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luxe and the lady

Squirrel Pumpkin Pancakes

*This post is a paid partnership with Disney Book Group. All words, images, and opinions are my own.

Is there anything better than a warm stack of pancakes to wake up to on a chilly fall morning!? How about if they’re made with pumpkin and shaped like the most adorable woodland animals inspired by Mo Willems’s newest book, I Want to Sleep Under the Stars!

My nephews love Mo Willems’s books. The characters, jokes, and illustrations are always so much fun (and packed with lots to learn as well)! I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! is the newest book in the Unlimited Squirrels beginner-reader series. Zoom Squirrel enlists his friends to help him make his dream of sleeping under the stars a reality. Of course, there are some hilarious mishaps along the way as his friends don’t get it right the first (or third) time, but you’ll have to check it out for yourself to see how they brilliantly make it work in the end, and to learn some fun facts about sleeping under the stars (plus, get quirky quizzes and acorn-y jokes. This book is seriously so fun for kids!)

Once you’ve finished reading, it’s time to grab a friend/parent of your own to create an edible version of this adorable story! These fluffy pancakes take only a few minutes to mix up, and then you can easily create the squirrel shapes with a little assistance from a squeeze bottle, and complete them with a swipe of melted chocolate for the details. Feel free to add in a sky full of your favorite fruit, and serve them with a side of syrup for dipping (you can also customize the toppings to suit your taste). Don’t worry if you’ve never made pancake animals before. I’m also sharing tips and tricks to easily achieve the right shapes before you use up your entire batch of batter :). Kids can join in to create the starry sky (using cookie cutters), and add the chocolate details after a little pancake assistance from an adult.

Ingredients: (makes 2-3 squirrel pancakes, depending on size)

Pumpkin Pancakes:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for cooking

1 squeeze bottle, or large zip top bag for distributing batter

Squirrel Decorations:

½ cup dark or milk chocolate chips or chocolate syrup

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (optional, to smooth the chocolate chips)

Chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Toothpicks

Wax paper

Kitchen scissors

Star Fruit:

1-2 mangos, or your favorite fruits

Small star cookie cutters

Star sprinkles

Helpful Tips:

Allow the batter to fully rest before cooking the pancakes. This keeps them super light and fluffy. Make sure you use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling (which already has sugar and other ingredients added). You can use oil in place of the butter if you’d like, but the final result will be a bit oilier and heavier. Kitchen scissors are your best friend when shaping pancakes! They can help you very easily trim any lumpy mess into a work of art :). You can skip the melted chocolate completely, and instead transfer the chocolate syrup to a second squeeze bottle to pipe the squirrel’s features onto the pancakes.

*Adults should help with all cutting, and cooking over hot surfaces.

Directions:

  1. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Add the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, milk, egg, vanilla, and melted butter to a high speed blender. Blend on medium/high for about 30 seconds until smooth.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk just until combined. The batter should still be slightly lumpy (you don’t want to over-mix).
  4. Allow the batter to rest, on the counter, for 10 minutes. While waiting, preheat your griddle or skillet to medium-high heat.
  5. Then use a measuring cup to help transfer the batter to a squeeze bottle. You can also use a zip top bag (you’ll just want to cut a small corner off to pipe the batter).
  6. Lightly coat your griddle or skillet with butter and squeeze the shapes onto the pan. You will want a medium size circle for the head, a large oval for the body, 4 smaller elongated ovals for the paws, 1 small circle for the ears (cut it in half to form the 2), and a long elongated oval for the tail. I found it easiest to work in sets – making just a few shapes at a time. It’s also better to make the shapes too big as you can use the scissors to trim them later.
  7. After piping the shapes onto the hot pan, allow them to cook for 2 minutes on the first side. Then use a silicone spatula to flip them, and cook for an additional 30 seconds on the second side. Remove and let cool slightly while finishing all the shapes.
  8. Once the pancakes are cool enough to handle, use the kitchen scissors to carefully cut each into the squirrel shapes using the image below as a guide. Transfer them to each serving plate and arrange (overlapping the body slightly with the head – just like in the next image).
  9. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil, in 30-second intervals at 50% power, in the microwave, until smooth and completely melted (stirring after each interval). Use toothpicks dipped into the melted chocolate to draw the large oval nose and small oval eyes onto wax paper. Carefully transfer to the fridge to set. You can also skip this step and use chocolate syrup instead or chocolate chips/wafers. Melting chocolate wafers would work great for the nose, and then you can use the smaller chips for the eyes.
  10. Place the nose and eyes on top of the pancakes, and use a toothpick dipped into more chocolate to draw on the smile and any other details you would like. Chocolate sprinkles can also be added to make the tail look extra fluffy (just dot on a little chocolate syrup or more melted chocolate to help them stick).
  11. Complete your pancake art with Zoom squirrel’s starry sky. Carefully slice your fruit into sections and use the cookie cutters to punch out as many stars as you would like. Arrange them around your squirrel and add the sprinkles for a bit of sparkle.
  12. Serve with a side of maple syrup for dipping, and any other toppings you’d like. Enjoy!

 

Leftover pancakes can be frozen for later breakfasts. Find I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! at Disney Book Group (along with other Mo Willems’ titles from the Unlimited Squirrels series as well as the popular Elephant & Piggie series). Unlimited Squirrels books combine non-fiction learning with hilarious squirrel stories, and help kids reach key milestones. They’ll go NUTS for Zoom Squirrel and his friends!

Please let me know if you try this tutorial, I would love to see your squirrel pancake art and to know how you enjoyed this sweet story :).

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