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And the Valley Cooks: Bourbon-Bacon-Apple Pancakes

Get in the Derby Day spirit with a Kentucky-themed breakfast.

Billy Gomila

It’s Kentucky Derby weekend, and in our opinion, bourbon is good.

Sure, you can drink it. Allegedly, that’s what it’s for.

Or, you can work it into your cooking. We’ve talked about using it to brine chicken, but it can add some sweetness to any number of dishes. And when Buffalo Trace’s Facebook feed dropped this recipe into my timeline, I knew I had to try it.

Bourbon-Bacon-Apple pancakes. There’s a nice blend of sweet and savory here that was pretty dang good, and it all makes for a strong way to kick off Derby Day.


2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
2 cups diced apples
2 tablespoons white sugar, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon whiskey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cooked bacon

Note: you can make your own oat flour by grinding plain rolled oats in a food processor for a few minutes. Adds some nice texture to the batter. I used Granny Smith apples here, because I like their sharpness contrasted against the sweetness of the other ingredients, but go to your own tastes. You’ll want to cook and crumble your bacon in advance, obviously.

Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir apples, 1 tablespoon sugar, and cinnamon in the hot oil until apples are slightly softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

Billy Gomila

I recommend a really fine dice on the apples for texture purposes. I was a little too course here, thinking the apples might cook down some. If you want to crank things up a notch, throw a teaspoon or two of bourbon in while you’re cooking down the apples.

Whisk milk, butter, egg, bourbon, and vanilla extract together in a bowl. Sift all-purpose flour, oat flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into milk mixture until batter is well mixed; fold in apples and bacon.

Billy Gomila
Billy Gomila

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil in a skillet over medium heat; drop batter, about 1/2 cup per pancake, onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip pancake and cook until browned on the other side, 3 to 5 more minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

Billy Gomila

Serves four — if you go overboard on the apples like I did, reserve a few of the cooked ones and mix them in with some maple syrup.