Oh-so-Great Apple Pancakes

Here’s the guy whose wife calls him “The Breakfast Chef” at work again… This recipe makes the best apple pancakes I’ve ever had. My wife said, “You HAVE to go write this down!!”

I started with a recipe from a book by Ron Douglas, America’s Most Wanted Recipes: it’s from someplace called Union Pacific. But I added a tweak that makes all the difference: apple butter.

If you can’t find apple butter in the store, start this way: Get a good-sized can of applesauce, then dump it in a pot on the stove and get it heating so it’ll reduce. Reduce it so it gets good and thick, enough so that it will mound up on a spoon if you scoop it. (Rather than saying ‘reduce by half’, I know that applesauce can have varying amounts of water.) Meanwhile, add to it:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of cloves
  • pinch of salt

Once you get it reduced, cool it off enough so that when you add it to the batter that it doesn’t cook it.

Let’s get started on the pancake batter. Get two bowls, a larger one for the dry ingredients, a smaller one for the wet. We’ll put ‘wet’ into ‘dry’. Notice that I use rounded measures when I measure my dry ingredients. I’ve tried the ‘strike it off flat’ method, but always seem to end up with stuff being too soupy. By using rounded measures, I can always add a bit more liquid to get the consistency I want – liquid stirs in easily, dry does not!

Full, rounded measures:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder (here I use a little extra if the can is older)

Get your balloon whisk or a good open whisk and combine these well. Now to the wet ingredients. Combine these and stir together with your whisk:

  • 2 tablespoona melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil* (see note below)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 beaten egg (use jumbo eggs if you can, if using medium eggs, use two, and add a couple tablespoons of flour to the dry ingredients while they’re still separate from the wet.)

The butter is going to turn to little clumps in the mix. Don’t worry about it.

Dump the wet into the dry, and stir together with the whisk. Now add:

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups of your reduced applesauce (or apple butter if you have it)

 Now whisk like crazy until everything’s combined and smooth. Check your consistency. If it’s a little too thick, add a bit of milk and stir it in with the whisk. I know it seems counter-intuitive to most recipes, but beating things together like this does work for this recipe.  

Set it aside for a few minutes while you get a pan going on the heat, to allow the baking powder to do its work. Cook your pancakes in the usual way. One note: check the first side periodically for done-ness. These don’t dry out on the top side like most pancakes do, so you’ll be flipping a wet pancake. But boy, are these good…

I recommend topping them with the remainder of your apple butter or reduced applesauce; maybe pour a touch of maple syrup over the top of that.

Wow.

Note on vegetable oils: I have come to dislike canola oil, because it gives an unpleasant taste to things and leaves a gritty mouth-feel. Canola is also a GMO, which I suspect is the reason for this. A good vegetable oil is all you need, and has no taste.  

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