Evil Genius Food Porn: Bacon-Filled Waffles With Chili-Fried Apples

This dish is so good, yet so bad for you.

There really ought to be a law against this kind of cooking.

In fact, I reckon that there used to be a law against such things, back in the day when churchmen were so worried about the status of everyone’s mortal souls that laws were made against sins such as gluttony. And if there is ever a recipe to incite gluttony, it is this one.

And here I am writing about it during Lent. I’m a very bad woman, a temptress, a sinner in the hands of a wicked kitchen muse. This is what comes of being a godless heathen, I guess. I have fallen, and I doubt I will ever, ever get up, because I don’t feel the least bit guilty about making up this recipe.

Because, shoot, sometimes, you just have to eat something that is completely indulgent and delicious, even if it isn’t very good for you. For most folks, that means dessert: chocolate truffles, cheesecake, pie or chocolate cream-cheese brownies.

As you can tell, I can throw down and make all of those aforementioned decadent desserts, but I prefer to make savory dishes that engage the senses and beguile the palate. It’s just how I am–in culinary school, I was one of those trainees who preferred cooking to baking, though I could do either very well. As wonderful as baking can be, it requires a different skill set and a different creativity than cooking does–and I am one of those folks who think that truly wonderful pastry chefs and bakers are a breed apart from the rest of us.

I also tend to prefer eating savory dishes to sweet ones, though I am not certain why that is. That is not to say I don’t like all the cookies, cheesecakes, brownies, truffles and other wickedly tasty desserts I make, but I don’t really crave them very often. Certainly not anymore–as I have gotten older and I have started to lose weight, I have found that the foods I crave and eat as indulgences has changed. I am more enamored of cheeses, especially the blue mold cheeses that I was denied most of my life, than I am of ice cream.

And bacon. I can always eat bacon. And as a hillbilly born and raised, I think that nearly anything can be improved if you add bacon to it. I mean, fried rice is better with bacon.
And chicken and bok choy are elevated into the realm of amazing when bacon comes into the picture. And hey, the Chinese agree with me–tofu with bacon bloody well rules.

So, why not bacon baked into waffles? I mean, you eat bacon -with- waffles, right? So, why not put it inside the waffles, and then top the whole thing with apples cooked in bacon fat, brown sugar, cinnamon and chilies.

That way, it is sweet, salty, bready, spicy and just plain old all-around good. It is hillbilly food raised up into art.

And how can that be bad?

(Which of course makes me wonder that if I open a restaurant whether I should open a pan-Asian fine dining establishment or a haute-hillbilly food emporium. I am sort of stuck in the middle of the question with no answer.)

Of course, saturated fat is saturated fat, whether it comes from cocoa butter or bacon, and neither is particularly great for one’s health,but at least I am avoiding the sugar. Sort of, mostly. Except for the sugar cooked into the apples, and the sugar in the waffles and the maple syrup drizzled on top.

Ah, hell, I guess that these waffles are probably just as unholy as a chunk of my cheesecake would be.

I guess you could say that it has no redeeming feature except that it tastes great and would make a knock-your-socks off brunch for omnivores who didn’t mind the fat from the bacon that inhabits both the waffles and the apples. I don’t intend this to be eaten every day, or even every week, or even once a month. How about once every six months?

And in between–eat lots of salads and stir-fried greens to make up for the indulgence of this one brunch dish.

Now, let’s talk about the specifics of the waffle recipe. I originally got it from Fine Cooking, and have modified it a little bit. I switched butter for the oil, but the truth is, in this version, I switched back to canola oil. You can use melted butter if you want, but the flavor of it is overpowered by the bacon added to the batter as it is being cooked. So, just go with the canola or other mild vegetable oil.

The egg whites–you beat them until they come to soft peaks, then add sugar and beat to stiffer peaks and then fold it into the batter just before you scoop it into the waffle iron and bake. Don’t skip this step. The waffles have a much better texture when made this way.

Don’t use powdered buttermilk for these waffles–I did once. It was not a good substitute. Just get some buttermilk and use it. If you have leftover buttermilk, make biscuits. Or scones. Or dumplings. Or ranch dressing. Just don’t do the powdered crap–it really doesn’t taste good in the waffles.

Also–if you don’t want to put the waffles into an oven to crisp up, or if you oven isn’t convection and thus doesn’t seem to be crisping them up–you can use your toaster to crisp them up before serving. It is a sneaky little trick, but it works. Just cut your finished waffle into the four sections delineated by the iron, then put each little waffle into a slot in the toaster and toast on the lowest setting. In one or two passes with the toaster, they crisp right up. Then, you can put them on the oven rack to hold them for service.

