…And just like that January is over!
It’s amazing how quickly January always flies by each year. I can’t say I’m totally sad about it, January tends to be a bit of a weird month for me. On one hand it’s exciting because it’s the start of a brand new year and I love to make plans, set goals, and take a moment to develop a fresh outlook on the year.
On the other hand, it’s the dark, cold, dreary, post-holidays blah month. Hence, why I try to always have a vacation planned for sometime between February and May. This gives me something very exciting to look forward to (I LOVE travel) and I also make sure to place an effort on eating bright, nutritious whole-foods to combat the winter blahs as I mentioned my post a couple weeks ago.
Luckily, while the winter wanes on, February happens to be a pretty awesome month for me…and for you.
I just arrived in Maui (pop on over to my instagram to follow along my trip!) and it’s officially Apple Month! “Apple Month” is an annual winter event across Western Canada that celebrates quality produce, local growers, and of course apples grown on British Columbia soil. Fresh fruit may seem like a Summer thing but fresh B.C. apples are actually available all year round, including the cold winter months. Fresh, juicy apples are a great way to brighten up dreary February days, that’s for sure!
Last year I teamed up with BC Tree Fruits for Apple Month and shared my favourite ways to enjoy apples on the blog. This year, we are at it again and I’ve got an amazing month of apple-filled recipes and nutritional tips for you, starting with this delicious recipe for Healthy Caramel Apple Pancakes.
It’s probably hard to believe that something smothered in caramel sauce could be healthy, but trust me, there’s not an ounce of refined sweeteners or artificial anything in this dish.
Apples and caramel have always made a blissful flavour combination and something that instantly makes us think of sweet treat, but I’ve come up with a way to bring those amazing flavours right to start of the day at breakfast. The apple pancakes are dense, moist, sweet (but not overly sweet), and completely gluten and dairy free. On their own, they are pretty tasty, but to take it up a notch I chose to sauté fresh, crunchy, and juicy sliced gala apples in a pan with some cinnamon until they were soft and caramelized making the perfect pancake topper.
Apples are a source of dietary fibre and they also contain pectins which have been shown to interact with other phytonutrients found in apples. This interaction helps regulate blood fat levels in the body which promotes the prevention of heart disease, so apples are really a heart-healthy food. Researchers have actually found that consuming 1 medium-sized apple at or before a meal helps to control hunger and reduce the incidence of overeating, which is why they are a great food to enjoy in the morning at breakfast! These pancakes combined with the apple will fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied throughout the morning until you are ready for a healthy snack or lunch.
For the final touch to this dish, the caramel sauce, I went with a simple combination of full-fat coconut milk, pure maple syrup, tapioca starch (which acts as a natural thickener), vanilla, and a pinch of salt. You’d be surprised at how close this combination comes to the consistency and taste of traditional caramel sauce, however there’s no refined sugar, butter, or milk in sight!
For a warming, sweet, comforting, and nutritious breakfast this month, I encourage you to give these Healthy Caramel Apple Pancakes a try!
While I’m soaking up the sun and sand here in Maui, I’ll be posting on my instagram stories and instagram account regularly as I go, and be sure to stay tuned for a seriously delicious Valentine’s Day inspired apple recipe coming at you next Sunday!
- Gluten Free Apple Pancakes:
- ⅔ cup all purpose gluten free flour
- heaping ⅛ tsp xanthan gum
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons apple sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Sautéed Apples:
- 1 large apple, sliced thinly (of your favourite variety, I used BC Tree Fruits Gala!)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon pure maple syurp
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup water
- Caramel Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons full-fat canned coconut milk
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon tapioca starch
- pinch sea salt
- Begin by preparing the sautéed apples. Heat a large pan over medium/high heat and add in the olive oil to warm.
- Add in the sliced apples, cinnamon and pure maple syrup.
- Sauté the apples in the pan for 6-8 minutes adding water periodically, about 1 tablespoon at a time, t o deglaze the pan and prevent the apples from sticking.
- Once the apples are softened and browned, remove from the pan and place in a covered dish to keep warm.
- Next, prepare the pancakes. Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
- In another smaller bowl whisk together the wet ingredients and add the wet mixture to the dry.
- Fold the mixture until it is well combined and you have a smooth, slightly runny pancake batter.
- Heat a griddle or large non-stick pan over medium heat and add in the pancake batter, creating 4" diameter round pancakes. Cook each pancake for 1-2 minutes per side, then flip and cook another 1-2 minutes. Repeat to make 6-8 pancakes total.
- Place the pancakes in a warming dish or try to keep warm and prepare the caramel sauce.
- Whisk together the tapioca starch with the coconut milk in a small bowl until the tapioca is completely dissolved.
- Add in the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt, and stir again.
- Heat a small pan over low heat and add in the mixture.
- Cook in the pan until the mixture starts bubbling and thickens, transfer to a bowl.
- Assemble your pancake stacks. Between two plates divide the pancakes and the sautéed apples, layering the pancakes with the sautéed apples.
- Finish by drizzling ½ of the caramel sauce over each stack of pancakes.
Have a wonderful Sunday and here’s to a great start to Apple Month!
Nutritionist in the Kitch