Serve up some cheeky, spicy Gingerbread Man Pancakes. Give them a few buttery apples slices to hug and drape them with sweet caramel syrup – it’s a holiday breakfast to enjoy all year round!
Gingerbread and spice and everything nice . . . oh, and pancakes. That’s what we want for Christmas.
Gingerbread Pancake men, that is.
Cooking with Meredith
Meredith and I cooked up a deeeeeelicious army of Gingerbread Pancakes for a treat this week. We served them with apple wedges sauteed in butter and cinnamon, creamy caramel sauce, and a few slices of crisp bacon. Mmm, lovely.
Making the gingerbread men shapes was a bit tricky in the beginning (but of course, somebody has to eat the duds!) It took a bit of practice to get the pancakes looking like people. The first few ended up as Gingerbread Aliens . . . but they got better. We practiced using a spouted cup to pour the batter into the pan and using a pastry bag.
Meredith got quite dexterous with the pastry bag after a bit. Not too many drips on the stove. I found it just as easy to use the spouted measuring cup.
The caramel sauce is easy peasy – just melt some caramels with cream and you have a luscious caramel syrup to drizzle over your little Gingerbread army. Those little beady gingerbread eyes and currant mouths drooled at the thought.
A handful of soft, buttery, cinnamon-kissed apple slices is a lovely counterpoint to the sweetness and spices of the pancakes and syrup.
Run, run, run, you Gingerbread Man, we’re gonna catch you and pop you in the pan!
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: To make these pancakes dairy-free, use a plant-based milk, omit the caramel sauce and serve the Gingerbread Pancakes with maple syrup warmed with a bit of cinnamon stirred in, and saute the apples in coconut oil instead of butter.
And of course, these pancakes can just be made in the traditional round shapes if you don’t want to fuss with gingerbread men. Serve them in a stack with the apple slices piled on top and the caramel sauce oozing down the sides for a delectable special holiday breakfast.
Gingerbread Pancake Men with Sauteed Apples and Easy 2-Ingredient Caramel Sauce
options for gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free
for the pancakes
- 1½ cups flour (or your favourite gluten free flour blend *see recipe below)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (click link for recipe)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten (or 1 chia egg * see recipe below)
- 1¾ cups milk (or dairy-free plant milk of choice)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons molasses (cooking molasses or blackstrap molasses)
- currants or chocolate chips for eyes and buttons on the gingerbread men
for the sautéed apples
- 2 apples
- 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil, for dairy-free)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
for the easy caramel sauce
- 24 wrapped caramels
- ½ cup whipping cream or light cream (if using whipping cream you may need another 1 or 2 tablespoons to thin it out if the sauce gets too thick)
Make the caramel sauce first so it can cool: If you use light cream the sauce will be a little thinner, but it thickens up as it cools. If you use whipping cream, the sauce will be thicker, you may need to thin it out a bit with another tablespoon or two of cream once it is cool.
Unwrap the caramels and place them in a glass measuring cup. Add the cream. Microwave on high for one minute, then stir. Microwave for another minute and stir again. The caramels should be about half melted. If they are still quite stiff, heat the sauce for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir the sauce until the caramels are almost totally melted, then stir them occasionally as they cool, until the sauce is smooth.
Or you can make the sauce on the stove – put the caramels and the cream into a small saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the caramels are almost totally melted, then remove the saucepan from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools, until it is smooth.
Make the sautéed apples: Cut the apples into quarters, then cut the core out of each quarter. Cut each quarter into 3 or 4 wedges. Heat the butter in a skillet until it is bubbling. Add the apple wedges and sprinkle them with the cinnamon. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, but not mushy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set them aside once they are cooked.
Make the pancakes: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk the egg (or the chia egg) with the milk. Add the oil, then the molasses (if you measure the oil in the tablespoon first, the molasses will slide easily out of the spoon). Whisk until it is all combined.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk or stir until almost smooth. There will still be a few small lumps – that’s okay.
Heat a skillet (non-stick works best) on medium heat. Spray it with cooking oil spray or coat it with a little bit of oil. Pour some of the batter into a spouted measuring cup or fill a piping bag with a ¼ inch round nozzle. It’s easiest to fill the piping bag if you set it, tip down, in a tall glass. Then have a bowl ready so you can set it in there between uses, with the tip bent upwards.
Pipe or pour the batter into the hot skillet in the shape of a gingerbread man. It’ll take a bit of practice, and the first few might look more like gingerbread ‘aliens’, but once you get the hang of it they’ll start to look better. Young children might just want to make round pancakes and add currants for eyes and mouth.
Place currants or chocolate chips gently on top of the batter to make eyes, or buttons, etc.
Flip the pancakes carefully once bubbles start to appear in the uncooked batter on top.
Makes about 12 gingerbread men pancakes (5 or 6 inches tall). Serve with a few wedges of sauteed apples and a drizzle of Caramel Sauce.
*Homemade Gluten-Free Flour Mix
- 1¾ cups (200gms) white rice flour
- 1 cup (170gms) sweet rice flour (also called Mochiko, or glutinous/sticky rice flour)
- 1 cup (120gms) tapioca starch/flour
- ¾ cup (105gms) brown rice flour
- ½ cup (70gms) sweet white sorghum flour
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
Stir all ingredients together very well, or place in a sealed container and shake vigourously until combined. Makes 5 cups gluten free flour.
*Chia Egg (Egg Substitute)
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) water
- 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
Grind the chia seeds in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or high speed blender. I like to grind about a half cup at a time and keep them in a sealed jar for future use.
Stir the ground chia seeds into the water in a small bowl. Let set for at least 5 minutes until the seeds are gelled. Add the ¼ teaspoon baking powder to the dry ingredients along with the other baking powder called for in the recipe.
See lots of other fun ‘Cooking With Kids’ posts here.
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