Let me start with this disclaimer: I am not a chef. In fact, I am not even a very good cook. One thing I do seem to have knack for? Making things look pretty, and in the case of pancakes, fun! My kids are both picky eaters so I’ve spent years tinkering with their food like it’s Play-doh. Lately, I don’t even make the batter from scratch; I just pour it out of a bottle of Bisquick (best midweek breakfast hack ever!). All you do is add a cup and a half of water to the mix, shake it up and you're good to go. After the first day or so the pancakes may come out a little more like crepes than cakes, but my kids don’t mind. In fact, one of my daughter’s favorite moves is wrapping it up into a “pan-ito” (aka a pancake burrito).
These are all pretty simple designs. But since we all have a different level of comfort in the kitchen, I have ranked them according to difficulty.
Difficulty: One cup of coffee
1. Warm clarified butter (less likely to burn) in a pan over medium heat. Pour batter in pan in the shape of walrus (i.e. it should resemble a giant sea slug). If you have a squeeze bottle, that can help make the shape more precise. (I did the one above freehand.)
2. Reduce flame to low—this prevents butter from burning and gives you a nice pale golden color.
3. When bubbles form and pop open, leaving holes, flip pancake.
4. After pancake is done (about one minute), turn heat off and remove your walrus from the pan.
5. Use a blueberry for the nose, two almond slivers for the tusk and two chocolate chips for the eyes.
6. Pipe whipped cream below the walrus to represent the icy waters of Antarctica.
7. Use a slice of hard-boiled egg for the sun.
The Goji Bear
Difficulty: Two cups of coffee
1. Repeat steps 1-4 (above), making two round pancakes, one large and one small. The large pancake will be your Goji bear’s head.
2. Cut the stem off a strawberry and then slice it in half for the belly. Cut a thin sliver off the back so it lays flat on the plate.
3. Use a small knife to carve a tail out of a strawberry.
4. Cut arms out of your second pancake. Small scissors are great for this, but a knife will also do the trick.
5. Use blueberries for the nose and eyes. If you don’t want them to roll around, cut the berries in half and place the flush side against the pancake.
6. Use two raspberries for the feet.
7. Add lips and eyebrows with goji berries. If you don’t have these, raisins (or any dried berry) also works.
Easter Bunny (pictured at top)
Difficulty: Three cups of coffee
1. Repeat steps 1-4 (above) but only make one pancake. This will be your bunny’s head.
2. Use banana slices for the white of the eyes and the cheeks and the bottom of a strawberry for the nose.
3. Cut two blueberries in half and place them on top of the banana slices for the pupils.
4. Cut six small slivers of apple and place them on tip of the cheeks to make whiskers.
5. Use one small marshmallow for the teeth.
6. Slice a banana in half, lengthwise and use each half for an ear. Bend one of them gently near the tip to look like a floppy ear.
7. Make the carrot out of an orange slice and tiny pieces of green grapes.