Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

When my morning alarm makes itself heard, I roll out of bed without grace, wiping the sleep from my eyes. Some mornings I move faster than others, but the result is always the same. The sky is still dark when I awake, making it feel more like winter than fall. I turn on a few lights, soft and dim, to gradually awaken my mind that is half here and half in dreamland. I begin the process of preparing myself for a new day, ever conscious of the hands moving on the clock.

I'm learning to become a morning person.

I appreciate mornings after the fact, when I am awake, the sun is up, and the world is buzzing. I'm trying to change this mentality, to roll out a welcome mat when the beep of my alarm clock signals another day. To wake up earlier so I can be more relaxed and less mindful of the minutes on the clock. To wish the sun a good morning when it begins its ascent into the clouds instead of cursing it as it shines directly into my eyes on my drive to work.

I wonder if these wishes aren't too big—after all, it's hard to transform a night owl into a chipper morning lark.

Weekend mornings, on the other hand, I have down just right. In fact, these calm moments at the beginning of the day, when I have nowhere to go and no one to be. I roll out of bed with grace, taking my time with every task, both big and small. Last weekend, I made myself a stack of pancakes. Cooked individually on the stove, one at a time, I let myself run on pancake time. Topped with cooked apples and maple syrup, I sat in my pajamas and watched the minutes tick by, knowing that today those minutes meant little to nothing to me.

If pancakes won't help me become a morning person, I don't know what will.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes complete the autumnal weekend brunch. The pancakes are spiced and made with apple cider to add a fall flavor palette. Before serving, the pancakes are topped with cinnamon apples cooked down in a cider until soft, yet firm. With a drizzle of maple syrup, these pancakes take morning to the next level.

One Year Ago: Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins and Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Two Years Ago: Zucchini Bread and Lemon Blueberry Scones
Three Years Ago: Brown Sugar Coconut Bubble Tea and Whole Wheat Baquettes

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Yields about 4 servings

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (90 grams) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup (240 ml) apple cider
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg, apple cider, and melted butter. Stir together until combined (a few lumps are okay).

Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a heated griddle and cook each side until lightly browned. Serve hot with apple cinnamon topping (below).

Apple Cinnamon Topping
4 large apples (or 6-8 small apples), peeled and cored
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup (180 ml) apple cider
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cut the apples into 1/8-inch slices and cut those slices in half. Put the apples in a saucepan and add the lemon juice and apple cider. Stir apples to coat thoroughly with the mixture. Cover the apples and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes.

Add brown sugar. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook uncovered until the juice thickens and the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon.

To serve, spoon apple cinnamon on top of pancakes. Drizzle with warm maple syrup.