Lately I’ve started letting Phoebe “help out” in the kitchen: she was my devoted sous chef on last weekend’s pizza dough, and she singlehandedly added all the ingredients to a batch of zucchini muffins the other day. It definitely gets messy and undoubtedly takes longer than if I just cook something myself, but we have such a blast doing it. And the proud look on her face when we pull her creation out of the oven is so worth it. As Easter approaches, I thought it would be fun to meet-up with a few friends at Patricia’s Table, the amazing kids’ cooking school down the street from my house. Patricia’s vision is to empower children to express themselves through the art, science, and joy of cooking. She’s all about teaching kids where food comes from, and encouraging them to become more adventurous eaters by eating something they created themselves. For today’s class, we let the kids mix up and decorate the most adorable Easter Egg Pancakes, perfect for a hands-on holiday family brunch. Click through for the recipe and lots more tips on cooking with kids.
*photos by Buff Strickland
At Patricia’s Table, kids are taught that seasonal, local ingredients are not only good for the body — they’re also more delicious! For these hearty pancakes, the kids used freshly milled preservative-free whole wheat flour produced from nearby Richardson Farms (find them at the Austin farmer’s markets on Wednesday and Saturday.) In addition to organic dairy and eggs, we used cinnamon to enhance the flavor, which has tons of health benefits and is a flavor that most kids love. Patricia advises: “When cooking with younger kids, it’s helpful to measure the ingredients in advance so that their task is to pour ingredients straight into the mixing bowl!”
for these Egg-cellent Easter Pancakes*, we used:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup organic rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup organic whole milk
- 2 Tablespoons packed organic dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup organic whole milk yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
*recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Step 1: In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and cinnamon together. When measuring flour and oats, be sure to scoop and level — too much dries out the pancakes! Whisk dry mixture together to break up any clumps.
Step 2: In another bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Add brown sugar, vanilla and yogurt to egg mixture and whisk until it is lump-free.
Step 3: Make a a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir gently until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix!
Step 4: Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and coat generously with butter. Once hot, use a measuring cup to drop about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until the edges look dry and bubbles begin to form on the center or sides, about 1 minute. Flip and cook on the other side until cooked through, about 2 more minutes.
For each batch of pancakes, coat the griddle or skillet again with butter. If your kids haven’t reached the pancake-flipping age, let them be in charge of looking for bubbles… it’s a role that’s fun and keeps them involved in the cooking.
Young kids can “scoop out and level” the ingredients or cut soft fruit using a spatula knife— both help develop important motor skills. As kids get older, they can help measure dry ingredients, use cookie cutters to cut out pancake shapes, and even begin mastering basic knife skills with the right equipment. Here, Patricia shows Phoebe how to slice strawberries with this great child-safe spatula knife.
We used an egg-shaped cookie cutter to cut out these pancakes. You could also bend a circle biscuit cutter or use a knife to cut out an egg shape. Serve pancakes immediately with fresh whipped cream and fresh fruit to decorate.
Cora loved decorating her “eggs!” It was fun for the kids to get creative by arranging their fruit & toppings however they liked.
Asher knows that every great chef always tastes his food during the cooking process. He tried it a few times — you know, to make certain it was “just right.”
The moms in attendance had just as much fun. Our media director Kelly got to play sous chef and was subject to trying the toppings before they were incorporated into his masterpiece.
The pancakes are a hearty and filling start to Easter Sunday — especially when paired with bacon and fruit smoothies (we’ll be sharing the recipe for these cuties next week!)
Bringing kids into the cooking process makes it that much more likely that they’ll actually try new foods — picky eaters included! Little chefs at Patricia’s’ table are encouraged to taste their food — just like real chefs do! — to discover what they like or what they might change.
I stole Phoebe’s berries while she was preoccupied with the Peeps… which, by the way, were completely distracting from the cooking process. But definitely effective at getting everyone into the Easter spirit.
If you live in Austin, be sure to check out the fun cooking sessions and summer camps that are on the schedule at Patricia’s Table. Classes feature seasonal recipes using ingredients from local farms and their own backyard garden. Little chefs create each recipe from scratch, and each week will build on knowledge from the previous week.