Breakfast is the perfect meal to get your daily fix of sweet and savory, and there are few (if any) foods better than pancakes that reach both ends of this spectrum. Pancakes are easy to make, exceptionally versatile, and can be served with just about any combination of other breakfast staples. Of course, a stack of your standard flapjacks with a dab of butter and a generous pour of maple syrup is delicious on its own, but if you want to dial your pancakes up a notch, consider these four ideas:
1. Get creative with shapes
Everyone is familiar with Mickey Mouse pancakes, but who says you have to stop there? Why not construct a breakfast version of the solar system, a galactic tribute of planet-shaped pancakes orbited by chocolate chip moons and spectral trails of syrup? If you want to go in another direction, Reader’s Digest recommends pouring pancake batter into a squeeze bottle so you can squirt it on the griddle in decorative patterns that resemble snowflakes.
2. Make a homemade sauce
A jar of pure maple syrup can be rather expensive, but if you opt for a cheaper bottle of generic syrup, nothing’s stopping you from taking it to the next level. For example, Spicy Southern Kitchen takes a pumpkin pancake recipe and tops it with a syrup infused with bourbon and vanilla. Another approach is to make a homemade compote, jam or chocolate sauce.
3. Go beyond blueberries and chocolate chips
Blueberry pancakes and chocolate chip pancakes have become a staples of early morning fare, but don’t be afraid to try out more complex and adventurous additions to your pancake batter. Take this recipe from Cooking Classy, in which the pancakes themselves are chocolate. These flapjacks are perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth and great for novice chefs looking to step up their breakfast game. Besides, who doesn’t love cooking with chocolate?
4. Go for seasonal flavors
Since pancakes can easily be filled or topped with just about anything, they’re the perfect vessel for developing seasonal flavors. For example, in fall you could try making cinnamon caramel apple or pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes – both flavors represent the season well. In the spring and summer, you can top pancakes with a tasty combination of fresh berries and other fruit.