This year, there will be about 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards sent to loved ones throughout the world. About 85% of these cards will be sent by women. With each passing year, it seems like finding the perfect card for Valentine’s Day, or any holiday for that matter, has become an increasingly difficult task. At the end of my grocery trip, I often find myself stuck in the greeting card aisle for 20-30 minutes, my shopping cart practically abandoned, as I read through card after card, trying to find something remotely relevant, genuinely funny, or somewhat meaningful. Nine out of ten times, all I have to show for my time spent searching is a card for a holiday that occurs in eight months and a half-gallon of melting frozen yogurt.
Fanny Fern famously said "The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach." Recognizing this, rather then spend 20 minutes looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day card, wouldn’t it make more sense to dedicate this time to whipping something up in the kitchen that says "I love you", thus combining the greeting with the eating? Let’s face it, although the card will be appreciated, the surprise breakfast of delicious heart-shaped pancakes will stay with your Valentine, via their happy stomach, all day long (or at least until lunch).
Many times, recipes like this will require that you use a special mold or form to shape the pancakes. I find that the heart shapes look just as nice when piped by hand, leaving you with fewer utensils to clean up. It also allows you to make hearts in all shapes and sizes, for your Valentines of all ages and appetites! Here are a few tips for pancakes that will win their hearts:
- You can substitute whole wheat flour for the buckwheat flour if you don’t have on hand, or you can use regular flour for the entire amount (1 1/4 cups). Buckwheat flour can usually be found in the organic or health foods section of the grocery store, but occasionally it can be found in the bulk bins.
- Instead of serving the pancakes with maple syrup, you could serve them with powdered sugar, whipped cream, or fruit puree.
- For extra-sweet pancakes, replace the blueberries and bananas with chocolate chips. Drop several chocolate chips onto the heart shape after piping it onto the griddle.
- If you don’t have a piping bag and tips for making the heart shape, simply fill a large zip top bag with the pancake batter and then snip off a corner to make an approximately 1/4 inch diameter opening.
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus additional for brushing griddle
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup fresh blueberries (optional)
1 thinly sliced banana (optional)
Pure maple syrup for serving
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with one cup of milk and the melted butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, adding the additional 1/2 cup of milk if the mixture is too thick.
Preheat the oven to 200F degrees. Heat a griddle over medium high heat and brush with some melted butter. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 inch plain round tip with batter and twist the end of the bag to secure. Working in batches, pipe heart shapes on the griddle, filling in the center by drawing a large "V" inside the border. If desired, drop blueberries and/or banana slices on top of the batter.
When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, about 2 minutes, flip them over. Cook until the pancakes are browned on the bottom and cooked through, 1-2 minutes longer. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter to the griddle for each batch, keeping finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the oven until ready to serve. Serve with warmed maple syrup and berries.