As the butter scattered about the waffle grid, I thought of all the scattered thoughts and feelings I experienced in the chaos of the preceding four months. The quiet morning was the restful prescriptive I needed. Time in my kitchen would, as usual, allow me to relax and ease into the day. Making waffles was healing.
Particular, not obsessive, is my attitude toward waffles. My waffle maker was a birthday gift to me because I had made the decision store-bought waffle seemed to have too many preservatives and artificial ingredients, but I still wanted waffles. (Confession: It took six months before I used the waffle maker.) While not every waffle recipe has been grand, overall, they have been good and these latest waffles are the best.
The waffle recipe had been in the back of my mind: Bacon Cheddar Apple waffles. The apple would be local and organic, the bacon would be local and smoked, the cheddar would be an organic raw milk cheese, and I would clabber raw milk to use for the preferred buttermilk. This waffle would have a bit of sweetness, a cheddar flavor not lost to the smokiness of the bacon, and a nice texture. That was the dream, the reality was different.
The plan changed due to laziness. I was; too lazy to drive forty-five minutes to the only farm I knew sold raw milk and raw milk cheese. Sitting in my kitchen was an apple from a box lunch served at work, there was some hickory smoked bacon, but more was needed. For the items which were needed, a trip to the store was necessary.
The original recipe comes from Within The Wild, a lodge in the Alaskan wilderness. How I stumbled on the recipe, I no longer remember, but I the recipe lingered in the back of my mind for some time. No matter how much I would love a stay at the lodge, it is not an option. Thankfully, the lodge kindly provides the recipe on their website so homemade waffles can be had. The key to these (now renamed) Apple Bacon Cheddar waffles is to take the time, use patience, and dice the apple in a proper manner.
The waffles do not disappoint. Each flavor – apple, bacon, and cheddar – compete successfully with the maple syrup. Why had I waited so long to make these waffles? I have no idea. The delicious flavors on my plate were worth the wait, but why wait for delicious? If it were possible to kick myself, I would. My recommendation is to not wait and to assemble the ingredients, heat your waffle maker, and make waffles.
The recipe I provide has more detail than the one from Within The Wild; the steps are laid out for the beginner or forgetful cook. This expansion occurred after I was a bit neglectful and did not bring ingredients to room temperature. It was while cooking the bacon (in the oven) did I realized the eggs and the buttermilk should have been coming to room temperature. No problem, there was still prep work to be done which would allow them to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, dry ingredients were measured, the apple diced, cheese shredded, bacon cooked and crumbled, butter melted and added to honey, the waffle maker heated, and some clean up completed. Once the eggs were at room temperature, the assembly process began. One could say, it was as easy as ABC.
The bacon used was a split between smoked and non-smoked which resulted in the perfect amount of smoke flavor. A greater proportion of smoked bacon would have meant too much smokiness in the waffle. Initially, a whole apple seemed it would be overkill and there was a lot of diced apple on my cutting board, but the resulting apple flavor never overpowered, never dominated the waffle. The extra-sharp cheddar was subtle, but it did come through and I plan to use raw milk cheese next time.
It smelled so good in my kitchen that I ate the first waffle while the second one was in the waffle maker. As I stood by the smoking-hot waffle maker with its red light telling me not to open the top, I was cutting the butter and syrup covered waffle with a fork because I could not spare a second to pick up a knife. Every bite of waffle was good. The kind of good where you close your eyes, relax your shoulders, go silent, and savor.
Thank you Trickling Springs, not having to clabber the milk made my life easier. Last, I thank Chef Kirsten and Chef Mandy in Alaska for this wonderful recipe which is really a gift. The beauty of the web is the shared community created which allows people who will never meet the opportunity to share an interest and to exchange recipes which are gifts.
For my recipe, check here.
Note: Several people have asked about my absence from the blogging world. Work responsibilities cut into my leisure time more than anticipated, hence no warning from me that I would be on hiatus. Life has settled and I look forward to reaching out to you through Food, Farms, and Farm markets.
As always, no company has asked for promotion in my blog.