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2 sweet and unique pancake recipes to add flavor to National Pancake Day

Follow along here for instructions on how to make these sweet treats.

February 28, 2024, 8:01 AM

National Pancake Day is here, and there may be no better way to ring in the occasion than learning new and exciting recipes.

Chefs Josh Capon and Adam Richman joined "Good Morning America" on Wednesday to share two unique pancake recipes using apples as a main ingredient for a sweet treat to add into the breakfast rotation.

PHOTO: Chefs Josh Capon and Adam Richman with Michael Strahan on "Good Morning America."
Chefs Josh Capon and Adam Richman with Michael Strahan on "Good Morning America."
ABC News

Capon, the chef and partner of Little Maven in New York City, created a confection that combines two of his favorites -- cinnamon buns and pancakes -- "this is like a lovechild," he said of the dish that's a nod to one on the brunch items at his restaurant. Check out his full recipe below for swirl pancakes with caramelized apples and toasted pecans.

Richman jazzed up buttermilk pancakes with apple topping and caramel sauce, plus utilized bacon fat to add a punch of umami to the plate.

Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes with Caramelized Apples and Toasted Pecans

PHOTO: A plate of cinnamon apple pancakes with toasted pecans and cream cheese icing.
A plate of cinnamon apple pancakes with toasted pecans and cream cheese icing.
ABC News

For the pancakes
1 1/2 cups milk (might need a little more)
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons oil

Cinnamon Swirl Filling
10 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
3 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the apples
3-4 Granny Smith Apples peeled and diced
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup

For the pecans
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon butter
Pinch of salt

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl.
Whisk eggs, milk, melted butter, oil and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl.
Slowly pour milk mixture into flour mixture while whisking constantly until batter is just moistened and evenly mixed.
Let sit for 5-10 mins before cooking.

For the filling: Combine brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon in a small bowl. Mix until smooth. Place in a pastry bag until ready to use.

For the icing: Add softened butter and cream cheese together in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Stir mixture with a fork until smooth. Continue heating in the microwave and stirring until the mixture is completely melted.
Stir confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract into cream cheese mixture until icing is smooth.
Place in pastry bag or squeeze bottle.

For the apples: Add diced apples to melted butter, followed by cinnamon, maple syrup and sugar.
Cook over medium heat until softened and becomes a sauce.

For the pecans: Gently warm the pecans in butter and season with salt

When all ingredients are ready, heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat with butter, but wipe down before adding batter.
Pour batter on the griddle. Cook pancake until bubbles start to appear.
Swirl cinnamon filling over pancake, leaving enough space around edges that filling doesn't touch the griddle.
Flip pancake and cook until the other side is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining ingredients, wiping clean and spraying the griddle with cooking spray between each pancake.
Drizzle with icing and top with apples followed with toasted pecans.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Chef Josh Capon.

Bacon Caramel Apple Crumble Pancakes

PHOTO: Chef Adam Richman's bacon, apple crumble pancakes.
Chef Adam Richman's bacon, apple crumble pancakes.
ABC News

"This is something I picked up while living in the south, instead of butter use bacon grease, it's gonna give a lot of flavor," he said.

This recipe has four separate components: buttermilk bacon pancakes, apple topping, caramel sauce and crumble topping. Instructions for how to assemble the recipe are found at the end of the recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Approx. 5 or 6 large pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 package bacon

Apple topping
5 apples, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch chunks (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Braeburn work best for this recipe)
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (substitute 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg if you don’t have apple pie spice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 cup water (plus one extra tablespoon of water for the cornstarch slurry)

Caramel sauce
10-12 Kraft or Brach’s caramel candies unwrapped.
1/4 cup water

For the crumble topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 stick, butter, melted, and cooled
1 teaspoon cinnamon


For the apple topping: Heat the saucepan over medium heat and melt together the butter and apple pie spice.
Once butter and spices are combined, add in the apples, sugar, water, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Stir to make sure all apples are coated and cover the pan, cooking for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a separate bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of water with the cornstarch and stir to make a slurry.
Add slurry to apple mixture and stir to combine.
Heat until mixture is bubbling slowly, and apples are soft, but not mushy (approximately one minute to 90 seconds).
Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cook bacon in oven on a wire rack over a sheet pan until cooked and brown, but not crispy, and remove from the heat to cool. Pour bacon grease into a jar or bowl to cool.
Chop bacon into small chunks, roughly the size of playing dice.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and butter.
Using your fingers or a spoon, make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring until combined, but do not overmix. (Overmixing will make the pancakes rubbery.)
Stir in chopped bacon.
Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add bacon grease to the pan and wait for it to be completely melted and slightly bubbling.
Drop a ladle of batter into the skillet to form a pancake roughly the size of the pan itself. Cook until the bubbles form all across the top of the pancakes then flip and continue to cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes per side.
Repeat this process with remaining batter. TIP: A good rule of thumb when making pancakes is to wait until you see the edges are set and the bubbles are decreasing in size. You can always try to slide your spatula underneath and look at your pancake. It should be golden and not pale.

For the caramel sauce: Do not prepare until just about ready to serve in order to ensure the sauce is liquid and warm.
Place all ingredients into a Pyrex measuring cup and microwave for approximately 2 to 3 minutes until caramels are melted. Stir to combine. You may need to add more water to achieve desired consistency. Microwave for approximately one more minute until caramel is runny.

For the crumble topping
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine, flour, sugar, and cinnamon.
Slowly drizzle in the butter and stir the mixture lightly with a fork. Do NOT mix until smooth as you are creating a crumble, not a batter. You’ll know you are on the right track when small little clusters roughly the size of a pencil eraser begin to form.
Continue to drizzle in butter until you have a bowl of cohesive dry crumbs that are still loose enough to rake your fingers through without it becoming a paste or a dough. Reserve a little bit of the butter to drizzle over the topping prior to baking.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle the crumb topping over it evenly. Drizzle with remaining butter and put it into the oven.
Toast crumbs for approximately 3 to 4 minutes until they start turning golden brown. Give the pan a shake and toast for one more minute.
Remove from heat and reserve.

To assemble the pancakes: Place pancake on plate. Spread a layer of apple topping evenly on pancake, leaving roughly half an inch of space to the edge so that the crispy edges are retained.
Drizzle caramel topping over the apples, zigzagging across the entire pancake.
Sprinkle crumb topping over the caramel. Eat and enjoy!
If desired, these go great with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle.

Tips for fluffy pancakes

Use milk, not water! You need the fat to help make the pancakes fluffy.
If you will be using baking soda, you need an acid to activate it to create those bubbles (just like a science class volcano!). You will need to use buttermilk or soured regular milk (milk combined with lemon juice or vinegar) to create that acid.
Don’t overwork the batter! It’s OK if you see streaks of flour. The more the batter is worked, the more tough and rubbery the pancakes will be.

Recipe courtesy of Adam Richman

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