Just like the changing colors of leaves and the arrival of cooler weather, apples and autumn go hand in hand. Even though this modern age mom can buy apples any day of the year thanks to a global farming economy, the apples ripened right here in the good ole USA seem to taste the best! Did you know there are more than 2,500 varieties of apples grown in American orchards and most are still picked by hand in the fall season?! Fall reminds me of apple cider, baked apples, even applesauce cups with cinnamon. I came up with the easiest way to incorporate this seasonal flavor into your morning meal with these delicious (and deceivingly easy to prepare) Easy Apple Pancakes with Sugar-Free Apple Cider Syrup.
The little secret that makes this recipe so quick and simple is the use of convenience products including “complete” pancake mix (the kind that calls for just adding water), bottled applesauce and pre-made apple cider. I have an overachieving Martha Stewart-esque friend who tried to make her own apple cider and it took at least three dozen apples and way too much time – plus, it didn’t really taste any better than store bought! My pancake breakfast recipe is equally delicious with any of the three varieties of apple cider Litehouse Food offers – Gala, Honey Crisp and the traditional Apple Cider which is a blend of apple varieties. All off these naturally gluten-free ciders are cold pressed 100% juice made from Washington state apples. In addition to “cleaning up” this recipe by incorporating unsweetened applesauce in the pancakes, I’ve also omitted the processed white sugar typically found in syrup recipes by replacing it with stevia which is an all-natural, calorie-free sweetener. You can always swap the whole cup of sugar back in if you like, but with the way my three teen boys pour on puddles and puddles of syrup I prefer this lightened version – plus, the apple cider is so naturally sweet by itself! In my busy world, making pancakes on a griddle is really a weekend activity, regardless of the recipe’s simplicity. So here’s the good news, these pancakes can be made ahead and kept in the freezer so that you and your family can have a homey, fall-flavored morning meal or “breakfast for dinner” at a moment’s notice. To freeze pancakes, make sure they are cooled completely and then stack them in a zip-lock bag. To reheat, arrange 2 or 3 pancakes unstacked on a microwave-safe plate and heat for approximately 1 minute on 50 percent power. It’s that easy!