We have a glorious brunch place in Fort Worth, Texas, that I adore. It’s called Bird Café. It’s a wonderful place, and you must go if you’re ever in town. Their brunch cocktail menu is inspiring. My husband’s favorite thing there is called the Mother and Child Reunion. It’s fried chicken, a poached egg, and jalapeno gravy on a bed of grits. <I know!> But you will forgive their sick sense of humor the second you taste it. My favorite is called The Badass Waffle. It’s a waffle covered in berries, caramel apples, bacon, brie fondue, and maple syrup. It’s why I have a mouth.
I should probably explain why I’m telling you about that amazing waffle. We’re doing a traditional Texas Christmas Eve this year. That’s tamales, queso, and margaritas. I thought it would be super fun to decorate in an understated cowboy glam. Then I wondered to myself what the best Texas Christmas Eve breakfast would be. Well, migas are my favorite, but I make them constantly. We’ve always cracked up at the Texas shaped waffles that you see in hotels all over the state. I have a killer double waffle maker, so I couldn’t justify buying The Texas Waffle Maker. Well, I can think of no better excuse than Christmas Eve morning! Now for a waffle that’s special enough. I had to try to recreate that Bacon, Berry, Brie, and Caramel Apple Waffle with Warm Maple Syrup. Sounds like a delicious challenge to me! Giddy up!
I love yeasty waffles with a bit of exterior crunch from Belgian pearl sugar. I adapted a King Arthur waffle recipe as my jumping off point.
Vegetarian friends, go ahead and skip the bacon, and go to your happy place. Swine-enthusiasts –scale up the bacon as needed. You do you.
My Amazon affiliate links to the waffle irons are below the recipe if you need one.
Jen’s Bacon, Berry, Brie, and Caramel Apple Waffle with Warm Maple Syrup
Waffles – Part 1
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Preferred brand – Penzey’s double-strength, but vanilla prices shot up this year, so do what works for you.)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (Preferred brand – Penzey’s)
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, optional (Preferred brand – Penzey’s. If you’re not familiar with cardamom, it adds wonderful floral notes and shows up in Scandinavian baking and Indian cooking a lot. Yum.)
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour (Preferred brand – King Arthur)
1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast (Preferred brand – Saf)
Stir together in a large bowl to the point that it’s almost smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for one hour, or if you want more wonderfully yeasty taste (yes, please!), refrigerate overnight.
While the batter rests or the next morning:
Pop a large baking sheet into the oven and preheat it to 200.
Salted Caramel Apples
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 16 slices each
1 Tablespoon water
Put in covered skillet set to medium until softened, about 10 minutes.
While the apples are going:
6 T granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons butter
Melt together over medium in a small saucepan. When it turns a caramel color, slowly whisk in:
7 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (or 1 teaspoon kosher salt)
When it’s fully incorporated, remove from heat.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (Preferred brand – Penzey’s)
Add, pour over the apples, give a nice swish, and move to the oven.
8 slices bacon
Place the bacon on a cold griddle in a single layer. (Do half the bacon at a time if you only have a skillet.) Cook to the degree of doneness you like. Nice and crisp, here! Move it to a small paper towel lined baking dish, and transfer to the oven to keep warm
2 cups of fresh mixed berries
Quarter any strawberries. The rest can be left whole. Pop into a microwave and oven-safe dish, and microwave for about 1 minute, til nice and warm. Move to the oven to stay warm.
4 oz brie, rind removed and cubed
Microwave about 10-20 seconds, til just softened, and stir until smooth. Move to oven to keep warm. I prefer it spoonable. If you prefer, you can just slice it really thin and let the hot waffle and toppings soften it.
Maple syrup, warmed
Waffles – Part 2 (It’s very important that you do this last. Because waffle texture!)
Belgian Pearl Sugar, optional (This adds the most delightful sweetness and crunch to the outside.)
Vegetable or Canola Oil
Preheat your waffle iron and brush with oil pretty generously. After it heats up, I like to put a few sheets of paper towel in, quickly rotate the waffle iron from side to side to get rid of any excess oil, and toss the paper out. When the light indicates it’s ready, use the little measuring cup that came with your waffle iron to add a portion right to the center, sprinkle pearl sugar if using, and close it up. When the beep or light indicator for your iron says it’s ready, move the waffle onto that warm sheet pan in the oven while you make the rest. Make sure that they’re in a single layer! They will become sad, defeated waffles if you stack them. Lightly oil the iron between each waffle.
The amount and time is different for each iron. I won’t tell you how many waffle irons I have. 😉 For this Texas one, it took a generous 2/3 of a cup, and I had to spread that out quickly to cover the design. They were perfect in 3 minutes. It made 7 waffles (but the first one is always a tosser.) In my rotating double waffle iron, there’s a batter measuring cup and it beeps when it’s done. That makes 5 waffles.
Arrange on each plate:
¼ of the berries (½ cup)
¼ of the apple slices with a little caramel (8) (Tailor the amount of caramel to your own sweet tooth level.)
2 slices bacon
Drizzle ¼ of the brie sauce
2 Tablespoons of maple syrup
Hand that plate to someone who is smiling at you! Or smiling at the waffle. Let’s not be picky. Happy brunch, Y’all! Where’s my honey? I need a mimosa…
My Amazon affiliate links to my 2 favorite waffle irons….
They both produce waffles with great texture. The Texas one is *obviously* much cuter! The double waffle iron makes slightly larger waffles, self times, and you can get them done in pairs, speeding up the process.
Double waffle iron. Mine’s a Waring and has been discontinued. <sniff> This Cuisinart’s the same thing and has equally high ratings.