Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gilding the Lily - Bacon'd Waffles with Candied Walnuts and Grandma's Syrup

For those of you not familiar with the saying, "Gilding the Lily" it means taking something already beautiful and coating it with gold, taking it over the top as it were.  Why would someone take something as graceful, curvaceous and sensual as the ethereal lily and take it over the top with a coating of gold?  Some would say you wouldn't, it's just not necessary, it's crazy-talk!!!  Others (such as myself) would say, "Because you can!" And so I made it happen.....

So I present to you:

Bacon'd Waffles with Candied Bacon Walnuts and Grandma's Karo Syrup

For the waffles:
1/4 lb bacon, cut crosswise into matchstick sized pieces (aka lardons)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbl oil
1 egg
1 cup milk
pinch Kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbl sugar
1 cup AP flour 

For the candied walnuts (all ingredients approximate):
leftover bacon grease 
1/2 cup rough-chopped walnuts
2-3 Tbl brown sugar
tiny pinch kosher salt

For Grandma's Karo Syrup:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup light Karo syrup
1/2 cup water
2 tsp good vanilla extract

Begin by making the syrup:

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until everything melts together and gets all happy-like.  If any foam develops on the top you can just skim it off and discard it (the foam, not the syrup you fool!).  Reduce heat to low and keep warm.  

For the waffles:

Start by cooking the bacon over medium heat just until browned and crispy, don't overcook.  When done remove the bacon pieces from the pan with a slotted spoon and cool on a paper towel lined plate.  Reserve the remaining bacon fat for the candied walnuts but allow the fat to cool slightly.  In my case I used home-made bacon (yeah, I know, I'm a ROCK STAR) so had to supplement a little with a stash of bacon grease I keep in my fridge for just such an occasion.  

Combine the waffle wet ingredients; vanilla, egg, oil and milk and whisk until well combined.  In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients; kosher salt, baking powder, sugar and flour and mix well.  Dump the wet into the dry and whisk just until everything is well incorporated, then add the bacon and stir a couple more times to disperse the bacony goodness throughout the batter.  I made mine into waffles but I don't see why this wouldn't make awesome pancakes.  In fact, this is a basic pancake batter with some vanilla extract added.  Cook according to your standard pancake process or waffle process.  

While the waffles are cooking.....

Add the chopped walnuts to the warm bacon fat with the brown sugar.  Cook until bubbly and happy.  Let's be honest here, I don't bake.  I'm not a baker, never claimed to be, not my forte.  What I'm trying to get at here is I don't know what temperature I cooked the walnuts to to make them candied.  From some past candy-making experience I know that as the sugar gets to the right temp that I was looking for the bubbles start to get a little bigger and hang around for just a little longer, stirring almost constantly because I didn't want the walnuts to burn.  The only thing in this world thats more bitter than a burned walnut is a woman scorned.  Scratch that, a burned walnut is worse.  When everything was where I wanted it I dumped it onto a silpat lined cookie sheet to cool.  

When everything is cooked, combine and revel the AWESOME-NICITY THAT IS YOU!!!  

PS - watch out for the syrup, it's wicked hot.... 

PPS - the syrup recipe really is from my grandma.  She's a country girl raised in West-by-God-Virginia and this is what she ate growing up on the farm.


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