Although fall “officially” begins September 22, I, for one, certainly don't need an official date to begin bringing out the fall-inspired recipes.
After all, fall is my favorite time of year; and once all of the various sweet, juicy and crisp apple "varietals" begin appearing more and more in the produce isles, and the local orchards start inviting us to participate in their “U-Pick” festivities, then I start to have a very hard time resisting the temptation to begin brainstorming comfy-cozy and kitchen-warming new recipes that center on the spicy-sweetness and golden color of fall produce.
For me, the fall is a particularly cozy season; there's a softness and a slight hush that begins to settle in after the hubbub of the high-energy summertime, and the evenings take on a warm golden hue that allow me to get lost a little in my fantasy of fallen leaves, orange-yellow-green pumpkins and brisk evening strolls as the sun dips down and out of sight into a moody evening sky.
Perhaps it's just me, but I've always absolutely adored the reflective melancholy of the fall and all of the delicious possibilities for comfort that it brings with it.
Homemade, thick and fluffy flapjacks (or "pancakes"—whichever you grew up saying works) hot off the pan are something that we find a lot of joy in preparing in our home.
We often have our “pancake nights” on Saturday evenings, especially in the colder months when the warmth and fragrance coming from the kitchen just naturally seems to elicit a good appetite in us.
With apples now becoming a very plentiful fruit-of-the-moment, the thought of fall-inspired and spicy-malty apple flapjacks with a warm and buttery cider syrup just wouldn't stop dancing around in my mind. They're divine on a sleepy and slow-paced weekend morning, or decadent and fun for a breakfast-for-dinner evening meal.
Pure fall comfort on a plate, which is something that sounds utterly perfect to me right now.
So as the sun slowly begins to set earlier and earlier, and as a milder and cooler breeze begins to whisper through the trees in the evenings, fall will begin to make its presence known and invite us to open ourselves up to all of its wonderful golden-glowing colors, scents, and flavors.
It'll nudge us into our kitchens to warm them up with the sweetness and coziness of a plateful of thick and fluffy apple flapjacks drenched in buttery syrup, and share in the richness and the soft mystery that it contains.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Granny Smith's Thick & Fluffy Apple Flapjacks with Warm, Buttery Cider Syrup
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes about 12 flapjacks
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ¼ cup malted milk (powder)
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 2 cups buttermilk, room temp
• 2 eggs, room temp
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
• 2 small granny smith apples, peeled and diced very finely (roughly 1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups worth)
-Prepare the dry ingredients by whisking together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, malted milk and sugar in a large bowl; set aside for a moment.
-To another large bowl add the buttermilk, the eggs and the vanilla, and using a hand mixer (or you can vigorously whisk), mix the ingredients for about a minute until very well combined; next, slowly drizzle in the melted butter as you continue to mix until that is combined.
-Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and very gently and carefully mix just until barely moistened; then, add in the diced apples and mix a little more, just until combined (a few lumps is just fine— you DO NOT want to over mix the batter, or the flapjacks will be flat and rubbery!); set the batter aside, covered with some plastic wrap, to rest for 15 minutes.
-When ready to cook, heat your oven to 200° (or “hold warm” setting), and place a wire rack in the oven to hold the cooked flapjacks warm while your prepare the rest.
-Place a non-stick skillet over low or medium-low heat, and brush a little canola oil on the bottom; once hot, add a ⅓ cup-size portion of the batter in (per flapjack), and cook the flapjacks for about 2 – 2 ½ minutes per side, until golden-brown.
-Serve warm with softened butter and some Warm, Buttery Cider Syrup.
Warm, Buttery Cider Syrup Ingredients:
• 1 cup pancake syrup
• ¼ cup fresh-pressed apple juice or “cider” (not the clear kind, but the unfiltered kind)
• 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
-Place the pancake syrup into a small saucepan, and whisk in the fresh-pressed apple juice; place over low heat and allow the mixture to heat slowly, just until hot.
-Turn heat off, and add in the butter, whisking to completely blend it into the syrup and make it glossy.
-Allow the cider syrup to cool just slightly to “warm” in order for it to thicken up a bit, and serve. (You can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge; just gently reheat when ready to use.)