Bacon. Bacon bacon bacon. A love that never ends.
Probably the most monotonous and predictable thing about the internet is its love of bacon. It is literally a salt-cured piece of fat that works well in both sweet and savory contexts and possesses the most satisfying crispiness, thus fitting the basic criteria for deliciousness (as demonstrated in Salt Sugar Fat, which I found is basically a guidebook for making addictive food in the comfort of your own home)—so the fact that millions of people feel the need to worship this meat product both online and IRL is quite unsurprising. I am always shocked when someone says they don’t like bacon. Like my mom. My mom doesn’t like bacon.
|God, what a hipster. source|
And, as expected, the most common rebuttal to a vegan or vegetarian diet is simply that. Bacon. Who can live without it? How can you stand to exist without consuming this one godly food?
Fortunately, bacon is probably one of the easiest foods to replicate. As I said, it is, to an untrained palate (like mine), a mass of salt and fat with a smoky flavor and pleasant crunch. Well damn if I can find something that is not dead animal flesh and possesses one of those attributes.
In my post about a vegan Elvis sandwich, I substituted Elvis’s favorite food for Fettle Vegan’s famous coconut bacon recipe, which takes coconut flakes and coats them in a mixture of soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smokes. A few minutes in the oven, and voila! Instant facon. The texture is a bit different, and you can still taste the coconut (given that you already know it is there—my dad, who had no idea what I had just made, did not taste the coconut at all until I told him), but the resemblance to bacon is undeniable. Miraculous, in fact. And all due to the magic of liquid smoke.
Even the name is mystical. Liquid smoke? How can you capture a flavorful gas and put it into liquid form? Shockingly, the answer is science. According to Wikipedia (who knows all), this modern culinary ingredient is “a substance produced from smoke passed through a tube from a combustion chamber filled with select wood chips to a condenser”, wherein “the smoke cools and forms a liquid, aided by the addition of water”. Hmm. Fascinating. And—get this—it actually isn’t modern. Ernest H. Wright began bottling and selling the stuff in 1895. The best thing since before the invention of sliced bread, I guess you could say.
Some folks find that liquid smoke is one of those evil, artificial ingredients that has contributed to the destructive of our health care system and the obesity epidemic and global warming and whatever, and that’s fine, but for god’s sake would they stop complaining about sawdust?! Fucking sawdust, always making our food weird and unnatural.
|Cellulose, which is found in most plants. How disgusting. source|
Then again, the European Food Safety Authority has found some brands of liquid smoke to be mildly genotoxic, meaning the consumption of the food can alter your goddamn DNA, which can lead to cancer if the modified cells do not immediately die. Don’t know what the fatal dose is for the smoke I used, but I’m pretty sure that a) this brand probably doesn’t turn you into a genetically modified organism and b) a couple tablespoons in a large batch of coconut facon probably won’t kill you, so long as you aren’t downing the stuff by the bottle every single day.
But I don’t know. There’s a lot we don’t know about our food, and we just have to live with it.
So these pancakes. I put coconut bacon in them.
And then topped them with caramel.
Fuck yeah. It’s awesome.
Also, because I am a kind and benevolent human, I adapted the recipe to make a single serving so as to deprive the rest of your family of delicious pancakes as well. They’re very tender and fluffy, more so than the average pancake, but it’s all good. Lots of holes for caramel to seep through.
When I saw Blissful Basil’s wonderfully healthy almond butter caramel recipe, I knew it belonged with pancakes, and for that I am unashamed. But being average, unenlightened Americans, my family does not keep almond butter on hand and thus I was forced to substitute *gasp* peanut butter, like some sort of peasant…although I did have coconut oil. Because that stuff is just great. There’s nothing coconut oil can’t do. It even flushes out your wallet. Detoxification, bitches!
|I wonder if I should buy coconut flour and coconut palm sugar, while I'm at it.|
Together, the creamy peanut-buttery caramel sauce and fluffy pancakes is a match made in Nirvana. It’s beautiful. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
Bacon Polenta Pancakes with Peanut Butter Caramel
Serves one, with extra caramel
Single serving pancake batter (adapted from Savory Simple)
31 grams • all-purpose flour • ¼ cup
39 grams • yellow cornmeal • ¼ cup
4 grams • sugar • 1 teaspoon
2.3 grams • baking powder • ½ teaspoon
1 gram • baking soda • ¼ teaspoon
0.75 gram • salt • 1/8 teaspoon
183 grams • soy milk • ¾ cup
10 grams • lemon juice • 2 teaspoons
31 grams • canned pumpkin puree (or other substitute for half an egg) • 2 tablespoons
Coconut bacon to taste
Peanut butter caramel (adapted from Blissful Basil)
160 grams • maple syrup • ½ cup
128 grams • peanut butter (or other nut butter) • ½ cup
72 grams • coconut oil • 1/3 cup
10 grams • vanilla extract • 2 teaspoons
Sea salt to taste
Head over to Blissful Basil and follow the instructions for the caramel sauce using the last five ingredients. You can use almond butter if you want.
While that’s brewing on the stove, mix together soy milk and lemon juice and let stand for about five minutes.
Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Fold in pumpkin puree (or other egg substitute) and soy buttermilk.
Preheat a pan on the stovetop until a drop of water tossed in the pan sizzles. Fry them pancakes, and drown in caramel sauce. Nosh.
Forgive me for the blurry pictures; my parents were away while I made this, so I only had my crappy flip phone with which to take pictures. But no matter. You can still imagine.
That caramel sauce is seriously addicting. Like bacon itself, it’s essentially a mixture of salt, sugar, and fat in their superior forms. It’s somewhat healthy, considering the use of more nutritious ingredients like maples syrup, peanut butter, and coconut oil as opposed to traditional caramel’s high-fat creams, granulated sugar, and regular ol’ butter. But don’t be fooled, this stuff is liquid calories. You see that a lot in the blog world. We hear that foods like coconut oil and peanut butter are healthy, and then we lob tablespoons of the stuff into our cakeholes like there’s no tomorrow, justifying ourselves with cries of “but it’s healthy fatz!!!1!!”
Meh. Sure, it’s dairy, but I bet regular butter is not too much worse than coconut oil. So take from that what you wish.
|*Pancake eating intensifies*|
Actually, fuck the police. I can eat as much peanut butter caramel shit as I want.
|It's just so beautiful. source|