Kid-friendly "Blank Canvas" Pancakes + Crazy Creative Add-Ins Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: "Blank Canvas" Pancakes + Crazy Creative Add-Ins

Recipe: "Blank Canvas" Pancakes + Crazy Creative Add-Ins

"Blank Canvas" Pancakes + Crazy Creative Add-Ins

by Erin Fletter
Photo by margouillat photo/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
8 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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"Blank Canvas" Pancakes + Crazy Creative Add-Ins

Breakfast for Dinner! What's better, really? These pancakes remind us of Elvis Presley's favorite sandwich, mainly because that sandwich is composed of ingredients that work so well together. Still, you may not believe it until you try them for yourself: bananas, peanut butter, and bacon. They're kind of like our "Blank Canvas" Pancakes, although those specific foods may not be in them. Instead, we're tossing a whole lot of random ingredients into a simple pancake batter. Beyond that, it's up to you and your kid chefs to decide what you add to these! Apple, sweet potato, cheddar cheese, zucchini, olives—a pancake will take it all. Every culture has a pancake of some variety, and not all types are sweet. For example, the French have crepes, Koreans have pajeon, and the Japanese have okonomiyaki. In the United States, National Pancake Day is March 12. Have fun, and tell us what brilliant combinations you and your kids come up with!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

  • wet vs dry :

    to mix wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them: dry ingredients are flours, leavening agents, salt, and spices; wet ingredients are those that dissolve or can be dissolved (sugar, eggs, butter, oils, honey, vanilla, milk, and juices).

Equipment Checklist

  • Microwave (or saucepan on stovetop)
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Whisk
  • Skillet


"Blank Canvas" Pancakes + Crazy Creative Add-Ins

  • 3 T butter (or olive oil) + more for cooking pancakes
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/2 C milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 1/2C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1/2 ripe, mashed banana)**
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • Sweet add-ins (choose 3 to 4 for sweet pancakes):
  • mixed chopped fruit
  • honey
  • cinnamon sugar
  • coconut
  • pepitas
  • chocolate chips **(Omit for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY or sub carob chips)**
  • Savory add-ins (choose 3 to 4 for savory pancakes):
  • fried green onions
  • garlic
  • soy sauce **(Omit for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY or sub coconut aminos)**
  • sautéed shredded carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes
  • olives
  • lemon zest
  • shredded cheese **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY or sub dairy-free/nut-free cheese shreds, like Daiya brand)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

"Blank Canvas" Pancakes + Crazy Creative Add-Ins

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk. Substitute olive oil for butter.
  • Egg: For 1 egg, substitute 1/2 ripe, mashed banana.


"Blank Canvas" Pancakes + Crazy Creative Add-Ins

melt + squeeze + stir

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. Slice 1 lemon in half, squeeze the juice from half of it into 1 1/2 cups of milk, and stir to mix. Set the milk aside while you mix the wet and dry ingredients.

dry + wet + measure + mix

Measure and mix together 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. In a separate mixing bowl, crack and whisk 1 egg. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, the milk and lemon mixture, and the cooled, melted butter. Whisk wet ingredients until well combined.

add + mix + cook

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together until all traces of flour disappear! Then melt a tablespoon of butter or butter in a skillet. Drop 1/4 measuring cup of batter into the skillet per pancake and fry over medium heat until bubbles form at the top of the pancakes (the first one’s always a doozy!) Then, flip! Use more butter between batches of pancakes as you need it. Top with Crazy Creative Add-ins, or add them into the batter before you cook them.

Surprise Ingredient: Flour!

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Photo by WiP-Studio/

Hi! I’m Flour!

"Happy Baking, Friends! I'm Flour, and I'm a VIP (Very Important Powder)! I'm really quite useful (and humble). You can use me to make breads, cakes, cookies, crackers, crumpets, doughnuts, muffins, pancakes, pasta, waffles, and more. (Which is your favorite?) I can coat vegetables and meats before frying them in oil, and you can combine me with a fat to make a roux to thicken sauces and gravies. You can even make play dough and glue with me. Can you see now why I'm a VIP?"


  • Around 8,000 to 15,000 years ago, people discovered that they could crush wheat seeds between simple grindstones to make flour. 
  • When you grind cereal grains, beans, seeds, or roots (like cassava), they become a powder, resulting in flour. Some of the grains besides wheat that can be ground into flour are rye, buckwheat, barley, corn, oat, and rice. Other foods used to make flour are potatoes, acorns, mesquite, cassava, soybeans, garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), amaranth, and even bananas! 
  • Flour is the primary component of bread, and bread is a staple in many countries. Therefore, sufficient amounts of flour are critical, which has caused major economic and political issues at various times throughout history. 

