I honestly don’t really know what I just made.
It started off simple enough. On a trip to the grocery store, Roy picked out a bag of Kettle Chips–of the Maple Bacon variety. After passing by it several times in the kitchen, I realized Maple Bacon Donuts sounded like the best idea ever. When I told Roy what I was planning, he insisted that I use up the mochi waffle mix I brought back from Hawaii and add bacon to it. The problem: we don’t own a waffle maker. Is that weird? Don’t most people own waffle makers? I mean we own things like a juicer, an ice cream machine, and a takyoaki pan for goodness sakes… wait just a minute! A takoyaki maker! I thought I was a genius for about 5 seconds, until I realized that the takoyaki maker wouldn’t make the waffles crispy on the outside. But, they might make some delicious pancakes bites!
Long story short, my plan for Maple Bacon Donuts turned into something I am calling Maple Bacon Mochi Pancake Bites.
It took me a good 14 minutes to think of an appropriate name for this strange little dish that has come to life in the kitchen today. I still don’t think the name explains it clearly enough. Basically, this is a big stack of pancake balls that were made with mochiko flour (rice flour), swimming in maple glaze, with a heavy sprinkling of bacon bits. Mochiko flour is used to make mochi, and when used in the pancake batter, it gives the pancakes a slightly chewier texture. I added bits of bacon inside, drizzled heaping spoonfuls of maple glaze on top, aaaand sprinkled a bit more bacon because, well, you can never have enough bacon, can you?
Interesting fact #1: Leaving the batter overnight in the refrigerator resulted in a much chewier texture for the pancake bites. When I tested a few pancake balls immediately after mixing the batter, the inside was similar to a cake donut. After chilling the batter overnight, I’m assuming the mochiko flour absorbed some of the liquid and that somehow gave the pancake bites a more mochi like consistency when I made them the following morning. Not sure on the science behind this, but having options is always a plus. Make them whichever way you think will suit you!
Maple Bacon Mochi Pancake Bites
Makes around a 12-15 pancake bites, or one and a half pancake towers.
For the pancake bites:
3/4 cup mochiko flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk
3 strips of thick cut bacon
For the maple glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp milk (if needed)
1. Cook the strips of bacon till crispy. Drain the excess oil, pat dry and let cool. Chop the bacon into very small pieces. Set aside.
2. Whisk together the mochiko and all purpose flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the milk and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. If desired, sprinkle a few tablespoons of the bacon bits into the batter.
3. Heat a takoyaki pan over medium heat. Use a pastry brush to butter the pan. Pour the pancake batter into each hole, filling just to the top but not enough for the batter to overflow. The batter will rise, and some of the batter will spill a bit onto the sides around the hole. When the bites begin to bubble, use a wooden chopstick or skewer to test the doneness of the batter that spilled around the hole. If it feels hardened but still slightly tacky, use your skewers to flip the pancake bite over. Keep turning each bite in the pan until it is evenly golden brown. Transfer the bites to a plate and set aside.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup into the powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Pouring all the wet ingredients into the powdered sugar at once will cause the glaze to turn very runny. Once you have incorporated all the maple syrup, add in the milk if the mixture is still too thick.
5. For assembly, stack the pancake bites in a pyramid. I did this by placing 5 in a circle and adding one to the middle. Then add 3 more for the 2nd level, and one for the very top. Drizzle the pancake bites with the maple glaze and sprinkle the remaining bacon bits on top.
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