Breakfast, Pancakes

SRC: Apple Cider Pancakes

Flavorful fall pancakes–made with apple cider and topped with cinnamon sugar, these pancakes are a real treat! 

Flavorful fall pancakes--made with apple cider and topped with cinnamon sugar, these pancakes are a real treat!  #secretrecipeclub

It’s time for a FALL DISHES themed edition of Secret Recipe Club! Even though I’m still sad that the club is retiring next month, I’m pumped for today because fall food is my favorite!! Pumpkin and apples and squash… yes, please! For this special edition of SRC, I was assigned to Erin’s wonderful blog, The Spiffy Cookie. Fun fact: the word “spiffy” was one of my favorite words in junior high/early high school. My friends and I were really kind of weird, and had all sorts of nicknames for ourselves. I was Spiffy Sarah. Or Scarah. Or Schara. I don’t know how I spelled it but it basically sounded like “scary+Sarah” combined. Like I said… we were weird. was weird. But I digress…

I don’t know how I first met Erin through blogging, but I’ve been fortunate to be part of a variety of blogging events with her over the years [like our weekly Menu Plan posts]. She always makes such creative dishes, especially for her #PBChocSat where she celebrates all things peanut butter chocolate to support her Buckeyes. 🙂 I obviously had a tough time to choosing what to make from her blog. Some close runner ups to these AMAZING apple cider pancakes included: Penne with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Goat Cheese, Apple Maple Turkey BurgersSpeculoos & Pumpkin Spice Oreo Lasagna, and S’mores Pumpkin Pie. There were a bunch of other runner up recipes too, but I couldn’t link to 20 of her recipes in one post. That would just be crazytown.

Flavorful fall pancakes--made with apple cider and topped with cinnamon sugar, these pancakes are a real treat!  #secretrecipeclub

So let’s talk pancakes, specifically these Apple Cider Pancakes. Pancakes are, without a doubt, my most favorite breakfast food. There’s just something about them that I love. It’s more than just the crispy edges and versatility… but they can be SO flavorful and can be the basis for SO many toppings, it’s unreal. They just seem like breakfast for special days, and who doesn’t like special days?!? I just love them! ❤ I’ll admit they are a little time consuming to whip up and cook on the stove, but homemade pancakes are way better than the plain pucks you can purchase at the grocery store. Did I just say that? Whoops. 🙂

These Apple Cider Pancakes are full of REAL apple cider flavor. Be sure to use good apple cider so all the warm fall spices and apple-y goodness comes through. 🙂 Erin topped her pancakes with a fabulous cinnamon sugar topping, a la an apple cider doughnut from an apple orchard… Let me just say–DON’T SKIP THIS PART.

Flavorful fall pancakes--made with apple cider and topped with cinnamon sugar, these pancakes are a real treat!  #secretrecipeclub


The cinnamon sugar topping takes these pancakes to the next level. They are unbelievable; a real treat without being a big sugar bomb. I know you’ll love them! Enjoy! Thanks, Erin for a great recipe!

one year ago: Beef Stroganoff 
two years ago: Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Tenderloin
three years ago: Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote
four years ago: Pumpkin, Kale, & Black Bean Stew
five years ago: Individual Pumpkin Pie Parfaits
six years ago: Aunt Charlotte’s Tex Mex Corn

Apple Cider Pancakes

  • Servings: 20 pancakes
  • Print

from The Spiffy Cookie


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, regular or Greek
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • canola oil
  • butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon


In a large bowl, stir together both types of flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, olive oil, buttermilk, yogurt, honey, and apple cider. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then stir until combined. Mixture will be lumpy. Let batter rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

When skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil to pan. Pour batter onto hot skillet in 1/4 cup increments. Cook for two to three minutes on the first side until bubbles form, then flip and cook on other side until golden brown. Add extra oil as needed so pancakes don’t stick, and don’t be afraid to adjust heat as needed if pancakes start to get too dark over time.

Meanwhile, mix sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

After pancakes are removed from pan, melt butter on top of each pancake, then top with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes: If your pancakes are, for lack of a better word, greasy enough already – no need to top with extra butter before adding cinnamon sugar. I found I only needed the butter on about half of the pancakes to make the cinnamon sugar stick.

Check out other fall dishes at the link below!

30 Before 30, Breakfast, Pastries, Recipes

Apple Fritters

Apple fritters at home. Easy, no fuss, and absolutely amazing! 

Apple Fritters |

I LOVE apple fritters. Absolutely love them. When they’re among my doughnut choices, I’ll almost always take one. Cake doughnuts with chocolate glaze and sprinkles are a close second, as are those fake-blueberry doughnuts. [Doughnuts are so yum, doncha think?] I’m not sure what it is about apple fritters that I adore the most–probably those soft pieces of sweet fall apples stuffed inside. Or the combination of soft, pillowy doughnut with a crunchy, spiced glaze. Mmmm!

