If you’ve been seeing people on Instagram and TikTok eating tiny pancakes by the spoonful, welcome to one of quarantine cuisine’s most popular recipes.
It’s called pancake cereal, and it’s basically exactly what it sounds like: People are mixing up pancake batter, pouring lilliputian dollops of it on griddles or in frying pans and then serving it in bowls. These haute hotcakes offer a creative mashup of two breakfast mainstays that both celebrates and pokes gentle fun at the present moment of kitchen desperation.
We’re craving comfort foods in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and pancakes and cereal both make that list for many people. Lots of folks have childhood memories of eating pancakes only on weekends, or on special occasions like snow days, because there just isn’t time to make them in the morning while the family’s scrambling to leave for school and work. Having breakfast for dinner also is a sentimental favorite for many people for the same reason. And many practical parents are building cooking instruction into at-home science lessons, because cooking is a great way to learn about precise measurements, heat properties, chemical reactions and other STEM concepts.
No-Cook Cooking cooks, of course, love the concept of something that’s easy to make at home but right on trend. Pancake cereal can stay classic and breakfastworthy if you decide to top your fun-sized flapjacks with maple syrup and melting butter. It also can take on a dessert-like decadence if you add chocolate chips, blueberries, bananas or peanut butter bits from the baking aisle to your batter and sprinkles and whipped cream on top of the warm pancakes.
It’s the kind of food trend that nutritionists dread, however, and if you discover at your next doctor’s visit that you’ve packed on a pound or two during the stay-at-home and safer-at-home mandates, don’t be surprised if you’re asked if you’ve been eating this kind of culinary indulgence. If you’re tempted to try pancake cereal, make sure you step up your at-home workouts.
Recipes abound online, so you can take as elaborate and refined approach as you’d like. A true No-Cook Cooking cook probably would choose a stress-free pancake mix instead; some brands even come in little bottles, so all you have to do to blend the batter is add water and shake. If you’re making pancake cereal as a way to entertain young children and help them see the kitchen as another stage for creativity, shaking the firmly sealed bottle may be a job they’d be happy to try.
Some online recipes suggest mixing your own batter and then pouring it into a plastic bag, which you’d carefully seal before snipping a tiny hole in one corner and piping the petite pancakes into the frying pan. Older children may have fun piping the batter from the bag and creating their own shapes in the pan. Keep in mind that if you’re using the piping method, the hole in the corner of the bag will need to be large enough for any berries or chocolate chips to clear, and yet still small enough to keep the pancakes tiny enough to eat with a spoon. Remember, these are quite small; if your grandmother proudly served you “silver dollar pancakes” back in the day, those are larger than pancake cereal size.
Is pancake cereal here to stay? It’s too soon to tell. But family memories are made from bragging rights and hilarious missteps alike, so, while you’re still spending more time than usual in the kitchen, give yourself permission to flip out.