I have to credit these delicious waffles for properly introducing me to the concept of baking your bacon. I’ve seen it done on cooking shows, and I’ve heard celebrity cooks/chefs swear by it, but I’d never tried it until Joy said I needed to in order to make these amazing waffles. And I trust Joy. Well, baked bacon and I have now been properly acquainted, but I can’t say for certain that I’m a convert.
I’m what you’d call a bona fide crispy bacon gal, meaning I like my bacon just this side of burnt. And this baked bacon didn’t crisp up anywhere near the texture I prefer. But, since the bacon just gets chopped and folded into the waffle batter (oh yes!), I didn’t really mind.
Which brings me to the best part of these waffles – bacon in the batter!! And bacon that’s been crusted with black pepper, no less!! But what’s even better than that, if anything can be, is that the bacon grease that is still clinging to the pieces of bacon streaks itself all throughout the batter as you’re folding it in, so you get salty, bacon-y goodness in every. single. bite. It’s almost too much!
And then once you drizzle these with maple syrup, you get that impossible-to-resist sweet and salty combination that I die for. I’m trying not to drool just typing all this. These will definitely go into the upper echelons of waffles I’ve ever made.
8 slices bacon
2 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, divided
3 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Make the bacon: position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire cooling rack on top. Lay the bacon on the cooling rack in a single layer. Sprinkle with 2 tsp of black pepper. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes. Once it’s cool enough to handle, chop the bacon into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Make the waffles: preheat your waffle maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, the remaining 1/2 tsp black pepper, and brown sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Add the buttermilk mixture, all at once, to the flour mixture. Stir until just incorporated.
Now fold in the bacon with a spatula. Try not to overmix the batter. A few lumps are okay.
Cook according to your waffle maker’s instructions. Serve warm with maple syrup and butter, if that’s your thing.