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Cornmeal Flapjacks with Bourbon-Bacon Maple Syrup

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Yields about 17

  • by Denise Mickelsen

These pancakes get their heartiness from cornmeal and wheat germ and feature a syrup loaded with favorites like bourbon, bacon, and maple. If you don’t get 3 Tbs. of bacon fat from cooking the bacon, you can make up the difference with melted unsalted butter. An easy, no-mess trick for measuring the yogurt in this recipe is to pour the 1 cup milk into a 2-cup glass measure; then add enough yogurt to make the milk rise to the 2-cup line.

  • 10 slices bacon
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 5-1/8  oz. (1-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 2-1/2  tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole or low-fat milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (regular or Greek, full-fat or low-fat)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Bacon fat or vegetable oil for the griddle
  • 1 Tbs. bourbon (optional)
  • Salted butter, for serving

Heat the oven to 200°F. On a large griddle or in 12-inch skillet over medium heat (or on an electric skillet set to 375°F), cook the bacon, in batches if necessary, flipping occasionally, until very crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the bacon on a paper-towel-lined plate. Reserve 3 Tbs. of the bacon fat in a small bowl and save the rest for another use (such as greasing the griddle for the pancakes). Set the 3 Tbs. reserved fat aside to cool briefly.

When the bacon is cool, mince it into fine crumbs. You should have about 1/2 cup.

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the syrup and 2 Tbs. of the bacon crumbs over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, let the syrup sit in the pan and infuse for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, yogurt, and eggs until combined. Stir the bacon syrup to distribute the bacon pieces; measure out 1/4 cup of the syrup and add it to the wet ingredients; mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated; stop before the batter is evenly moistened. Add the cooled reserved bacon fat and mix just until the batter is evenly moistened (there will be lumps). Let the batter rest while you heat your griddle.

Heat the same griddle or large skillet you used to cook the bacon over medium heat until drops of water briefly dance on the surface before evaporating. Lightly grease the griddle with bacon fat or oil. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle for each pancake, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Let cook undisturbed until bubbles rise to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Check the underside to make sure it’s nicely browned, then flip. Cook until the second side is nicely browned, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you repeat with the remaining batter.

Stir the bourbon into the remaining bacon syrup, if you like. Serve the pancakes hot with butter, the syrup, and the remaining bacon streusel.

Make Ahead Tips

Cooked pancakes will keep, sealed in freezer bags, for up to 2 days in the refrigerator and up to 1 month in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes.

Photo: Scott Phillips

These are good heart stoppers. They were a fun thing to make for Father's Day but not "wow" so I probably wouldn't make them again.

These pancakes are very light and delicious. We enjoyed the syrup too. This is a nice variation on a standard dish. I used regular store brand, low-fat yogurt and low-fat milk. I measured 1-1/4 cups flour by volume, since 5-1/8 oz doesn't convert to 1-1/4 cups whether you assume 1 cup of flour weighs 4.5 oz or 5 oz. The volume measurement worked fine.

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