By Nick Thomas
Photo by Rachel Brown
When it comes to breaking the mold with Saturday-morning pancakes, spatula-wielders typically play with the recipe’s solid ingredients and add little treasures such as blueberries or chocolate chips to the batter. The results, while still highly delicious, pale in comparison to playing with the liquid ingredients of your go-to pancake recipe. For a slight apple taste in your next stack of flapjacks, try adding some cider to the mix.
Exactly what cider you chose for this recipe depends on how much apple flavor you want. I went with Square Mile Cider Co.’s The Original Hard Apple cider, which is slightly sweet, slightly tart and slightly dry—it’s a well-balanced cider that gave these pancakes a subtle fruity flavor without making it taste like apple bread. Slather on a bit of cinnamon-cider butter, and you’ve got autumn on a plate.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Makes: about 1 cup butter
1 ½ cup (1 12oz bottle) Square Mile Cider Co. Original Hard Apple cider
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a medium sauce pan, bring cider to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until the cider has reduced to about ¼ cup—a little less than this is great, but any more and you’ll end up with butter soup. Allow reduction to cool completely so it won’t melt the butter in the following steps.
Using a small food processor or a hand mixer, whip the butter with the sugar and cinnamon until creamy. Scrape sides with spatula as needed. Slowly add the cider reduction, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix well before adding more cider.
Store at room temperature (if you want it to be spreadable) in an air-tight container, and try to refrain from slathering it on everything and going through it all in an afternoon.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Makes: About a dozen 6-inch pancakes
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
1 ¼ cup Square Mile Cider Co. Original Hard Apple cider
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt) in a large bowl, and in a separate bowl, combine all other ingredients (buttermilk, cider, eggs and butter).
Lightly grease a pan or griddle and turn up to medium heat.
While the cooking surface heats up, combine dry and liquid ingredients with a wooden spoon. Batter should be slightly thick and lumpy—over mixing releases the gluten in the flour, which makes pancakes more chewy than cake-like, and also releases all of the gas created by the baking soda, baking powder and cider, which prevents the pancakes from rising.
Pour desired amount of batter onto heated surface (¼ cup of batter makes about 5- or 6-inch pancakes). Flip when the bubbles forming in the batter start to pop.
Not Autumn-y enough for you? Try seasoning up the batter with some spices, such as cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Or, top with diced apples and chopped walnuts.