How many of you have a friend that is always honest and straightforward with you no matter what the situation is? It's a great feeling, right? To have a companion like that. I am blessed to have two friends such as this. And a week ago, while I was making cookie sticks with one of them, she said to me, "You don't always have to follow recipes EXACTLY as they're written you know". To which I responded "Yes I do", or "Whatever" or some combination of the two.
We ended up following the recipe exactly as written that day (after much of my persistence), and the cookie sticks came out phenomenal, but then on the way home, and every day after that, her statement resonated in my head. It got me thinking, why am I always afraid to change things up in recipes? Would it really be the end of life as I knew it if I substituted one thing for another, or if I altered the amount of a certain ingredient? Or if I just put my own new twist on it altogether?
I guess I am slightly afraid of failure. Okay, I'm really afraid. I'm also a perfectionist, so I like keeping things as is, leveled off to a T, not a pinch more or less. It's who I am...but not who I'll always be. Thinking about what she said also made me realize that I have been in this game for a while. All the cooking and baking over the years has given me a good amount of experience, enough to finally be able to spread my wings and soar with confidence. The confidence to take a chance with recipes, be a little risky, experiment, and see what works and what doesn't.
That's where these apple cinnamon pancakes come in. They are my masterpiece. They're not a HUGE change from Karly's caramel apple pancakes, but they're a change. A change that I changed, to adapt to the ingredients I had on hand and to suit my tastes. I left out the sugar, increased the nutmeg, decreased the salt, substituted oil in place of the butter, and threw in some applesauce, like a baws. (Gigi, I know you're proud).
And the result? Just about the most delicious pancakes I have ever had the pleasure of eating. And the fluffiest. It's a little hard to believe that these babies were my making, and certainly not something that came of me not following the rules. I mean, just look at them. I have never cooked a more even and perfectly proportioned group of pancakes in my entire life.
The caramelized apple topping was the most amazing complement--rich, delectable, and mouthwatering. I didn't change anything about it because it looked perfect enough as it is, and it was.
Of course, as perfect as it was, I had to help myself to an additional heaping of maple syrup. Mmmm. Breakfast of champions, people. Breakfast of champions.
Apple Cinnamon PancakesYield: 6 pancakes
Ingredients:1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup applesauce
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons canola oil
For the caramelized apple topping:
1 medium apple, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
tiny pinch of salt
Directions:In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, applesauce, egg, vanilla, and oil until well combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together just until everything is incorporated and most of the lumps are gone. Make sure you DO NOT overmix.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto hot skillet. Cook for a few minutes, until bubbles form on the surface. Flip over and cook on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes, until browned on the bottom and center is done.
For the caramelized apple topping:
Set a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add butter to skillet and melt. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add diced apples and stir to coat. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Top the pancakes with the warm apples; drizzle with maple syrup if desired.
Adapted from Buns In My Oven