Apple Fritters |

Since I love apple fritters so much, I decided to put them on my 30 before 30 list. I shy away from making doughnuts at home because using my baked doughnut pan is such a pain and frying scares me. But growing older means getting over fears, so I decided that I had to fry these babies at home. Because apple fritters equal yum. I made them the night I got home from a fall trip to Hilton Head Island with my family last month. Weird, I know. I mean, who doesn’t make doughnuts after an eight hour drive?!? 🙂 Well, I had to, because they were my payment to my sister and brother-in-law for driving me back to Nashville after Ben had to leave early to get back to school.

Apple Fritters |

Well, I’m really glad I faced my fears because guess what! Frying isn’t as hard as it seems. It’s kinda messy and not that great for you, so I don’t think I’ll be doing it alllll the time, but once in awhile it’s fun. You just have to go slowly and carefully to avoid scalding yourself with the hot oil. Other than that, no problem. These fritters are so darn good and so easy that you’ll want to make them every weekend.

Apple Fritters |

The fritters are extra apple-y since they’re made with apple cider AND fresh apples. And extra spicy [not spicy-hot but warm spicy with cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves alongside the aforementioned apple cider]. But that’s just in the fritter! The spiced apple glaze is simple [powdered sugar + apple cider + spices] and absolutely wonderful! I think I’ll be using this glaze on muffins and cakes and everything else imaginable from now on. It is just the perfect compliment to the fluffy doughnut. Each bite of these fritters is better than the last. You know you can just get over some sweets after the first few bites? Like it’s just too much after a bit? Well, these fritters are not that. Each bite is better than the last. I hope you love these fritters as much as we did. They’re relatively quick to make and don’t require the oven, so wouldn’t they be perfect for Thanksgiving breakfast? Enjoy!

one year ago: Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes
two years ago: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
three years ago: Dilled Carrots
four years ago: Apple City BBQ Sauce

Apple Fritters

  • Servings: 12
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from Cook’s Country via We Are Not Martha


  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, + chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oil [I used canola, vegetable or peanut are also recommended]

for glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Place chopped apples in a single layer on a clean tea towel. Top with another clean tea towel and pat dry, gently rolling to dry all sides of the apples. Remove top towel and pat dry with a paper towel to make sure you got it all. Alternatively, you can use paper towels on a baking sheet.

Next, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In large measuring cup, whisk together cider, eggs, butter, and vanilla. Add apples to the flour mixture and toss together. Then gradually pour cider mixture over apples, stirring to form a thick batter.

In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 350 degrees F. I think you could also use a deep skillet but you’d need additional oil to fill it up. A deep skillet would allow you to cook more at once, but the dutch oven approach works well too.

When oil is hot, scoop batter by the 1/3 cup-fulls into the hot oil. Immediately use a wooden spoon to press and flatten the batter. I fried 3 fritters at once; if I had used a skillet I think I could have done 4-5 at once. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side, being careful not to let the oil temperature go above 350 or your fritters will burn. Ask me how I know. :-/ Adjust heat as necessary to keep temperature between 325-350.

When fritters are golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and allow to cool on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to catch dripping grease. Repeat until batter is finished. Recipe should yield 12 fritters.

When fritters have cooled slightly, make the icing. I did this after all fritters were done frying and the timing worked well. Whisk powdered sugar together with cider, then add cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth, then drizzle 1 tablespoon over each fritter. I had extra glaze so I waited for the glaze to set for 10 minutes and then glazed them again to use it up.

Fritters are best enjoyed within 3 days. After the first day, they should be refrigerated.

Chaider: A Fall Treat with Apple Cider and Chai |
Beverages, Recipes


Chaider is an awesome fall treat; the perfect blend of hot apple cider and chai. It’s fall in a mug!

Chaider: A Fall Treat with Apple Cider and Chai | thepajamachef.comThere’s this great coffee shop in Ben’s college town, Athens, OH, called Donkey. Saying they are great is a total underestimation of their wonderfulness. They’ve won awards for having the best coffee in the state of Ohio and they totally deserve it! I lived in Athens for two years and went to Donkey on my first full day in town per the recommendation of a friend. I had no idea the love I would develop for that coffee shop, and not just because it was the place of our second date [and many more afterwards]. It’s the best coffee I’ve ever tasted, and the atmosphere inside is even better.  You can literally spend all day there, lounging in one of the comfy armchairs under the funky lights. It’s one of my favorite places in the world and I would seriously consider leaving Nashville behind to head back to that tiny college town just so I could frequent Donkey Coffee on a regular basis.

Chaider: A Fall Treat with Apple Cider and Chai | thepajamachef.comLike many coffee shops, Donkey serves up a variety of specialty seasonal drinks. I have no idea if they do the pumpkin thing, but I do know they do the Chaider thing. I’m sure to many folks, Chaider sounds a bit weird, but it’s actually pretty phenomenal. It’s this fun blend of apple cider and chai, perfectly spiced and served hot. It’s always in high demand during the fall since you can only get it for a few short months. It’s Ben’s favorite, and since we are 5+ hours away from Donkey, I just had to find a way to make it at home!

