Dylan Garofalo is a senior at Yorktown High School. He’s an aspiring journalist, and an amateur chef. While not the best chef, he spends his down time watching all the food programming he can find. He’s an especially big fan of any dish that involves bacon.
It’s an oft-repeated mantra of many food lovers: “Everything is better with bacon.” As stated in my bio, I believe every word of this statement. Indeed, I have never found it to be untrue, as when I look for a treat, I ask my parents to include bacon in whatever dinner we’ll have that night. However, the point of the scientific method is to rigorously test theories, and if they are not found to be untrue, they become fact. Chefs are scientists, and as such I believe we should seek to test this axiom to its fullest extent. Today, with some assistance from my mom (a solid home cook), I tested this out on a famous breakfast delicacy: waffles.
Bacon is a versatile ingredient. It’s used often in both savory and sweet dishes, whether it’s maple bacon (the breakfast delight) or a savory saline treat such as center-cut bacon (a dinner classic). It has a smoky and somewhat salty flavor. For our breakfast test we bought Niman Ranch Center-Cut—an almost perfect bacon (which you can find online, but we usually find it at Trader Joe’s), cooked to perfection by my father.
The test subject (i.e: the waffles) was made from Melissa d’Arabian’s Ten Dollar Dinners (Clarkson Potter, August 2012). As you likely know, Melissa is all about making delicious food, efficiently and economically. “Philippe’s Sunday Morning Waffles” are a great way to start your last day of freedom from work or school. They do not include the traditional buttermilk in the batter, as buttermilk is not used in a great many dishes and has a tendency to sit in your fridge and go sour before you have a chance to use it again. Instead, Melissa’s recipe uses six large eggs (separated, which is difficult and time consuming, but so rewarding) and whole milk. Her waffles also include orange zest and vanilla extract.
We made one test waffle, not only to see how they cook in our waffle maker, but also to see how they taste pre-bacon. They came out fluffy and light, with a delicious, slightly citric flavor from the orange zest. They wouldn’t pair well with mint, but with whipped cream and heated maple syrup they’re excellent.
However, the real test lies with how well these waffles team up with bacon. We poured the batter and quickly sprinkled bacon atop it. When it came out it looked outstanding, but that’s mostly because the sight of bacon makes me incredibly happy. It tasted as great as it looked. The bacon and the orange went quite well together, and the heated maple syrup really tied all the flavors together. Plus, the bacon adds a whole new textural element: a happiness-inducing salty crunch that plays with the light, fluffy texture of the waffles. They’re fabulous by themselves, but if you’re looking for a new way to incorporate bacon into your breakfast, look to Melissa’s waffles—they’re outstanding.
Recipe for Philippe’s Sunday Morning Waffles
From Ten Dollar Dinners by Melissa d’Arabian
Makes 16 small (or 8 large waffles)
6 large eggs, separated
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon orange zest
Warm maple syrup, for serving
1. Preheat a waffle iron. Pour the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and beat on medium-high speed until they hold stiff peaks.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, milk, and vanilla together in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in the butter. In another medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest. Whisk the flour mixture into the milk mixture and then whisk one third of the egg whites into the batter. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain.
3. Add enough waffle batter to the iron to fill in all of the squares and cook until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately with warm maple syrup. (Or place the waffles on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet and keep them warm in a 250°F oven until they’re ready to serve at once.)