Introduction: Raspberry Valentine's Day Heart Pancakes

About: I am a fourteen-year old boy who always has been interested in making things, from chip bag coin purses to wooden double-bladed battle axes!

Not sure what to cook your family or your Valentine for this upcoming Valentine's day? The answer to this impending question is the warm, fluffy goodness of the Raspberry Valentine's Day Heart Pancakes.
This simple yet rewarding treat will let your loved ones know that you care for them more than any store-bought candy or chocolates, because it's heartfelt, it tastes delicious, and it's entirely homemade. This breakfast treat will keep your family (however large or small) anticipating the next valentine's day, and cherishing the holiday even more while becoming closer as a family or couple. In order to successfully cook this, you must understand that the most important ingredient to this recipe is love. If a Valentine's day breakfast like this is made without love and caring, it just doesn't taste the same.

Step 1: Gather Materials

In order to make these pancakes, you need:

•Pancake batter, homemade or made from a mix (I used Krusteaz).
•Jam of any kind, in which raspberry and strawberry taste the best. These types of jam also give the end result a pinkish hue, which keeps to the Valentine's Day theme.
•Heart-shaped metal cookie cutter (of desired size). If you don't have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you can make one from a tin can ( or resort to making normally shaped pancakes.
•Frying pan to cook the pancakes in (my family has a particular fondness for cast iron).
•Nonstick spray for the cookie cutters and the pan (PAM is very common and is what I used).
•Basic kitchen tools, such as a mixing bowl, whisk, pancake turner (or spatula to some people), spoon (for the jam), and a plate or platter (for the finished pancakes).

If you want to modify this recipe, go ahead! Experiment! Try new things, like peanut butter or Nutella or anything else you can think of that would make this taste even more delicious. Remember, this recipe isn't set in stone for anyone who uses it. On the contrary, this is meant to be a base for more imaginative cooking ideas.

I would recommend gathering all of these items together before making these pancakes, as you may not have enough time to grab individual items while the pancakes are being made.

Just as a note, many of these food items don't have amounts because I made enough for my family, and the amount of people you're cooking for will probably be different than mine. For the pancake batter, you need to make as much as you want, and for the jam, you'll need to estimate the amount needed to turn the batter very light shade of the jam's color.

Step 2: Find a Suitable Cooking Area

It is important to find a place to prepare and cook the pancakes, preferably with a clean, open spot on a counter or kitchen table. Also needed is a way to cook the pancakes, by using an electric or stovetop burner, or something in that sense. Then, accumulate all of your cooking materials and ingredients.

Step 3: Make Your Batter

This is where your own element of personalization comes into this. You need to make as much pancake batter as you need, and in any way that would please you the most.
When you have made this, here comes the important step: put your jam into the mix. When it comes to jam in this recipe, I would suggest putting in an amount that is smaller than what you would expect to be enough, and then stirring the batter and checking to see if it's enough, and then if you need more, in which you usually do, then add just a little more, then stir and check again. Take a look at the picture above, and use that as an example. You want the jam to slightly color the batter, but not deepen the overall color too much, as the jam will overpower the taste of the pancake. You also don't want too little jam because the pancakes won't rise as much and it won't have enough flavor to complement the overall taste. Also keep in mind that the more jam you add, the sweeter the recipe gets. If you have an insatiable sweet tooth, feel free to add more jam, and if you don't like pancakes as sweet, just use less jam.

Step 4: Prepare Your Cooking Instruments

You need to heat up the pan you are using until it is ready to cook pancakes. You will probably want to put the stove to medium-high and then switch it to medium as it gets hot enough. You will know that your pan is ready when you flick a few water droplets onto it and they sizzle and evaporate immediately.
When the pan is hot enough, you take your cookie cutter and your cooking spray and you thoroughly coat the inside and outside with the spray. If you miss a spot, the pancake will stick to the cookie cutter when you remove it. This step will need to be repeated before cooking every individual pancake.
Then, you will need to use the cooking spray on the pan you are cooking with. This step will need to be repeated after every two or three pancakes, depending on the type of cooking pan you used.

Step 5: Pour Batter

Before you pour the batter into the cookie cutter, you need to place it on the pan. Then, fill up the cookie cutter to just under halfway to the top of the cutter. We do this because the jam makes it rise almost to the top when it is cooked. When you pour it in, make sure not to spill any on the outside of the cookie cutter, because that makes a mess and is more work to clean up.

Step 6: Remove the Cookie Cutter and Flip

In this step you need to remove the cookie cutter from the pancake somehow. My cookie cutter had a convenient handle that I could just hook my fork around and pull off, but if your cutter doesn't (which is probably the case), you need to devise a way to pull of the cutter (which isn't that hard to do). The key to this step is to time it right. You need to do it when there are lots of bubbles at the surface of the pancake, and when there looks like there isn't any really liquidy parts left. You need to not remove the cutter too early, because the pancake inside could fall apart into a non heart-shaped mess when the cutter is removed or the pancake is flipped over. Like most things, the key to flipping over the heart pancake is practice. Your last pancake will probably end up being considerably better than your first.

Step 7: Finish Cooking and Keep Warm

You need to wait until both ends of the pancake are well cooked, then, using your pancake turner, remove them from your pan and put them somewhere warm, like in a warm oven or on a plate that is underneath a hand towel. This will keep it warm until it is eaten.
Then, repeat this entire process for as many pancakes as you want (or need), and put them all in the same place, be it oven or covered plate.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Have these pancakes with any topping you want, from syrup to peanut butter. Enjoy them with family, friends, relatives, co-workers, and pretty much anyone that you want to share them with! Enjoy your valentine's day with everyone you care about, and they will appreciate the food, not only because it tastes delicious, but also because it came from the heart, and that's what we have to remember on these valentine's days; to love one another and show everyone how much you appreciate and care for them.

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