Chef Penny's pancake ingredients mise en placed.

Chef Penny's Pro Pancakes

Pastry & Baking Arts Chef-Instructor Penny Stankiewicz uses bourbon syrup, buttermilk and candied bacon to perfect her pancake recipe.

Epicurious' 4 Levels series features professional ICE chefs demonstrating classic dishes alongside amateur and advanced cooks, followed by analysis of the three recipes from a food scientist. In this episode, Chef Penny shares her approach to a simple breakfast pleasure: pancakes with homemade apple butter and candied bacon.

Chef Penny says she likes to add things to her recipes anywhere she can make it more interesting. For pancakes, she creates a more complex flavor with whole wheat flour, adds color and depth with buttermilk and incorporates a fruity element with apple butter.

"Bacon is where the magic is happening in this recipe," she says. "I like a piece of bacon in every forkful of pancake."

Watch the video for Chef Penny's demo and get the complete recipe below.


Apple Butter 


  • 1/4 cup bacon fat
  • 8 apples, mixed variety (I like golden delicious and Rome, peeled, cored, rough sliced and ground into small pieces in food processor.)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 8 pieces clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Heat bacon fat in a dutch oven.
  2. Saute the apple pieces in the bacon fat.
  3. Place the whole spices in a cheese cloth packet tied with twine and add them to the apples. Add the salt and ground nutmeg.
  4. Cook over medium/low heat, stirring often until the apples have broken down completely into a paste and little moisture remains, about 90 minutes to 3 hours.
  5. Cool and store in the refrigerator for future use.
  6. This is also made well in a slow cooker or instant on its slow cooker setting.

Bourbon Maple Syrup


  • 12 ounces maple syrup
  • 6 ounces good bourbon whisky
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 pinch of sea salt


  1. Place all ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer and cook for about 10 minutes at the simmer. Turn off the heat and allow flavors to meld fully as its returning to room temperature.
  2. Refrigerate any extra leaving bean and pod in the liquid.

Candied Bacon


  • 1 pound applewood smoked bacon, thick-cut
  • 8 ounces light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground star anise


  1. Mix sugar and star anise.
  2. Lay bacon out on a sheet tray fitted with a rack.
  3. Pack sugar mix in a layer on top of the bacon and bake at 400 F until bacon is crisp and sugar has melted and formed a crust on the bacon, about 15 minutes.
  4. Cool and chop into small pieces.

Browned Butter


  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise


  1. Place the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and cook until the butter solids have browned deeply.
  2. Set aside 3 tablespoons for recipe and stir spice and salt into rest.
  3. Allow to cool somewhat in the pan, and then when it's moldable, scrape it onto plastic wrap and roll into a log. Chill.
  4. Cut into rounds for the top of the pancakes.

Chef Penny's pancakes are served with candied bacon.



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat or rye flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 ounces buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoon melted brown butter
  • Pam for pan


  1. Mix together all the dry and whisk to combine.
  2. Mix together buttermilk, eggs, browned butter and fold into the dry ingredients, leaving some small lumps is best rather than overmixing.
  3. Preheat griddle over medium heat. Transfer pancake mix to a pouring pitcher. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto griddle spacing them out a bit. Immediately sprinkle on chopped candied bacon. When bubbles form on the top of the pancake, flip over.
  4. Put cooked pancakes on a sheet pan lined with a rack and hold them in a warm oven until ready to eat.

See upcoming classes with Chef Penny.

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