Cornmeal-Bacon Waffles with Thyme-Infused Maple Syrup

Cornmeal-Bacon Waffles with Thyme Infused Maple Syrup

Cornmeal waffles dotted with smoky bacon bits are reminiscent of cornbread hot out of the oven. Top them with slightly savory maple syrup perfumed with fresh thyme and black peppercorns, and you may just get requests for extras.–Tara Duggan

LC Face-Plant in a Plate of Waffles Note

Ever done a face-plant in a stack of waffles? Neither had we–until we encountered this waffle recipe with thyme-infused maple syrup. We have a hunch you’ll want to get to know them up close and personal, too.

Cornmeal-Bacon Waffles

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes 4 to 8 waffles

Special Equipment: Waffle maker

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Ingredients

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  • For the thyme-infused syrup
  • 4 small sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • For the cornmeal-bacon waffles
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat), plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, or 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Directions

  • Make the thyme-infused syrup
  • 1. Pull off most of the leaves from the thyme. Place both the leaves and the stems in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, peppercorns, and water. Place over very low heat and bring to a very gently simmer. Let it bubble for 10 minutes to infuse the syrup with thyme. Strain the syrup into a pitcher. (You can make the syrup up to 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate, then gently reheat over low heat just before serving.)
  • Make the cornmeal-bacon waffles
  • 2. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, turning once, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let stand until cool enough to handle. Crumble the bacon into small pieces. You should have about 1 1/4 cups.
  • 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper, if using. Make a well in the center of the cornmeal mixture, then pour in the egg mixture. Whisk until the batter is mostly smooth with just a few lumps. If the batter is too thick, stir in another 1 to 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Gently fold in the bacon.
  • 4. Preheat your waffle maker.
  • 5. Ladle the batter into the waffle maker, using 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter per batch and spreading the batter so that it almost reaches the edges. Cook until crisp and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spatula, remove the waffles and serve hot or place on a baking sheet in a single layer in a 200°F (95°C) oven for up to 20 minutes while you make the rest with the remaining batter. Drizzle with the warm thyme-infused syrup. Feel free to face-plant in your stack. We did.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Well, this certainly takes brunch to a whole new level. This dish is deceptively simple to make. In fact, on my next batch of these waffles, I’ll prepare much of it ahead of time (syrup, bacon, mix dry ingredients) and be ready to go in the morning. These waffles are moist and chewy and super impressive.

This is an amazing mixture of well-thought-out flavors and textures. While the waffles are definitely on the savory side, there is a great combination of sweet, salty and crunchy. The recipe is a little too labor-intensive to have on the “regular” breakfast/brunch rotation list, but I wouldn’t hesitate to make this on the weekend or while entertaining at brunch.

Yum! What a great combination! It seems like a lot of bacon, but it’s great to have a little piece of bacon in almost every bite. (I think the cornmeal waffles would be good without the bacon, also.)

A somewhat savory sounding waffle intrigued me. Nice consistency. Using a whisk is beneficial. Big hint: If you don’t have buttermilk, use milk and add the juice of one half of a lemon to the liquid — worked great! I used canola oil, not butter, and it worked just fine. Will try butter next time, just to see what the difference is in taste, etc. I chopped the bacon quite small, and made double sure to make it super crispy (patience here, my friend, or instead of crispy bacon you will get burnt bacon). I used real maple syrup and although I missed my “side” of bacon, it was a delicious change of pace. Would definitely make it again, especially for a brunch item.

I took a slight liberty with the recipe and made pancakes, not having a waffle maker. I used about a half cup for each and made three at a time in a dry frying pan on medium heat. They were a huge hit at my house as a Boxing Day brunch — the pancakes were very filling, with a lovely, fluffy texture in the middle. Cornmeal and bacon is a marriage made in heaven, and was only enhanced by the thyme-infused syrup. A word to the wise: when the recipe says “heat gently” it really means it, unless you want to end up with thyme-infused maple candy. You may also want to make extra, depending on how sweet your tooth is and how much you like to drown your waffles in syrup. I can also confirm that lemon thyme is a good variant, for an extra-citrusy hint.

I really needed to say that this syrup is fantastic. It actually was the part of the recipe that I had no interest in making. I’m so glad that I did make it. We’ve been thinking of other uses for that syrup, as well as other ways to use the same technique.


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