Ahead of Pancake Tuesday, the day on which we all obsess over and gorge on sugary, fried batter goodness, here are six of the best gadgets – and one of the worst – to turn you into a ‘pan-global’ phenomenon.
While we might love the odd crepe or pancake in winter time, there’s no denying that the vast majority of us outside of North America (and maybe the Belgians) tend to only eat them once a year, on Pancake Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the onset of Lent.
Of course, then you get into how you take your pancakes, which can become such a heated debate that factions form within families, with one side supporting lemon and sugar and the others preferring the more decadent chocolate spread.
Regardless of how you take your pancakes, you can rest a bit easier knowing that, as the batter is flying, there are a number of gadgets out there that takes a lot of the effort out of making them.
There can’t be a gadget list for baking that doesn’t mention the Irish success story that is Drop.
The smart weighing scale is a perfect example of the internet of things (IoT) in action, allowing the user to connect their iPhone or iPad to the neat-looking weighing scale through a companion app.
Once you’re all set up, the app will then help you decide how many people want to gorge on your batter-filled goodness and give you a step-by-step guide on what ingredients you need.
Also, if you’re one of the many, many Instagram users out there who would like to make people ‘bitterly’ jealous about how good your lemon-drizzled pancakes look, well then you can share it online through the app, along with all the other social media outlets.
In terms of price, the scale is pretty reasonably priced given how nice the whole setup looks, with it currently being priced on Amazon at £60 (€79), not including delivery, of course.
Lekue Lemon Squeezer
While it looks a bit odd, this lemon squeezer is a pretty great idea. While you might think squeezing a fruit against your forehead is the best way to get juice out it (at least for Homer in The Simpsons), might I suggest the Lekue Lemon Squeezer?
Compared with other lemon squeezers, which force you to squeeze your lemon in one single use, the Lekue model basically turns your lemon squeezer into a ketchup bottle-like dispenser.
Impressive in its simplicity, the lemon squeezer has a small silicone funnel to squeeze your lemon juice from, but also has a cap on the end of it to store for future use.
So, just like you would pass your ketchup bottle around the table, this Pancake Tuesday you can pass around some squeezed lemon, unless you are on the anti-lemon side which is just madness.
In terms of price, it’s a steal at €8 from the company’s website.
Now this… This is what we’re looking for. If you’ve ever seen ‘stir continuously’ written in a recipe for a sauce – or in this case batter mix – and thought you’re not really bothered, then fear no more.
Simply called the Stirr, this amazing little stirring device does all the stirring for you, allowing you to get on with all the other things you’d rather be doing, like absolutely anything else.
All you have to do is place it in the pan or pot, choose one of the three speed settings and leave it to stir for however long you like it.
You don’t even have to wash the stirring legs as they can be popped in the dishwasher like everything else.
It does seem a bit noisy though, but at £17 (€22), it’s a pretty good deal.
Just like the smart weighing scales, why not use a smart frying pan as well?
Featured once or twice here in the past, the Pantelligent pan was one of many Kickstarter success stories, creating a pan that asks you what you want to cook.
So, when you put your pancake mix into the pan, and choose pancakes, the pan will register that the batter is there and tell you exactly how long it’s going to cook.
This means that each time you need to flip the pancake, it’ll tell you when to do it, thereby eliminating any stress and thought process whatsoever, which will probably prove handy when thinking of what you’re going to put on your pancakes.
I need this in my life, probably for many other things aside from pancakes.
In terms of pricing, it will set you back $174 (€155) – not including shipping – which makes it quite pricey, but still a pretty good purchase.
The humble squeeze bottle
If you’re the type to think that by putting a cream smiley face on a pancake you’re suddenly an artiste, then you probably need to up your game big time.
It’s not exactly hi-tech, but a basic squeeze bottle that is used to dish out condiments can also be filled with pancake batter to create a whole range of different shapes on the pan.
By squeezing it gently in a series of patterns, you can get some rather artsy looking pancakes, and if you want to take things up a notch like one US pancake lover, you can make two-coloured patterns, too.
Sometimes the simplest and most available of technologies is the best one.
Or you can pooh-pooh that idea entirely, get the latest pancake technology and do away with the pan altogether, uniting the exciting worlds of 3D printing and pancake goodness.
Called the PancakeBot, this idea is brilliant in the simplicity of concept and the obvious complexity of the design.
With a flat, large griddle as its base, a 3D printer designed to take pancake mix can begin laying out a design that has been input by the user and, relatively quickly, build towards a design like, say, an astronaut, a smiley face or, if you’re boring, a circular pancake.
Like any 3D printer concept, the open source sharing of design files from its users is really encouraged and seems pretty straight-forward to use.
And for all those Lego lovers out there, it’s interesting to note that the inventor of the PancakeBot, Miguel Valenzuela, created his first concept built from the colourful Danish toy blocks.
So what does this baby set you back? Well, unsurprisingly, it’s the most expensive thing on our list at $300 (€268) and you’ll have to find a way of getting it from the US yourself, but isn’t the fluffy goodness worth it?
And the loser is…
We couldn’t mention kitchen gadgets without referencing the infamous Eggmaster once reviewed by our very own managing editor, Elaine Burke.
While the key to its design is to put uncooked eggs into a smelly tube and watch it slowly push out a steaming roll of egg, the instructions also said it could be used to make pancakes, too.
The downside is that your pancakes are likely to smell like old egg, even if you wash the thing, but if you want to see what it’s like in action, then check out how it went down during our taste test.
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Delicious-looking pancakes image via Shutterstock