Ahh, the bizareness of being a custodial parent every fortnight – your abode is something akin to KITT from Knight Rider – able to convert into many forms to house many (little) people, entertain and feed. It definitely calls for some creative housing and kitchen setups, planning and work before and during those precious visits.
But – who wants to spend that much time in the kitchen – and mealtime certainly shouldn’t be a battle, especially when you’d much rather be enjoying meals together than trying to feed multiple mouths.
Enter the pancake – it can’t go wrong – everyone loves (or at least likes pancakes) – they can be served for any meal, snack, are pretty much as good lukewarm or room temp as they are piping hot, and can be mixed (with the right mix) without anything that may cause allergic reaction (in the case of the little girl of the group – an allergy to dairy and soy products).
But who wants to be flapping jacks for 20 minutes on end, plus mixing time – hardly seems effective.
Enter the pancake muffin.
Originally an idea lifted from Pinterest this seemed too good to be true. The original pin was in fact too much hassle to be true (they wanted me to custom mix – from flour, baking soda, etc my own mix). That quickly got nixed, and instead I relied upon good old Log Cabin All Natural (which requires you to add your own egg, oil and (rice) milk) but is otherwise pretty simple. I’ve also done this with Bisquick with effective results (the mix itself isn’t as deep in flavor, but they turned out fine nonetheless). Any mix should do.
Once you’ve made your batch (a double batch for about 2 dozen) – simply pour the mix into a mini-muffin tray, slide into a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes (grease or don’t grease as appropriate for your tins). Fill these pretty much to the top – they don’t rise much.
After 15 minutes, pull out, check for doneness (I’m paranoid about this type of thing), pop out of the tin and either serve immediately (or better yet!!) make in advance, put into a sealed container with appropriate dividers (foil, parchment paper, saran wrap) and freeze. When you need them, pull a few out – put in the toaster or microwave and within minutes hot pipping pancakes.
Adding berries to the top of each mini-muffin void is quite lovely as well. What’s particularly fantastic – they can be made in down times (i.e. during post-lunch food comas) for a quick restock at any time, multiple batches can be made in series and adults love them too (they can experiment easily with various toppings without any major issue).