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Before grains are ground into flour, they are whole pieces taken from a plant. 
  • Each kernel of wheat consists of three parts: the coarse outer bran layer (which contains most of the fiber), the germ, and the endosperm. The endosperm stores the grain's starch, a carbohydrate that the body uses to create energy. Other foods that contain starch are potatoes, pasta, and rice.
  • Whole-wheat flour is the result of grinding or milling the whole grain. It contains all three parts of the kernel—bran, endosperm, and germ.
  • White flour has been refined or polished and bleached to remove the bran. As a result, white flour has less fiber than whole-wheat flour and fewer nutrients, too.  
  • The word "flour" is originally a variant of the word "flower." Both derive from the Old French "fleur" or "flour," literally "blossom," and figuratively "the finest" (of the milled grain). 

How Flour is made

  • Flour is made in nearly every country in the world. 
  • First, farmers plant wheat seeds, and plants begin to grow. Then, when they are ready to harvest, farmers collect them with giant machines called combines. 
  • Combines cut, separate, and clean the wheat at the same time. The grain must be completely dry before storing, so farmers don't harvest it when it's rainy. 
  • Then, they transfer the flour to a mill (a building where grains are ground into flour), where a miller will oversee the grinding of the wheat grain into flour.
  • One whole wheat grain makes over 20,000 particles of flour!


  • Flour contains protein and is a significant source of carbohydrates.
  • Carbohydrates are a direct source of energy for the body. Our bodies first have to make some changes to the carbohydrates, but then they are quickly converted to energy by our cells.
  • Fiber helps to keep our intestines happy, feeding the good bacteria in our gut. Whole-wheat, unbleached flour is an excellent source of fiber.
  • Whole wheat contains essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
  • Organic, unbleached flour is the healthiest.
  • Wheat-free and gluten-free flours are vital to people who have celiac disease, wheat allergies, or gluten intolerance (or non-celiac gluten sensitivity). Varieties of gluten-free flours include those made from: almonds, amaranth, buckwheat, corn, garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soybeans, and teff. 


History of Pancakes!

Photo by Ahturner/
  • Archaeological evidence suggests that pancake varieties are probably the earliest and most widespread foods made from cereal grains. Prehistoric societies mixed dry, carbohydrate-rich seed flours with available protein-rich liquids, usually milk and eggs, and baked the resulting batters on hot stones or in shallow earthenware pots over an open fire. These early pancakes formed a nutritious and highly palatable foodstuff.  
  • Pancakes are a universal food found in some variations from Africa to Asia to Europe and South America. 
  • Globally, there are at least 100 types of pancakes. To name a few, they include crepes, blinis, latkes (potato pancakes), pajeon, æbleskiver, crumpets, galettes, okonomiyaki, milcao, and Dutch baby pancakes.
  • A pancake is usually a flat, round cake prepared from a batter and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. In some countries, it's thinner, more like a crepe, and in the United States, it's usually thicker and more fluffy. 
  • Most pancakes are quick breads; however, some use a yeast-raised or fermented batter.  
  • Pancakes can be sweet or savory. Depending on the region, pancakes may be served at any time, with various toppings or fillings, including jam, chocolate chips, fruit, syrup, or meat. 
  • In different parts of the US, pancakes may be called flapjacks, griddle cakes, hotcakes, or slapjacks. 
  • One man (and giant pancake fan!) ran a marathon while tossing a pancake every 2 seconds for a continuous 3 hours, 2 minutes, and 27 seconds!

Let's Learn About a "Blank Canvas!"

Photo by New Africa/
  • A "blank canvas" is the idea of a painter's canvas that is empty, waiting to be painted, and therefore, a chance for a fresh, creative start, full of opportunities. 
  • A related phrase is a "blank slate," which essentially means the same thing, although a slate would be something to write on rather than paint. 
  • In the ancient Roman Empire, the Latin phrase "tabula rasa," translated as "clean slate," referred to a wax-covered tablet used to write on that would be erased by melting the wax covering.
  • The philosophical concept of a "blank slate" originated with the Greek philosopher Aristotle who lived from 384–322 BCE. In his treatise (or book) "De Anima" ("On the Soul"), Aristotle writes about a "writing-tablet on which as yet nothing stands written." 
  • A blank slate brings to mind a classic but definitely more modern slate that can be erased (by shaking, not melting) to create something new: the Etch A Sketch!


THYME for a Laugh

How do you make a pancake smile? 

Butter him up!

That's Berry Funny

What do bakers give their moms on Mother's Day? 


THYME for a Laugh

What did the yeast say to the bag of flour? 

Come on! We knead to be serious!

Lettuce Joke Around

What dinosaur loves pancakes? 

A tri-syrup-tops!

Lettuce Joke Around

What's the best pancake topping? 

More pancakes!

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