What was that I was saying last week about three in a row being a streak? Yeah, I’m feeling a little cocky, got a little pancake swagger going now. Look out, world.
Saturday came late this weekend. Owing to some Saturday plans with my dad, the cakes came Sunday, and for dinner instead of breakfast. Not that pancakes for dinner are in any way foreign to this household, mind you. And given the time of day, I thought I would bust out the one recipe I was holding that seemed built for dinner.
Let me start by saying there is absolutely nothing original about loving bacon these days. It is most certainly the “in” thing. I could go on about how long I’ve loved it, about how much of it I consumed as a kid. I could tell you how my love affair never stopped, how it ran parallel to my love for cakes through my early adult years to now. But none of that would set me apart. Bacon doughnuts, chocolate covered bacon, bacon muffins–that beautiful meat has foisted itself on to any number dishes. And rightfully so.
The whole idea of mixing the bacon with the sweet used to be the dirty little secret of breakfast. “Oops, I got some syrup on my bacon” was delivered over cups of coffee with all the sincerity of a campaign speech. We hid in the closet all those years, ashamed of how delicious we found the combination of bacon with _____. Someone kicked that door down, though, and now bacon is everywhere. Including in our cakes this week.
The results are detailed below, but I do have two words for you: tread lightly. These things are ridiculously good, but equally as dangerous. They are rich beyond belief, what with the candied bacon, maple syrup cooked into the cakes themselves, and the bounty of butter at every step of the way. Make ‘em big, and one is plenty. You’ll never want a salad so much in your life as after a plate of these monsters. Plan to make them on an evening like ours: Sunday with nothing on tap but some shows on DVR that ain’t going to watch themselves. By the last bite, you get that mouth-hanging-open feeling, the one where the taste still dazzles but you would just as soon let the food fall back out rather than send it to join what’s already sitting like a brick in your stomach. This recipe will make about nine cakes, which can serve anywhere from 9 to 18 people, really.
Oh, and subtract the bacon and maple syrup, and this is probably the best straight-up buttermilk pancake recipe I have ever made. Excellent cakes with all kinds of creative potential.
Pants: It was after six by the time the cakes were ready. Don’t be ridiculous.
Planning: Planning dealt mostly with the second job I took for the month leading up to these just to afford the syrup used. Seriously, though, don’t skimp on the syrup, but don’t go in blind, either. It’ll set you back a bit.
Gathering: I needed to replenish some staples, but really, most of what I needed was in the house already. I had the bacon in the freezer for quite a while, and this was just the occasion I needed to thaw it and put it to use.
Execution: A cinch. One could probably fry the bacon instead of baking it, though having the option to sugar it up on a cookie sheet is easier. Also, you cut down a bit on your grease, and considering the bacon’s role, that is probably a good thing. I tried to imagine using bacon like my grandma would have cooked in these cakes, and can’t envision tasting anything but the meat. That’s fine when the meat is flying solo, but maybe not so much here.
Results: I have hit on this plenty above, I think. Short version: Excellent, dangerous, awesome, terrible, awesome. Really, you could cut out the maple syrup drizzle into the cakes on the griddle. That or the brown sugar on the bacon. Both are independently great. Together, maybe a bit much.
Crossover Potential: Dear me…where do I start? Two cakes bookending any sandwich you can imagine, cakes by themselves with a fresh cup of mud, cakes frozen in mass quantities for months of breakfasts and inches more of waistline–the possibilities are endless. And did I mention the sandwich idea?
The cakes recipe:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (organic)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt (kosher, or less if using table)
- 3 Tbsp. sugar (organic, pure cane)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (organic, free-range)
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 4 Tbsp. butter, melted (organic, unsalted)
- Brown sugar
- 10 slices bacon (cured)
- Maple syrup (organic)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange bacon in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with canola oil, sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake for ~20 minutes, or until crispy. Allow to cool on a paper towel (to absorb grease) and then cut into small pieces into a bowl.
- Preheat griddle to 350 degrees.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl. In separate bowl, mix eggs and buttermilk. Pour wet mixture and butter into dry ingredients and whisk until barely combined, leaving medium-sized lumps in the mixture.
- Butter thine griddle.
- Using a 1/2 measuring cup, ladle batter onto griddle, sprinkle in bacon bits, drizzle with maple syrup, and flip when bubbles start to form (~3 minutes). You’ll have to be expedient with your adding of the bacon and your drizzling so as not to burn your cakes.
- Lightly drizzle other side of cakes with syrup and move to the warming drawer of your oven (a covered plate if you don’t have one) while you cook your others.
Note: Cakes recipe adapted from http://willowbirdbaking.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/pecan-maple-bacon-pancakes/