February 29th only comes once every four years so, of course, I had to mark the special day with some fun pancakes for breakfast. These super-cute leap-frog pancakes took me about 20 minutes to make. They would have taken less if I had used my typical mix, Biquick HeartSmart. However, I opened the pantry this morning and found none. So I did a quick internet search and found an everyday pancakes recipe from the NY Times. You can find the recipe here. I did not use the optional butter, but did add the sugar. Sometimes when I make pancakes from scratch I will substitute half the flour with whole wheat flour and would have done so this morning, except I am also out of whole wheat flour.
After mixing the batter, I added some green food paste that I purchased from Williams-Sonoma a few years ago. Unfortunately, Williams-Sonoma no longer carries this item. However, you can find gel food coloring on Amazon. You can definitely use the traditional liquid food coloring. However, I never find the colors of the liquid food coloring to be nearly as vibrant. Wilton also makes a gel food coloring in little pot and you scoop out the gel with a toothpick. Although Wilton’s gel coloring gives very vibrant colors as well, I find that the pots are a bit messy to use; and I always end up with colored fingertips when I use them.
I used my immersion blender to mix the green coloring into the batter. Usually with pancakes it is ok to have a few small lumps in the batter. However, if you are coloring the batter it is important to get as many as the lumps out as possible as the lumps will remain uncolored resulting in a spotty pancake. I have found the immersion blender gets rid of all the small lumps very quickly.
I always use my large griddle heated to 350 degrees when making shaped pancakes. The large flat surface helps the pancakes maintain their shape, and you can make multiple pancakes at once. I used my medium scoop from Pampered Chef and scooped 3 portions of batter to form a large oval for the head. I then use my small scoop filled about 3/4 full for the eyes. I love the scoops from Pampered Chef. They definitely are less messy and give a much more consistent size than using a spoon. However, you can definitely spoon the batter onto the griddle as well.
When the batter was bubbling over most of the pancake, I used an over-sized spatula to flip. When making larger, shaped pancakes it’s especially important to limit the number of flips as this is when I most often break the pancakes. If you don’t have an over-sized spatula, you may try using 2 spatulas (one on each side) to flip the pancakes.
After the pancakes were cooked, I sliced bananas for the eyes and used Nestle semi-sweet morsels for their centers. I used Nestle mini morsels for the nose. To make the mouth, I cut a piece of Red Vine Licorice in half length-wise with kitchen shears. I then cut the 2 long, skinny pieces in half at the centers. If you place the piece of licorice on while the pancake is still warm you can bend it a bit for a slight smile.
My kids loved this leap day surprise breakfast! I hope you love it, too! Happy Leap Day!