Last week, I decided to give myself a break. I was finding blogging and other work-oriented endeavours very frustrating and I needed some time away from it all. Oh, I still posted, and I commented on other blogs here and there, but I also tried not to obsess so much. This is easier said than done sometimes. Often, the more I tell myself not to obsess, the more I actually obsess. But Friday provided me the perfect opportunity to give myself a little distance and a little perspective. It was an incredibly beautiful day, so after a challenging speed workout at the track, I took my girls apple picking. I’ll tell you what – it was just what the doctor ordered. We had a lovely time picking a small bag of apples, along with a couple of pumpkins and some flowers to decorate our front stoop. I also took the opportunity to buy a bushel bag of the orchard’s “seconds”…less-than-perfect apples which are inexpensive and perfect for canning a wackload of applesauce.
I spent much of the drive home in that golden haze that comes with sunny autumn weather, dreaming of what I would make with my apple hoard. Besides applesauce, I had visions of crisps and fritters and other apple delicacies…all of which I can’t eat. Before diabetes, I ate apples daily, which is said to be a prescription for keeping the doctor away. Not in my case, sadly. For such a crisp, healthy fruit, apples are surprisingly high carb. These days, I only ever eat half of one at a time, and never in any sort of sugary, carby treat. But fresh apples and apple-y treats are one of the great joys of fall, and I am not about to deprive my loved ones with fully functional pancreases of these joys.
By the time I arrived home, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. At this particular orchard, you are awash in the smell of freshly-baked cider donuts from the moment you arrive. I would swear on my life that they deliberately vent out their bakery right into the parking lot to send you into an apple cider donut tizzy. The smell is unbelievable! I thought maybe I could create something similar in pancake form, by adding apple cider right into the pancake batter, along with some chopped apples and cinnamon.
The Results: From all accounts, including kids and husband, these were a hit. They certainly made my kitchen smell a little like the bakery at the orchard, all apple-cinnamon-y goodness! I was a little afraid that the apple cider would do something funky to the batter so I did do some milk too. But they held together beautifully and were nice and fluffy and thick. I will say, because I made them with whole wheat, they were more filling than regular pancakes. My son with the hollow leg stopped after one and a half. Not that this is a bad thing! I actually made twice the amount I am going to give you in the recipe, simply because we like to pop them into the fridge or freezer for easy breakfasts. My kids have been enjoying them all week.
One word of note…make sure you cut up the apples into small pieces to put on top. I started off with larger pieces but that way made them harder to flip and you didn’t get good apple coverage in each pancake.
Whole Wheat Apple Cider Pancakes
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur white whole wheat)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 cup apple cider
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped small
vegetable oil for greasing the pan
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, butter and milk. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and then add in cider. Stir until just incorporated and a few lumps remain.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brush with vegetable oil. Pour batter onto skillet by 1/4 cupfuls into circles. You will only be able to fit 3 to 4 pancakes onto the skillet. Sprinkle each pancake with about 1 tbsp of chopped apples.
Cook pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip carefully and cook until bottom side is golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan with oil as needed.
**If you want to keep the first batches of pancakes warm while you cook the others, preheat your oven to 200F and set a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Place cooked pancakes in a single layer on wire rack while working with subsequent batches.
Makes 10 to 12 4-inch pancakes.