Happy 2011! As promised this year is "condiments" year and I'm starting out with my little brain child: apple cider caramel syrup...but what's syrup without a pancake right?
I've never been much for following a recipe. I see the recipe and think, "To heck with that. This sounds so much better!" That's how both these little recipes came about! I love it.
I started out to make Apple Caramel Jelly, and ended up with Apple Caramel Syrup instead. I'm not particularly sad. It just means a second attempt will be made, and until then my pancakes are going to be very tasty! I also canned the syrup, so I have a nice stock pile for the remainder of the year! Delightful!
In case the idea of canning just scared you, don't worry! You don't have to can the syrup. I just did because it was supposed to be jelly. (And since I was trying to go old school without fruit pectin and cook it by hand, and am not as of yet particularly adept as understanding the "set tests" I failed and stopped the cooking a good bit too soon). Canning is actually beautifully easy, none of those water baths and boiling jars are actually necessary. Thank you modern sciences for improving canning so wonderfully! If you have a dishwasher and an oven you are ready to go....well and jars, and lids, and something to can!
But I have something for you to can right here!
1 quart apple cider
5-1/2 cups sugar
7 half pint jars and lids
If canning, heat your oven to 200 degrees. On a cookie sheet place your clean jars and lid pieces. Put in oven until ready to use.
Place a small plate in your freezer.
Start with an even layer of 3 cups of sugar in a heavy-duty pan, such as a deep skillet. Heat the sugar over moderate heat, until it begins to melt. Continue cooking over very low heat, stirring as little as possible, until the entire mixture has becomes a dark amber liquid. Meanwhile begin the apple cider mixture.
In a large stock pot, combine the apple cider and remaining sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add in caramel sauce. The caramel will seize up. Return the juice to a low boil and continue to stir until the seized caramel liquefies into the sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce feels slightly thickened. Pour a teaspoon of sauce onto the small plate in your freezer. If, after a minute, the apple caramel mixture feels like a syrup to the touch and appears decently thick, you are ready to can it. If not, continue to cook testing every few minutes.
When ready remove the tray of jars and lids from the oven. Ladle or pour the syrup into the jars leaving only a ¼ inch gap at the top. Put on lids tightly, and carefully, and then place, lid side down on the counter to cool (this is seal the jar and sterilize the air left inside). Allow to cool completely before turning right side up and storing.
If using immediately put into a storage container and allow cooling slightly before eating.
Store opened unused syrup in the refrigerator.
Apple Cider Buttermilk Pancakes
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar or 1 tablespoon sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons powdered buttermilk**
¾ cup apple cider
½ cup butter, melted
In a bowl combine the flour, vanilla sugar, baking powder, salt and buttermilk. Combine cider, egg, and melted butter in a separate bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Pour batter by ¼ cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot skillet, griddle or pan. Flip when bubbles appear on top of pancakes and finish cooking.
** I use buttermilk powder in the pancakes, which is something I highly recommend owning, as buttermilk will often go bad before used fully, and the powder has a higher variety of uses! I bought mine in the baking section of my local grocery store.