batter up

Have you noticed an increase in expensive kitchen gadgetry for kids, like bendy man spatulas and mouse measuring cups? The aim is to make cooking fun for children. Hello! Put away the credits cards and just do this: Clean an empty plastic ketchup bottle and fill it with pancake batter.

The opening is perfectly sized for making funny pancakes. Before the ketchup bottle discovery, the most I could do to impress my toddler was drop two blobs of batter into the skillet to make a lopsided snowman. Now I can spell names and create turtles, flowers, puppy dogs, caterpillars and bunny ears (well, that one looks more like the “peace sign” hand gesture, but whatever). The point is, the sky’s the limit, almost.

Here are a few tips:

  • If you’re spelling a name in batter, write backwards so the pretty, golden brown side will be on top when you flip it.
  • Since the batter expands, it's best to stick to shapes with rounded features, avoiding sharp angles and triangles. Sadly, that means no kitty ears.
  • Use ¼ more mix than your recipe calls for. Otherwise the batter will be too thin to hold a shape.
  • To fill a standard 24-ounce ketchup bottle, use about 3 cups of batter.
  • Add a tablespoon a flaxseeds for a tasty health boost. Flaxseeds are a great source of Omega-3s, but they also add a mild nutty flavor to pancakes.