Friday, September 28, 2012

Whole Grain Pumpkin Apple Pancakes

Changing color of the leaves. Dropping temps. Crisp breeze. Oh wait, that happens in the fall?? If I hadn't lived here for a few years already, I'd think it was still August. But by golly, it's practically October. How did that happen??

I recently learned that October is apple month. Check out my ode to apples here. And if it's not official, October should be pumpkin month too. So, why not combine the best of two worlds into cozy breakfast that will warm your soul and slow your morning?
Seriously, what a contentful pancake. One bite sends you reeling with the flavors of fall. The whole grains add a distinctive heartiness to help keep you full. Without any added oil, the pumpkin moistens while the flax helps fluff these babies.

Tidbit: Fruit peeling is my culinary nemesis. To save my sanity, I voted to leave the skins on. This will absolutely provide more fiber (1 apple has 3-4g of fiber) and texture. Peel if you choose, but you'll be missing out on some killer nutrients. Choose which ever apples you have on hand or the ones you prefer. We're not the biggest fan of the tart ones so I used a combination of braeburn and gala.

Also, get the apple 'sauce' going first then make the pancakes. This will help you wrap up a hearty breakfast in about 30 minutes. Wrap leftover pancakes tightly or store in airtight containers up to a week for a quick weekday warrior breakfast.

If you enjoy fall flavors as much as I do, these pancakes are worth making. Or, at least the apple sauce topping. The sauce would work well over whole wheat waffles, multi-grain toast, or your favorite pancake mix.

Whole Grain Pumpkin Apple Pancakes
Serves 4 (makes about 10 5-inch pancakes)

For the apple sauce topping:
3 large apples, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cup 100% apple juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch or 4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup

For pancakes:
1 3/4 cups whole grain pancake mix (I used Hodgson's Mill Buckwheat Pancake Mix)
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves (if you don't have the above individual spices, add about 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice)
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup soy or almond milk
1/4 cup apple juice (or additional soy/almond milk)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or 2 tablespoons flour) with the apple juice. Place into medium saucepan with diced apples, syrup, and cinnamon. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. Once boiling, simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once apples are tender, mash a few as stirring to thicken. Mix the additional tablespoon of cornstarch with room temperature water and add to mixture. This will get it even thicker and goopier.
3. Mix dry pancake ingredients into large mixing bowl. Pour wet ingredients in and stir until thoroughly blended. Fold in chopped walnuts.
4. In a preheated non-stick skillet, scoop batter and pour into pan to form pancakes. You should be able to fit 3 in a large skillet. Cook over medium low heat until edges are dry and middle is slightly wet. This is a thick batter, and won't bubble like some mixes. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes on other side.
5. Keep pancakes warm by setting oven on 'warm' and place on cookie sheet. Otherwise, enjoy immediately served with hot apple topping. 

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