Here's my take on what my late granny used to call 'crumpets', but they're actually griddle cakes or flapjacks. Scribbled into animal shapes, they make a fabulous weekend breakfast for kids. It took a bit of practice to get the shapes just right, and I tried a spoon, a funnel and a piping bag before I settled on the right tool: a turkey baster. [Postscript: a commenter on this post suggested a squeezy bottle: a brilliant idea, as it holds that much more batter. ]
(Funny. No one ever wants to help me make these 'crumpets' - just like the tale of the little red hen and her cake - but this time there was a queue of children demanding a turn. I wish I had photographed the smiley faces, anarchy signs, etc, devised by the teen.)
-This is quite a thick batter, and it needs to be, or else the liquid spreads too quickly. Squeeze the bulb of the baster tightly and suck up as much batter as you can get in one squeeze.
-Make sure the pan is very hot, but not smoking. Work quickly, or the batter will go brown before you've had a chance to do the fiddly bits.
- Don't make the joins between the legs and body too thin, or they will break off as you flip the cakes.
-Draw the outline of the animal first, and then fill in the gaps. For the turtle, draw in the four feet, in a square formation, fill them in, then swiftly outline the body. Add the head, fill it in, and finally fill in the body.
For the bunny, do the ears, then the head, then the body and finally the tail. Flip over, cook for a few minutes, and serve.
I've abandoned my Granny's crumpet mixture (sorry, Gran) in favour of this one, which is thicker, fluffier and more reliable. This griddle-cake batter comes from one of my vintage cookery pamphlets: The Royal Cookbook by 'The Royal Hostess' , published the Royal Baking Powder (no date, but looks about 1958, judging from the photographs).
Royal Griddle Cakes
1 and 1/2 cups (375 ml) milk
2 cups (500 ml) white cake flour, sifted
a pinch of salt
6 t (30 ml) baking powder
3 T (45 ml) white sugar
2 T (30 ml) melted butter
Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and beat until smooth. If you don't have a food processor, beat the eggs and milk together in a big bowl. Sift over the flour, salt and baking powder and whisk until well combined. Finally, stir in the sugar and the melted butter. Set aside for 10 minutes, but do not stir again.
Heat a frying pan or flat griddle and grease lightly with a knob of butter wrapped in waxed paper. Drop the mixture in spoonfuls on the hot griddle, leaving room for spreading (or use turkey-baster - see above - to make shapes). When bubbles appear on the top, use a pallet knife or fish-slice to flip the the cakes. Cook for another minute or so, place between the folds of a clean napkin or tea towel, and keep warm.
Lovely hot with honey or syrup, and whipped cream or plain Greek yoghurt.
Makes about 16 griddle cakes.