you make any fun pancakes, send me a photo! xoxo