One more thing–this recipe is for a regular waffle iron that makes ten or twelve inch square waffles that are then cut into four small waffles, not for a Belgian waffle maker. I have no idea if it will work with a Belgian waffle iron, nor do I know how many waffles it would make in a Belgian waffle iron. So, if you have a different kind of waffle maker, you will have to experiment a bit to see how it all works together.

As for the apples–you can fry them in butter, but since you already have hot bacon grease sitting right there, why not use that? It isn’t like butter is better for you, and the smokey pork flavor goes beautifully with the apples. Besides, West Virginia grandmas have been frying the apples like that for years, and so there is the weight of tradition behind it–traditional and frugality.

And–you can leave out the chilies, but I beg you not to. They are part of what elevates this dish from pretty darned good into sublime. So, I beg you to get some Aleppo pepper flakes–you can get them at Penzey’s or at various Middle Eastern grocery stores–and use them. Once you have them, you will use their sweet-hot tingly savor to make lots of your foods sparkle. Trust me–I love the stuff, and I know that you will find uses for it beyond fried apples.

So here we come to the recipe–the one that inspired Brittney to say to me, “You would make such a great evil genius, especially in the kitchen.”

Bacon-Filled Waffles With Chili-Spiced Fried Apples
Ingredients for the Waffles:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
12 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs separated
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup crumbled cooked bacon (cook until chewy, and then chop finely–if it is too crisp, it will dry out in the waffle iron and not taste as good.)
Canola oil spray

Method:

Heat your oven to 200 degrees F. and plug in your waffle iron and start it heating.

Whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly except for the sugar and bacon in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Whisk together the milks, vanilla, canola oil and egg yolks in a large measuring cup or batter bowl until well combined.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Sprinkle the sugar over them and continue whisking until they form fairly stiff peaks.

Blend together the liquid into the dry ingredients until they are just combined. Do not overmix.

Fold in the egg whites.

Spray your waffle iron well with canola oil spray. Fill the iron with scoops of batter without overfilling the iron. Sprinkle with an even layer of bacon bits. Close waffle iron and cook as directed.

When baked, remove from iron, cut into fourths along guidelines and lay in oven on racks in a single layer to crisp up. (You can also crisp them in the toaster as I directed in the post and then hold them in a single layer in the oven. This works a bit better in my opinion.)

Serve topped with fried apples and a bit of maple syrup.

Ingredients for Chili-Fried Apples:

3 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings or grease, depending on what you want to call them
4 crisp tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick slices (see photo for reference)
1/4 cup raw, brown or maple sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
Aleppo pepper flakes and maple syrup for serving/garnish

Method:

Heat your bacon drippings or grease over a medium flame in a skillet or frying pan. Add apples in a single layer and cook, stirring, until they soften to where they can be pierced by a fork, but they still are a bit hard in the center and they are golden colored. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and chili flakes, and keep cooking, stirring constantly, until they are fragrant, glazed with a thick syrup and are soft through without being mushy.

Serve spooned over the bacon waffles with a drizzle of maple syrup and if you like another sprinkle of Aleppo pepper flakes.

(These would be good over home-made sour cream vanilla ice cream, especially if you added black walnuts to the mixture.)

20 Comments

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  1. Scchhhwwiiinnng! Idy Idy!

    Comment by Adrian Eden — March 25, 2009 #

  2. Don’t let your indecision get in the way of opening that restaurant. Think fusion.

    Bubba Chang’s!

    Comment by Ike — March 25, 2009 #

  3. I know I will have (even more of) my boyfriend’s undying devotion if I make this for him. Evil? Genius? Bacon Porn? Yes, please!

    Comment by purplepurr — March 25, 2009 #

  4. I’ve never seen this blog before, and have no idea who you are. I think I love you, though. Your service to humanity puts you on par with Mother Theresa, Mohandis Ghandi, and Anthony Bourdain.

    (Guy Kawasaki twitted a link to this post, for which you should be proud)

    Comment by Danimal — March 25, 2009 #

  5. I can not wait to try this.

    Comment by Anni — March 25, 2009 #

  6. I must say, I like the sound of Bubba Chang’s! It has the same kind of ring as Bubba Ho-Tep–and it suits my sick sense of humor.

    Purplepurr–I am good at food that inspires undying devotion, which is probably why I have been married for so long. Stick with me, and you will have devotion for as long as you want, whenever you want.

    Danimal–I haven’t the foggiest who Guy Kawasaki is, but I am proud to be mentioned in the same breath as Mother Theresa, Ghandi and most of all, Anthony Bourdain. Thank you.

    Comment by Barbara — March 25, 2009 #

  7. Guy Kawasaki is your best friend because he’s the king of social marketing. And he’s the reason I’m here on your site. Love this freakin’ recipe. Will definitely be making it for my hubby!

