So the inspiration for these bad boys came about on a dark and stormy morning (the morning of my birthday, to be exact). Well, it wasn’t really dark and stormy at all–just a bit cold (I’m a January birthday). Although, I really don’t know how much room I have to complain about the cold seeing as I live in Arizona, a desert land mocked for its relentless heat. But hey! I swear it does get a little cold in the winter here.
Living in Tucson at the time for college, my boyfriend and I were on our way up to Mt. Lemmon, a popular go-to spot for Tucsonans, to sit at our favorite lookout point and paint pictures. It’s sort of become this yearly birthday tradition for us, although since moving up to Scottsdale, we’ve started to lose grip of the tradition a bit (sad face). Anyway, I had heard great things about a little divey place called Bobo’s Restaurant. It’s one of those Tucson gems that’s a little rough around the edges and helps make the city the eclectic, quirky, diverse place that it is. We sat up at the breakfast bar, which felt reminiscent of an old diner, the sizzling sounds of steaming bacon mixed with the scent of hot syrup and fresh coffee.
We ended up both ordering these huge pancake plates, and let me say, they were delicious. I confess, they were so decadent and plentiful, I couldn’t quite finish them all (though I tried my very best)! Gigantic in size, these pancakes were filled with warm apples and covered in a sweet, crunchy, cinnamon-sugar glaze. Kinda like apple pie on a flapjack.
As I watched them being made, I thought, I have got to give this a go.
Cinnamon Sugar Apple Pancakes
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt
A pinch of cinnamon
1 1/4 cup buttermilk*
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 tbs melted butter
2 tbs sugar
1/2 gala or granny smith apple, skinned and cut into chunks
*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, put a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar in a liquid measuring cup and fill the cup with milk (preferably whole milk) until you get to 1 1/4 cup.
For the Topping:
A few slices of butter at room temperature (about 1/2 tbs for each pancake)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, only)
With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla, mixing just until the clumps of dry flour are gone. Be sure not to over mix. Then, add the sugar, melted butter and apples, stirring until combined. Cook on a griddle or large pan over medium temperature with a bit of butter, but keep watch!
Once you flip your pancakes for the first time, take a chunk of butter and spread it across the cooked side of your cakes, then sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon sugar over the top. When the other side looks done, flip it over one last time to allow the butter and cinnamon sugar mixture to crystallize. It only needs about 30 seconds. This is what gives them that nice, crunchy texture, almost like an apple streusel. Stack them on a plate, pair with a nice big mug of coffee and cream, and enjoy!