Thursday, November 24, 2011

Product Review: Star Wars Pancake Molds

My family has a tradition of making pancakes on Thanksgiving morning. "Make Your Own Pancakes" involved my mom standing behind her electric griddle, surrounded by bowls of various toppings--nuts, pineapple, coconut shreds, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, crushed Andes mints...enough to make your teeth ache just thinking about it. Mom would pour out the batter (buttermilk, buckwheat, or ricotta cheese) and we would add the toppings--quite the smorgasbord for all of us kids. This tradition is so delicious and easy, I want to continue it with my little one, but this year he was too little to get near the hot griddle.

So it was with fortuitous good timing that I received a gift of Star Wars™ pancake molds for my birthday. I knew Thanksgiving morning would be the perfect opportunity to try them out, while carryong on a multi-decade tradition.

I mostly followed the recipe on the packaging, figuring that the folks at Williams-Sonoma had probably tested that particular batter with the molds. After one practice round, here is how they came out:

Not too shabby! With an extremely thorough coating of non-stick spray, I still had to jiggle the molds more than I expected to get the pancakes loose, so the edges were a bit jagged and the batter smooshed together if I wasn't extremely careful. Also, Darth's eyes form a point of weakness that breaks the pancake in half if jostled too much. But these are definitely recognizable! And with more practice, and perhaps a slight change to the consistency of the batter, I imagine they would come out even better. The main flaw is that if the pancake does not come out cleanly, then you have to wash or wipe down the mold after each batch of three pancakes, which slows things down a bit too much for me (especially with a hungry toddler running loose).

The recipe turned out to be delicious, reminiscent of the cakey pancakes served at my husband's alma mater. (Oh how I have missed them!) Here are the ingredients I used:

2 eggs, beaten
1.5 C bread flour
0.5 C white whole wheat flour
3 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
2.5 C buttermilk
4 T butter, melted
cooking spray for molds and griddle

The only differences from the original were doubling the vanilla from 0.5 t and using different flour: They called for 2 C all-purpose flour, but I wanted to try something a tad healthier. I couldn't even taste the whole wheat, so I plan to substitute a whole cup next time.

Overall, I would give the product a B+ grade. I think we will get a lot of use out of these over the years, especially as the little one gets older.

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