Whole Wheat Apple Pie Pancakes

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I couldn’t resist the combination of apple pie pancakes with cinnamon maple syrup on a fall day. I whipped these up on Sunday morning, and they were just as amazing as they sound. They’re made a bit more healthy with some whole-wheat flour, and there’s a double dose of apple in the batter from applesauce and a grated apple. But the cinnamon maple syrup is what makes these pancakes truly crave-worthy.

Whole Wheat Apple Pie Pancakes (from Christine Gallary; makes about 12 (3-1/2-inch) pancakes)

For the syrup:
1 cup maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Amber
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the pancakes:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 medium, sweet apple, such as Rome or Pink Lady (about 8 ounces)
3 to 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
Butter, for serving

For the syrup:
Heat the maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add the cinnamon, whisk to combine, and remove from the heat. Cover and keep warm.

For the pancakes:
Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place a baking sheet in the oven.

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.

Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until they’re just broken up. Add the milk, applesauce, melted butter, and brown sugar, and whisk until evenly combined and there are no lumps of brown sugar; set aside.

Grate the apple on the large holes of a box grater (no need to peel) and set aside.

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until the flour is just incorporated and no streaks remain. (The batter may have a few lumps.) Using your hands, gently squeeze the excess moisture out of the grated apple. Fold it into the batter until just evenly combined.

Heat a large, seasoned cast iron skillet, nonstick frying pan, or griddle over medium heat. Test to see if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling a couple of drops of cold water in it: If the water bounces and sputters, the pan is ready to use; if it evaporates instantly, the pan is too hot.

Once the pan is ready, add 1 teaspoon of the oil and tilt the pan to coat. Ladle the batter into the pan in 1/3-cup portions. Cook until bubbles appear on the top and the bottoms are golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Using a flat spatula, flip the pancakes. Use the spatula to gently press down on each pancake to flatten slightly.

Cook until the second side is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan between batches. Serve immediately with butter and the cinnamon maple syrup (rewhisk the syrup if needed first).

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