Whole Wheat Cinnamon Pancakes with Brown Butter Apples

Apple Cinnamon PancakesAs you may remember, John and I like to make a big breakfast on Saturday mornings.  We take this first weekend morning as an excuse to wake up late (7:00 am instead of 5:00), drink coffee in bed, and take some time to make a more time-consuming breakfast dish. This is our lazy time before our Saturday workouts. This week, we decided, was a pancake week.

Since I am attempting to eat healthier, I decided that I would have to make some changes to my standard indulgent pancake recipe.  I knew that I would still use butter because it’s just worth it, but I also wanted to swap in a couple of the items on my daily list from my healthy eating plan.  I chose to use whole wheat flour rather than AP flour, and I made a topping with real fruit rather than just melting preserves. While these changes don’t make my pancakes exactly healthy, they did make them much heartier and we ate less while still feeling just as satisfied.

In addition to the changes above, I also used brown sugar instead of granulated sugar and added cinnamon.  I knew I was going to use apples in my topping, so I wanted to add some flavors that would go well with that. I also used much more yogurt and cut back on the milk, which made the pancakes fluffier.

For the fruit topping, I chose apples because we are moving toward fall.  The apple topping was simple to make, and it cooked in the same amount of time it took me to cook all of the pancakes on my small griddle. I browned some butter, added some sliced apples, and sprinkled them with some cinnamon and brown sugar. Then, I let them caramelize while I worked on the pancakes.

These pancakes taste great and really fill you up, plus they sneak in some whole wheat and fruit. Enjoy these semi-healthy pancakes when you have your next lazy morning!

makes about eight 6-inch pancakes

Cinnamon Apple Pancake StackIngredients



1 cup whole wheat flour
1 level tsp. baking soda
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
¼ cup brown sugar

1/8 tsp. cinnamon


1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup milk (I use vanilla almond, low-fat, or whole milk)
¼ cup (half a stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg


2 tbs butter
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch slices
2 tbs. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon


Start by pre-heating your griddle or pan. You want it to be at medium-high temperature when that first cake hits the pan.


  1. Add the dry ingredients to medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk lightly to combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl.
  4. Whisk to combine the ingredients into a lumpy batter. The batter should be thick but pourable. If the batter is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons more milk to thin it.Once you have mixed your batter, this is a good time to start your apple topping. This way, both the pancakes and the topping will be finish cooking at about the same time. (See instructions for apple topping below).
  5. To cook the pancakes, smear the griddle with butter or coconut oil and spread it very thinly and evenly over your griddle/pan.
  6. Spoon, ladle, or pour about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake onto your pan.
  7. Cook until bubbles break through on the surface and the batter is set, approximately 3-4 minutes. You can use the spatula to lift the pancake and check for doneness.
  8. Gently flip the pancake over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Continue this method until all pancakes are cooked.
  10. Serve with brown butter apple topping.


  1. Start the apple topping by heating a pan to medium-low heat. (If you are not familiar with browning butter, you should use a light-colored pan so you can see the color-change occur more easily.)
  2. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt slowly and evenly by stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  3. After the butter is melted, cook it over low temperature until it start to bubble. Then, you can raise the heat to medium. The butter will quickly begin to brown, so continue to stir so it browns evenly.
  4. Once the butter is light brown in color and smells nutty, add in the apples. Stir to coat the apples with the butter and allow them to sit undisturbed in the pan for a few minutes so they can caramelize.Once you get to this point, you can begin your cooking your pancakes. Be sure to keep your eyes on the apples and stir them every few minutes. I like to check and stir every time I pour the batter and every time I flip the pancakes.
  5. When the apples are just tender, add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the pan and stir until combined. Allow to continue to cook until the juices from the apple combined with the butter and the sugar become syrupy. Turn off heat.

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