If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to add even more excitement to your pancakes, I give you the cookie cutter - a cheap and effective way to create character pancakes your kids will love.
Pancakes make a delicious breakfast or brunch at any time of year, but with Pancake Day just around the corner, what better excuse do you need to whip up a stack - especially when they are shaped like dinosaurs?
In my simple four-step guide, you'll discover how easy it is to fry pancakes in a cookie cutter mould (yes, on the pan - gone are the days of cutting out shapes) and see what amazing results you get. Not only does frying the batter recipe in a mould eliminate pancake leftovers (because there are no offcuts), but it also means you get perfectly shaped, fluffy pancakes every time - be it dinosaurs, hearts, butterflies, perfect circles... the list goes on.
When trying this food hack at home we'd recommend keeping the frying and flipping to the grown-ups, however, the kids can certainly help with greasing the moulds, pouring the batter, and decorating the finished pancakes with their favourite pancake toppings. Although I'm pretty sure they'd settle for the job of taste testers...
How to make pancakes with cookie cutters
To make these pancakes I used GoodtoKnow's Scotch pancakes recipe. I chose this recipe because I wanted a thick batter that wouldn't run under the cookie cutter and leak out when poured.
It also made for sturdy, thick, but fluffy pancakes that I knew would be easier to turn in the pan. You could certainly make these with an American pancakes recipe if you prefer.
In my opinion, a classic pancake recipe will be trickier to work with as it will cook very quickly and be more fiddly to flip. That being said, next time you make the batter why not experiment and let us know how you get on?
Before getting started you’ll need to choose your cookie cutters. These need to be metal as plastic ones will melt when frying. It’s also best to choose big, simple shapes without too many fine grooves. The more intricate the cutter, the more difficult it will be to get the pancake to cook evenly and to remove it from the mould.
I found a small palette knife and set of tongs the best tools for flipping the pancakes and poured the batter from a small jug, but you could simply spoon some batter in if you prefer.
You will need:
- 1 batch of pancake batter
- Oil for greasing and frying
- Selection of metal cookie cutters
- Non-stick frying pan
- Tongs and a small palette knife for flipping (optional)
- Syrup or toppings of your choice
Make your pancake batter according to the recipe you are following.
Liberally brush your cookie cutters with a flavourless oil such as vegetable or sunflower oil. You could also spray them if you have an oil spray.
Pour a little oil into your frying pan and add the cookie cutter, bottom side facing up. Pour in enough pancake batter to fill the mould and wait for bubbles to appear on the surface.
Using tongs and/or a small palette knife, flip over the cutter and gently push the cooked side of the pancake down to release it from the mould.
Allow it to cook for a minute or so then use the tongs to remove the cutter completely. Cook for a few more minutes until cooked through. If your pancakes are thinner the cook time will be less.
Repeat with the rest of the batter, greasing your mould each time.
Pile your pancakes onto a plate and decorate with your chosen toppings. I went for golden syrup and some chopped peanuts but chocolate and berries would be delicious too.
What is the best type of cookie cutter to use on a pan?
You will need to use metal, heat-resistant cookie cutters. Basic, big shapes are the easiest to fry the pancakes in but as your confidence grows you can experiment with more intricate shapes.
Is there another way to make pancake shapes using cookie cutters?
If you only have plastic cookie cutters, fry your pancakes in the pan without a mould. Once cooked on both sides, transfer the pancake to a chopping board and use the cutters to stamp out shapes from the pancakes.
This is a fun and easy activity for kids and the offcuts make great chef’s perks!
Should I grease the cookie cutter with oil or butter?
I find it easier to grease with oil because it’s already in liquid form and can be brushed into the grooves of the cookie cutter with a pastry brush.
If you want to grease with butter you will need to melt it first. For the pan and cooking the pancakes, butter will provide a nice flavour, but it has a lower smoke point compared to oil and could burn more easily during the cooking process.
What I used in this feature and where you can buy it
I'm long overdue for a new non-stick pan and if I were to buy a new one, I'd choose something like this pan from ProCook. The non-stick coating will enable you to use less oil and cook the pancakes with the confidence that they won't stick. It is compatible with all hob types, including induction, and comes with a 10-year guarantee.
My nephew is obsessed with dinosaurs so I thought I’d experiment with some dinosaur cutters. I had great success with the more basic shapes such as the brachiosaurus, spinosaurus, and dinosaur head.
This little jug has a great pouring spout which makes it easy to precisely fill the cookie moulds. You can read the measurements from the side or above, making it very handy when baking and cooking and it’s easy to clean.
For more pancake inspiration, we have recipes for savoury pancakes if you fancy serving them for lunch and dinner too. As well as popular Joe Wicks pancakes, healthier wholemeal pancakes, and air fryer pancakes too.
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Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.
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