    Comment by Writing princess — March 25, 2009 #

  8. Can we vote?? I totally and completely raise my hand for a haute-hillbilly food emporium – Pan-Asian fine dining establishments are a dime a dozen (although I could live at one of Roy Yamaguchi’s restaurants, yes I could). That being said, I do believe I LOVE the idea of Bubba Chang’s. Just. Brilliant.

    At any rate, I wanted to thank you for this recipe. I believe even The Young One – picky brat child that he is – will eat it. If he does, you are my hero. Heck, even if he doesn’t, you are my hero.

    I am so making this for brunch this Sunday. I’ll email you from the cardiac unit at the hospital.

    Comment by Jan — March 25, 2009 #

  9. Barbara,

    As Writing Princess said, Guy Kawasaki is the king of social networking. He’s an ex-VP of Apple and a god among techies. He’s written a number of best-selling novels, and to have him smile upon you is a blessing I could only wish for. And, thankfully, he’s a lover of Bacon (pbuh).

    @Jan: I’ll join you in the cardiac ward. Statins are a small price to pay for this glorious recipe =P

    Comment by Danimal — March 25, 2009 #

  10. err, not novels. Tech books. My apologies

    Comment by Danimal — March 25, 2009 #

  11. Danimal, Writing Princess–I figured out who Guy Kawasaki was after I admitted to my blithe ignorance. And after I looked him up and found out, I then ran into some friends of mine and asked them and they were like, “OMG! He Twittered your blog? What did you write?” And then I told them, and they were like–oooh.

    Then another friend was like, “Oh, he’s a former VP of Apple, yadda yadda,” and I felt a total ignorant fool.

    So, yes, I am flattered.

    And Jan–you are ever so welcome, and I hop that the Young One does indeed like it.

    And I think he will. My small one ate one and a half of the waffles herself and she is only two and a half.

    Comment by Barbara — March 25, 2009 #

  12. Welcome to Bubba Chang’s –
    Home of the Pork and Ramp Fried Rice Fritter!

    I am so there…

    Comment by Bryian — March 25, 2009 #

  13. Although not an eater of bacon myself (as you know), I’ve already passed the link to this post to two friends and I’m sure will hand it to a few more. It makes me wish I ate bacon, and that says a lot since I never liked bacon even back when I ate meat!

    Comment by Alexis — March 26, 2009 #

  14. Alexis–here’s a thought. Try using a little bit of smoked paprika in the waffle batter along with the cinnamon, and then make the apples with a bit of chipotle chili instead of the Aleppo pepper. You will get the smoky flavor of the bacon, though you will miss the chewy texture in the waffles and the porky flavor. But it would still make a decent approximation for vegetarians.

    Thanks for spreading the word to your bacon-loving friends, though!

    Comment by Barbara — March 26, 2009 #

  15. Bry–ramps are so good in Chinese food! I know for a fact that if the little buggers grew in China, that little grandmas would be climbing the mountains and descending into the hollers to pick them and put them into dumplings, stir-fries and pancakes and everything else they could think of.

    Maybe Bubba Chang’s is the answer to my conundrum. A fusion between Eastern and Western cuisines of the country-hillbilly sort. (Because hillbillies exist in every culture, they just may not call them that.)

    Comment by Barbara — March 26, 2009 #

  16. I think this recipe is going to finally push me to buy a waffle iron.

    However, I bet you could turn this into pancakes easily.

    Ooooo! This would be divine as a Dutch Baby/German Baked Pancake.

    Comment by Roxanne — March 26, 2009 #

  17. As a fellow hillbilly, I totally love anything fried in bacon and this recipe is pure genius!

    Unfortunately I can’t buy buttermilk here but do you think the old vinegar in milk plus yogurt would be an acceptable substitute?

    And like Roxanne, I don’t have a waffle iron yet (slowly buying small kitchen appliances for my 220 rather than 110 electrical service) but I do think it might work as an oven pancake. Sounds too good not to try! :-)

    Comment by Kim — March 27, 2009 #

  18. Kim, I agree with you and Roxanne that it would make a divine Dutch pancake.

    The old vinegar and yogurt trick will work just fine. It is just the dehydrated buttermilk thing that totally does NOT work in any way shape or form. Ick.

    Hope you like the recipe!

    Comment by Barbara — March 27, 2009 #

  19. WOW. This looks heavenly. Bacon, waffles, and apples with bacon grease. yum, yum, yum

    Comment by Haley W. — April 8, 2009 #

  20. Hello my new friend… I made your waffles yesterday and just LOVED THEM!!! i mean really, BACON, come on, what could be better!

    Just wanted to invite you over to my blog and see my post about them (with all due credit and every link I could imagine adding)

    Dave

    http://erecipecards.blogspot.com/2011/08/bacon-filled-waffles-ala-tigers.html

    Comment by Dave at eRecipeCards — August 21, 2011 #

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