Last year we decorated gingerbread houses. My boys did not love the idea that they couldn’t eat the cookies and I didn’t love the idea of making more with loads of sugar, so we came up with an incredibly fun compromise–Gingerbread Pancakes for decorating. We used these pancakes to make a healthier version of gingerbread houses and this year we made gingerbread man shapes too.
You can make these pancakes plain or you can spice them up to give them a gingerbread flavor. I kicked in some ground cinnamon, clove, and ginger.
My boys even helped me make the pancakes! It was a great family activity. Gingerbread pancake decorating makes a great Christmas tradition. We had ours for Christmas breakfast last year. This year we have already done it a couple times just for fun.
Gingerbread Pancakes Decorating Activity
Gather some awesome pancake toppings to decorate with. We added a few different sweets that often go well with pancakes (chocolate chips, icing, syrup), but I also made sure we had more nutritious toppings (banana, coconut, cereal, peanut butter). They did not use a bunch of the healthier toppings for their pancakes, but they did eat them alongside it. S had tons of coconut and blueberries on his, though.
For easy access, I added all the toppings to a pie tin. If you have a sectioned tin, this would work even better.
Here are some topping ideas:
- Shredded coconut
- Chocolate chips
- Sprinkles (we found some Christmas light-shaped sprinkles)
- Cinnamon Imperials
- Candy eyes
- Peanut butter
- Powdered sugar icing
Once we had all the toppings prepared, we started the pancakes. Now, I’ll admit I am not the best pancake maker. I tend to mess them up pretty badly. In fact, my husband is the designated pancake maker because of this. Since he’s away, I did the best I could and I think they turned out okay!
You will want to make the pancake mix according to the recipe/directions. If you want to flavor them, you can find some great gingerbread pancake recipes online. If you choose my route by eyeballing some spices into the mix, whisk the spices into the pancake mix before adding the liquids.
Pour the pancake mix into a condiment squeeze bottle. This will make dispensing very easy–like you are drawing!
To make the gingerbread pancakes into gingerbread house shapes, use the squeeze bottle. Make a very simple house shape by drawing the outside then filling it in with more pancake mix.
To make the gingerbread pancakes into gingerbread men, lightly grease a metal gingerbread man cookie cutter then place it onto the pan/griddle (we have this one and I love it!). Make sure this is metal or it will melt. It will get HOT.
Use the squeeze bottle to fill the gingerbread man shape in with the gingerbread pancake mix, going around the sides first then filling in the middle. Let it sit a few seconds so the sides of the gingerbread man cook a bit then use the metal tons to pull the cookie cutter off and set it on another part of the griddle. If you let your kids help out, make sure they are very good around hot surfaces and help them know how high to hold the bottle, what parts not to touch, and to try to work quickly because the heat from the griddle rises. My kids did great and I helped them finish it off.
Once the pancakes have cooled a bit, set out the pancakes, spreads (syrup, peanut butter, powdered sugar icing) so the decorations stick, and the fun toppings.
My boys had so much fun with this!
It is also a great activity for fine motor skills like placing candies in a line or spreading on peanut butter (their choice of sticky spread.). I love how this gingerbread pancakes decorating activity lets their creativity flow and rewards them with a fun treat to eat.
Here’s how our decorated gingerbread pancakes turned out!
Check out our pancakes from last year! My husband really got into it (and he really likes syrup…).
Do you have any favorite Christmas morning traditions? Share with me in the comments!
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