Apple-Spice Pancakes with Boiled Cider Syrup
Makes about 12 medium-sized pancakes
2 cups fresh apple cider (not from concentrate)
Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, star anise (optional)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 medium tart apples, coarsely grated (peeling is optional)
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Butter for frying the pancakes
Prepare the cider syrup: Place the apple cider in a medium saucepan. Add any of the following to spice the cider (optional): 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 whole cloves, 1 star anise. Bring the cider to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and allow the cider to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened slightly and reduced to about 1/2 cup (20-30 minutes.) Remove the spices with a slotted spoon, and stir in the maple syrup. Set the mixture over low heat to keep warm.
Prepare the pancakes: In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, the sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Gently squeeze some of the juice out of the grated apples, then add them to the flour mixture, tossing to coat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until combined.
Place a large skillet or a griddle over medium heat and coat it with a thin layer of the butter. Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, drop the batter in about 3 tablespoon portions onto the skillet, flattening them out a bit with the back of the spoon.
Cook the pancakes until they are golden brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the pancakes and cook them for another 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve immediately, drizzled with the ridiculously yummy cider syrup!