Well, this is a bit of a challenge we didn’t really expect to find ourselves having just yet, in-fact we were sort of (optimistically) hoping to have at least another 4-6 months before this issue came up!
Why We Chose This Recipe
Our little one, of almost a whole year old is getting extremely independent. So independent that she often – particularly at breakfast time refuses to be fed by anything or anyone other than her own two hands. This has become even more of a surprise and challenge to us because she still has no teeth, not one. She is all gums and saliva.
This has made meal times quite entertaining at times, watching our darling little girl try to feed herself with a spoon and mushy food and failing miserably. For anyone who has seen those photos of themselves as kids covered in food and laughed well thats how she looks most meal times now, except we only laugh until we remember we are the ones who have to clean it up (We have also found something else to be appreciative of our parents for!).
Whilst it can, at times be funny we have really stressed out sometimes because our little girl just doesn’t have the coordination yet to feed herself with a spoon with much success and she can’t be as independent as she would really like. This means that at times she will go most of a meal-time with nothing more than the equivalent of a spoon-full or two of food in her belly.
Being new parents we worry about this every time and make sure she still has her formula for extra sustenance. It has meant that we have had to come up with some new and creative ways to keep our little one well-fed. The ‘here comes the aeroplane’ trick sometimes works and often its a dragonfly or ‘Hootabelle’ (of Giggle and Hoot fame) but it isn’t something we can rely on working every time.
Lately, instead of trying to force the mushed food into her we have been to trying to find new, healthy food which she can hold and feed herself. The hardest part though is to come up with some food that doesn’t depend on teeth to chew and rip apart as those are nowhere to be seen yet. It has actually been quite challenging at times but is one of the most rewarding things we have ever done. Seeing the little dear filling herself up on nutritious, healthy food and hearing those little sighs and sounds of pleasure when she eats something we have made her is magical.
Breakfast times have often been the most challenging, lunch and dinner time she often has some of what we have, all-be-it a little more cooked and soft so she can much it on her gums. At breakfast however we don’t generally have a few florets of cauliflower, steamed spuds, or broccoli, or some soft, steamed chicken on hand. We’re generally over-tired from a lack of sleep and rushing around to get ready for work and/or get little bubs ready for daycare.
Enter the pancake, the toothless kid-friendly, fluffy, somewhat healthy and refined sugar-free, wholemeal pancake. Although this started of as a recipe for the little one I think what we have in-fact found is a fantastic pancake recipe we will use for our own breakfast as well (although for adults I’d add a bit of honey to the batter for sweetness and cover in maple syrup).
Often wholemeal pancakes can come across as quite stodgy, quite card-board like and with a horrible rubber-like lecture. Not these ones though, these are as fluffy as any good pancake I can recall eating and flavoured with fruit gives them even more taste-bud appeal.
Would we make these again?
Yes, yes, yes we will certainly be making these again, for the little one and for ourselves.
For bubs we have made a batch of these and placed them in zip-lock bags in the freezer, each one separated by baking paper. Breakfast time is as easy as separating one (or two) and buzzing quickly in the microwave for 30 seconds (or reheating on a warm saucepan if you don’t do microwaves).
The result is a delicious little fruity pancake our little one loves, and we love for the convenience and knowledge that what she is eating is generally quite healthy and nutritious. They also work as a great midmorning or afternoon snack. These pancakes are not something we feel guilty about giving her, and at the same time they are not something we give her every-day. When we do however, they pretty much always get eaten (until I’m sure she grows up a bit and decides they are no longer her favourite!).
- 1 cup wholemeal flour
- 2 ½ tsp. Baking powder
- ½ tsp. Baking soda
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 mashed banana
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- Apx. 2-3 tbsp Soda water
For cooking the Pancakes
You can use pretty much any (or no) fruit when cooking the pancakes. We’ve tried sliced bananas, strawberries with great success. You can also slightly mush blueberries, slice some apple – pretty much anything you think will work. We have written the recipe with banana and strawberries as they are what we had on the day we took the photos.
- 1 Banana sliced thinly
- Handful of sliced strawberries
- Coconut oil for greasing the pan, melted (you could also use olive oil or butter)
Creating the Batter
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Use a fork or a whisk and ensure all of the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the banana, both eggs and milk. Use an electric hand mixer (or hand-whisk) and whisk all ingredients together until they are well combined and aerated.
- Add the soda water one tablespoon at a time until your mixture is about the consistency of thickened cream. You don’t want it to be too runny, but not too thick like a muffin batter. If the mixture needs it, add the third tablespoon. The amount of soda water you add will depend on the size of the banana you use and how the flour reacts and mixes with the liquids, you may even need slightly more.
- Make sure the mixture is well mixed and aerated and set aside.
Cooking the Pancakes
- Use a frying pan that is suited to the size of the pancakes you wish to create. We used a small cast-iron pan we have for creating the small pancakes we wanted (apx. 10cm diameter). You can either transfer your mixture into a jug with a spout to pour the batter onto the pan or use a medium/large serving or soup spoon to spoon the mixture into the pan – use what ever you have to hand or what ever feels most comfortable to you.
- Place the pan over a medium-low heat. Using a pastry brush, brush the oil onto the pan. Test to see if the pan is hot enough using just a tiny bit of batter. You want the pan to be hot, but not too hot. If the oil starts to smoke or if the test batter starts to cook very quickly and burns in seconds turn your heat down.
- Pour or spoon the mixture onto your hot pan. We wanted the pancakes to be 10 cos in diameter but you can make them any size you like. The mixture will be quite thick so use the back of a spoon to even out the thickness of the mixture and get it to the size you want (keeping in mind that when you press in the fruit the size will slightly increase as well).
- Press 2-4 (depending on the size of your pancakes) slices of fruit into the batter. Allow the batter to cook in the pan until bubbles form and burst on the surface.
- Once you see the bubbles on the surface of the batter its time to gently flip the pancakes. This might take some practice if you’ve not done it before. I found using a small silicone spatula worked best for me with the small pancakes. Take care with the fruit pressed into the batter and be careful it remains in the batter!
- Cook the bottom side of the pancake until golden. Transfer onto a plate to cook (or eat straight away!)
If these are for adults we would smother a small stack of these with maple syrup, creamed butter, honey or Nutella – but for the little ones they should be fine just as they are!
We don’t claim to be nutritionists, or children’s food experts. We don’t preach about certain diets for kids or champion certain foods over others, nor can we offer you this recipe in complete confidence your child won’t have any reactions or allergies to any of the ingredients. This is simply a recipe our baby loves and we wanted to share, in the hope other parents might get the same joy from seeing their loved one/s eating and enjoying food they created like we do. Please consider if this recipe is right for your loved one before feeding them something new. Only you know your baby and what is right for them, use common sense and please take care with trying new foods with your bundle of joy.