*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.
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
½ cup dark or milk chocolate chips or chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (optional, to smooth the chocolate chips)
Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
1-2 mangos, or your favorite fruits
Small star cookie cutters
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.
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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