I’ve grown up eating savory-sweet food all my life. I thought it was just a quirk of my mother’s to add sugar to everything until I looked up Shanghainese cuisine on Wikipedia a few years ago and found that, evidently, it’s a Shanghai thing. Nowadays, I follow exactly in my mom’s footsteps and add a bit (or a lot) of sugar to almost everything I make — pasta sauces, soy sauce glazes, stews, whatever. I drench my sausage links in maple syrup. (One of my earliest memories is dunking sausage links in maple syrup at Bob Evans. What an underrated restaurant. Did anyone else have family dinners there?)
But the advent of adding savory to sweet only came upon me recently — mainly in the addition of bacon. To everything. Most recently, chocolate chip cookies and pancakes. I can understand feeling squeamish about bacon in chocolate chip cookies — but in pancakes? The bacon’s usually right next to them anyway. It’s only right. It just makes life easier. And infinitely more delicious.
For these, I just used the same go-to “buttermilk” pancake base that I got from Joy the Baker. I’ve never looked back since trying it — it’s fluffy, pillowy-soft but substantial, and it gives your local diner’s version a run for its money. I put buttermilk in quotes because I’ve never actually used buttermilk in it — I always use a mix of half Greek yogurt and half milk (any kind, almond, soy, or regular) and it’s never steered me wrong. I don’t think you’d ever guess it wasn’t buttermilk pancakes straight from IHOP or your favorite diner.
And then I added bacon!
So. Good. (Oh yeah, and that’s me deciding that ramekin of maple syrup wasn’t enough and getting serious with the Aunt Jemima.) Edit: Since a lot of you don’t like savory and sweet together — totally understandable — I just wanted to add that this pancake base is phenomenal with pretty much anything. Slices of banana, blueberries, Reese’s Pieces (!), or, if you’re feeling super decadent, instant espresso, chocolate chips, and Nutella. My personal favorite after bacon might be Reese’s Pieces — seriously awesome. And I never find I need syrup with those, so it might balance out to be better for you?! Relatively.
This is what we’re having for Christmas morning this year — hope you have something equally comforting and cozy lined up, too. And if not, try this. 😉 Merry Christmas, friends!
based on Joy the Baker's buttermilk pancakes.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg (optionally, you can separate the egg for a fluffier pancake, see Notes below)
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk (alternatively, use 1 cup buttermilk and omit the Greek yogurt)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
- 2 oz bacon (about 3 rashers), roughly chopped
- Place bacon in a cold skillet and turn to medium heat. Panfry until crispy and fat is rendered. Drain fat and reserve for pancakes (Did I mention we're going to be cooking these pancakes in bacon fat? Oh yes. Mhmmm.) Set bacon aside to cool.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until well-combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg, yogurt, milk, vanilla extract, and melted butter until well-blended. Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix gently until mostly incorporated. As always, a few lumps are okay and good. Let batter rest for a few minutes. In the meantime, chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and grease lightly with the bacon grease. When skillet is hot enough that a water droplet will dance when dropped onto the surface, pour about 3 tablespoons of batter onto the skillet. I used a 1/4 cup scoop (which I filled partially). It has the added benefit of keeping the counter fairly drip-free. Sprinkle the chopped bacon evenly across the pancake. When bubbles form in the batter and leave a brief hole when they pop, flip the pancake and let brown on the other side for about 2-3 more minutes, or until golden-brown, then remove to a plate. I keep the pancakes that are done in the oven on its lowest heat setting, on an oven-safe plate.
- Repeat until all the batter is gone, and serve with the fixings.
The batter will be quite thick. If you want it to be pourable, add one or two more tablespoons of milk -- otherwise, simply press the batter with your measuring cup right after pouring into the pan to form a circle shape.
Also, you can separate the egg and whisk the egg white to medium peaks for a fluffier pancake (as per this cornmeal pancake recipe). If you do, simply separate the egg and reserve the egg white until just before the step where you let the batter rest. Whip the egg white using an electric beater or a balloon whisk until it reaches medium peaks, then fold into the pancake batter just until partially incorporated and small wisps of egg white remain. Then proceed to cook as normal.