Friday, November 5, 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes with Spiced Apple Cider Syrup

Short and sweet. That's what this post is. A short stack of delicious Swedishy buttermilky oatmealy pancakes topped with some sweet, spicy, seasonally-appropriate apple cider syrup. My mom used to make this apple cider syrup for us when we were kids. I'd forgotten about it until recently, when, while I was eating some apple butter and thinking it would be better with more spices, more sugar, more liquid, ideally on pancakes, I was like, "Hey! We used to have that apple cider syrup all the time! I miss it. How do I not have the recipe?" And within about four hours, I had called my mom, who is quite organized and has all her recipes tidily typed up and stored on her computer, and she had promptly emailed me the recipe. Within about 24 hours, I'd made the syrup.

It was even better than I remembered. (Actually, I was a frightfully, frustratingly picky eater when I was a kid, so mostly I was surprised I liked it then. I guess I've never had a problem with large amounts of sugar and a decent dose of spice, so long as the spice was cinnamon.)

A note on the pancakes: We've had these twice in our household recently. The first time, my friend Charlotte made them for us and they were delicious. We didn't wait for the batter to soak for two hours before cooking them, because we were hungry. They turned out excellent (hence my own go at them shortly thereafter). The second time, I decided to make them during my daughter's midday nap, and I was curious about what would happen to the batter when set aside for a bit, so I had both the time and inclination to let the batter rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before dinner. (Yes, both times we've had these pancakes it was for dinner. Brinner.) What I learned: the resting period makes for thicker pancakes. The flavor was not noticeably different, and flatter pancakes are lovely in their own way - a French way, perhaps. But if you prefer your pancakes thick and doughy, the two-hour wait is the way to go.

oatmeal pancake batter

plated oatmeal pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes
Adapted from Epicurious
Yield: about 6-10 pancakes, depending on how much you "heap" your measuring cup

1 cup oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup*
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together oats, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, egg, melted butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just incorporated. Some lumps are okay. Place batter in refrigerator and allow to thicken for two hours. (Or more - up to 24 hours. Just make sure it's covered.)

When ready to make the pancakes, heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Melt a little butter on the griddle and, using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, spoon a heapful of batter onto griddle. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown (watch them carefully - they go from golden brown to espresso brown in like thirty seconds!) and there are some bubbles forming on top (my mom's rule of thumb was to flip when you'd seen 12 bubbles). Flip and cook on the other side for a minute or two. Eat promptly, or allow to cool and freeze them. Can be reheated in the microwave or in oven, wrapped in foil, whether thawed or still frozen. (But they are best fresh.)

*Instead of maple syrup, you could substitute 2 tablespoons of regular or brown sugar. Whisk the sugar into the dry ingredients, rather than the wet.

spiced apple cider syrup

Spiced Apple Cider Syrup
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup sugar (I used maple sugar, my new favorite thing, but regular or brown sugar would be fine)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and spices. Add the apple cider. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Continue boiling for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and butter. Serve piping hot over pancakes or waffles or, heck, vanilla ice cream and gingersnaps. SO GOOD.


  1. I love posts that involve pancakes! I think we might have to at least make the pancake part for breakfast this morning. Must run to market for buttermilk & will get back to you. Love you, E!
    p.s. Do you think the apple cider syrup would taste just as yummy if I added all the ingredients (sans sugar) to regular maple syrup?

  2. I'm so glad you made them! Re: regular maple syrup... I think it would be interesting and probably lovely to try adding the spices and butter to maple syrup. But the apple cider syrup is really something altogether unique and, as such, distinct from all things maple. It's worth trying in its own right and you could totally substitute plain old apple juice for the cider, it will just be slightly less rich. (But my mom did it all the time. Kids sure don't know the difference.)

  3. Post consumption follow-up: We loved them. The recipe totally should have been doubled for this pancake loving crowd. Kids demanded thirds. I had to hide "my" pancakes so the kids wouldn't attack me and steal them. Will definitely try the apple cider syrup next time (and by next time, I mean probably in a few days). Seemed a teensy bit salty (but then again I only use salted butter and maybe you don't?...may cut back on salt added to batter, however). Ben got very excited when he realized we were eating both oatmeal AND pancakes. What better way to start our day? xoxo

  4. Thanks for noting too salty. I don't measure my salt, so I just estimated. Maybe I used less. But your theory was also right - I only ever really have unsalted butter in the house, so that probably made a difference. I'm so glad you liked them! I love Ben.

  5. Edith, we are both Team Unsalted Butter! Sometimes, Nicole yells at me for this very fact. ;).