A dadcraft Favorite: The Pancake Pen

  by Andrew Wolgemuth

Some of a dad’s best tools reside in the kitchen. Kids, after all, tend to eat with some frequency. Anything you can do to enhance that chowing down experience is a good thing.

One of my favorite such kitchen tools is the Pancake Pen. With this ingenious device, my pancake artistry has developed from the classic circle cake to goofy looking stick figures and clunky hand lettering. Di Vinci, I’m not. None of my creations are good, but my kids love ‘em and keep coming up with fun ideas that I draw poorly on a griddle with pancake batter. I’ve never created anything close to as skillful as this dadcraftsman breakfast artist, but I’ve also never created anything so bad that a couple of well-placed chocolate chips couldn’t save it.

Once you’re rolling and your kids experience your skill with the batter, pen, and griddle, I’m confident that you’ll have innumerable design suggestions submitted your way. To get you started, here are a few subjects that have been poorly captured by my pancake pen: snowballs (yep, it’s a circle), golden coins (inspired by a pre-breakfast Mario Kart competition; these are also just circles – it’s all in the sell job), Elsa / Anna / Generic Princess (a stick figure woman, basically), initials (there’s nothing like seeing the first letter of your name on the griddle …), numbers (similarly to initials, my kids love seeing their age represented with sizzling batter) snowmen / snowwomen, castles, Pop-Tarts (yep, it’s a rectangle that receives pretend frosting), dragons, Mickey & Minnie Mouse heads, puppies, stars, and Christmas trees.

Towards creating the substance of your artwork, let me suggest a couple of options. For a really, really simple pancake mix, we like Daily Chef Pancake Mix. Just add water; drop in chocolate chips to taste (or consider adding diced apples and cinnamon for the more mature palate).

For an excellent “from scratch” option, consider “the world’s best pancake recipe.” I’m not sure who tried every pancake variant to establish that this one is the best, but I assume their research was exhaustive for this recipe makes for some really yummy cakes. Again, drop in chocolate chips to taste.


If breakfast in ain’t happening, considering the donut trek. And, more generally, appreciate the art of the modern-day forage.

Picture by Better Than Bacon; Used via Creative Commons license. Amazon links are affiliate links.