I’m not usually one to go out of my way to make crazy holiday-themed meals. Yes, I will without a doubt use any holiday as an excuse to cook up a special meal, but it’s never specifically holiday themed. In other words, Christmas means quiche and champagne, not tree-shaped green pancakes with a piped chocolate star on top.
But this weekend, I got this idea in my head, and it wouldn’t leave me alone. So I knew I just had to see if that idea could translate to real life. And it did! Sort of. After one or two (or five) test runs.
When I was little, we had this crazy awesome Mickey Mouse-shaped pancake mold. Occasionally, if I was really good at whining and could charm (read: guilt) my Dad into making pancake batter, we would enjoy these mouse-shaped delights for weekend brunch. I have very fond memories of these mornings, and for some reason have been thinking about that pancake mold a lot lately.
This, combined with all of the heart-filled cupcakes I’ve seen on Pinterest lately put the idea in my head for a regular old pancake with a perfect pink heart in the middle. Plus, I have a set of two heart-shaped cookie cutters, and I don’t think I’ve ever used them (sorry, Mom) — this was the perfect opportunity!
Fancy brunches in bed always feel more celebratory and special to me, so I’d always much prefer a leisurely meal at home like this than a fancy dinner. Since Valentine’s Day is during the week this year, I plan to make these beauties the morning after instead. That way, they can be enjoyed (with Saturday morning mimosas)!
The best thing about this recipe? It’s super easy: Whip up a batch of your favorite pancake batter, divide the batter into two bowls, and add a few drops of pink or red food coloring to one of the bowls. Now, I just used Bisquick Gluten-Free this time around, but you can really use whatever recipe or mix you prefer. (My oat pancakes — minus the blueberries — would work great!)
Also, I chose to use regular food coloring, but if that’s not your thing you could easily use natural food dye, beet juice, strawberry purée, or even a tablespoon of cocoa powder (and a bit of extra milk) to one half of the batter for a similar two-tone effect.
Be My Valentine Pancakes
What You’ll Need:
1 batch pancake batter (I used Bisquick Gluten-Free)
2-3 drops red or pink food coloring (or your favorite healthier alternative)
2-3 tablespoons butter
Heart-shaped cookie cutter
Toppings to serve: maple syrup, strawberries, bananas, butter — your choice!
What to Do:
Make 1 full batch of pancake batter, and divide into two bowls. Set one bowl aside.
To the second bowl, add a few drops of pink food coloring, or whatever your dying-agent of choice is.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. The pan is ready when a few drops of water dropped onto the surface of the pan dance around before evaporating. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in the pan.
Place the heart-shaped cookie cutter in the center of the pan, and fill with one of the batters until the bottom if just covered (no deeper than 1/4 inch, about). (I made a few with pink hearts and white outlines, and a few with white hearts and pink outlines.)
Next, take the other color and carefully pour right around the edge of the cookie cutter. Do your best to get the batter to touch the cookie cutter, but you can also use your finger to spread it out a bit if you’re having trouble reaching the very edge. Immediately after the holes are filled in, remove the cookie cutter. The side that’s touching the pan should be set up perfectly, but soft enough that the edge of the heart will stick to the surrounding color. The side that’s facing up will be much softer and will blend together a bit more.
Once the first side is cooked (edges are firming up, bubbles appearing on the surface of the pancake), flip and continue to cook on the other side.
Serve these up with whatever toppings you prefer, and enjoy. (A mimosa on the side wouldn’t hurt, either!)
What’s your favorite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?