Chaider: A Fall Treat with Apple Cider and Chai | thepajamachef.comIn the past I have made chaider by blending fresh apple cider with some chai. Pretty simple. But this year, I think I finally found the secret to making authentic homemade chaider–fresh orange juice, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Boil and simmer, then remove cinnamon and cloves before serving. It takes a little more time but amps the flavors up SO much more. For this drink you’ll need to use coffee shop style chai, so either the bottled concentrate or the powdered stuff. Chai tea bags aren’t exactly the same thing. Donkey uses the powdered kind of chai [and has their own wonderful blend, in case you’re ever there in the non-fall months] so that’s what I used too.

Chaider: A Fall Treat with Apple Cider and Chai | thepajamachef.comWhen I made a batch of this on a recent Sunday afternoon, Ben said he felt like he was back at Donkey again. I’d consider that a win! Try it soon–you’ll love it! It’s a perfect drink for an afternoon walk in the woods to admire the leaves or a cozy night at home or whatever else suits your fancy in the fall. Ahhh, bliss.

Chaider: A Fall Treat with Apple Cider and Chai | thepajamachef.comone year ago: Pizza Frittata
two years ago: Lemon Herb Eggs in Ciabatta
three years ago: Candy Corn Pretzel Bites
four years ago: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls


  • Servings: 2
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  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cups chai [I use the powdered chai mix from Trader Joe’s–2 scoops + 1 1/2 cups water whisked together]
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and heat for 5-10 minutes or until hot.

Remove cinnamon stick and cloves, then divide between 2 mugs and serve hot.

Linked with Weekend Potluck

Breakfast, Muffins, Recipes

Apple Peanut Butter Muffins

A few weeks ago on a lovely Sunday afternoon, Ben and I took a trip to Anderson Orchard with some friends from church. We had a great time picking apples [Ben climbed the trees to get the best ones!], eating yummy apple cobbler from the concession stand, and just spending time with friends, of course.

Our apples were a mixture of Jonathan, Jonagold, Red Delicious [totally different off the tree than the boring, overly waxed hotel lobby variety], and possibly some others. We just wandered the row We just love apples… you can never have too many!

Except honeycrisp. I’m the weirdo who doesn’t like honeycrisp.

But back to the apple orchard… Aside from the peck of apples we picked [about 10 pounds], we also bought a half peck in the farm store that was pre-picked. So we came home with close to 15 pounds of apples… only some are shown below… this was when our bag wasn’t full yet.

Soon after getting home from the orchard, we made a big batch of crock pot chunky applesauce. I had big plans to bake and bake and bake lots of apple deliciousness. Then I got busy with my thesis, then I got a cold. Excuses, excuses. So I just ate tons of sliced apples with gobs of creamy natural peanut butter. Yum, yum. Then comes Friday night.

Being the exciting couple that we are, Ben and I went running after he came home from work then made some stellar black bean quesadillas for dinner. We cleaned the apartment, did laundry, carted a bunch of Goodwill donations to the car, and watched some Parenthood, Netflix style [I’m a season behind–no spoilers please!]. Then at 10:30 pm, I decided I needed to bake. NEEDED TO BAKE. It was like, a necessity. I wasn’t sure what to make, but it was too late to wait for butter to soften so muffins it was!

Ben retreated into his video game room [aka the guest bedroom] while I made a mess in the kitchen, eventually emerging with these amazing treats of joy. Yes, that’s their actual name. Well, it should be.

Apple Peanut Butter Muffins are a great spiced muffin–the perfect combination of warm fall spices [cinnamon! apple cider!] as well as a nod to the quintessential healthy snack combination [apples and peanut butter]. I cannot even begin to express my feelings about these muffins. I just cannot stop eating them and savoring each chunk of apple that dots the light and fluffy muffin.

Wait–light and fluffy, you say? To keep something peanut butter flavored light and fluffy, I had to reach deep into the pantry for a solution. In the past, I have found that adding straight-up peanut butter to muffin batter usually renders them a bit dense. So, I decided to use peanut butter chips instead. And let me just be so bold as to say that this was a fabulous decision! To mimic the peanut butter burst enjoyed when dipping an apple slice in peanut butter, I clustered the peanut butter chips in the center of the muffin. However, if you want to share the love, feel free to mix the chips into the batter. I’m sure that would be great too!

I thought the best way to enjoy these muffins was with a fresh dab of natural peanut butter on top, but Ben would completely disagree. He’s just weird though. 🙂 I say more is better. Enjoy!

Apple Peanut Butter Muffins [heavily adapted from an Apple Muffin recipe I wrote down from a friend/roommate/someone a long time ago and didn’t credit…sorry!]

click to print


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups apples [cored, peeled, diced into 1/2 inch cubes]
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • ~1/4 cup peanut butter chips


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl stir together flours, sugars, baking powder, and cinnamon. Reserve 1/4 cup of the dry ingredients, then toss with diced apples.

Next, whisk together cider, oil, and egg. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fold in apples.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons batter into muffin liners, then top with 5 or 6 peanut butter chips. Fill the rest of the way with batter.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean [be careful not to land an apple instead!].

Time: 30 minutes [10 minutes active]

Yield: 12-14.