Sunday, October 18, 2009

Copy Cat Recipes: Georgia Grits and Bits Pancakes

In two short years, Dave and I will be empty nesters. In preparation for that time, we've started taking days off together to rediscover our interests as a couple.

On our most recent day off, we started our morning with a delightful breakfast at the Zingerman's Roadhouse. I'd read Jane and Michael Stern's rave review of their breakfast there, and we were especially dying to taste the Biscuits with Chocolate Gravy and Bacon.

We split that as a starter, and then split the Georgia Grits and Bits Waffle. The biscuits were absolutely delicious - the chocolate "gravy" wasn't overly sweet, and the salty bite of the bacon was a great counterbalance to the chocolate, but what we really flipped over was the Georgia Grits and Bits Waffle.

If you haven't tasted it, the Georgia Grits and Bits Waffle is a creamy, rich, cheesy cloud of grits enclosed by a crisp waffle outside, bits of perfect bacon and sharp cheddar cheese, and covered with some of the best maple syrup I've ever tasted. It is one of those meals where each time we take a bite, we say, "Mmmmmm...."

Now, while there are many reasons to go to the Roadhouse - the fabulous service, the wide menu, the mellow and lovely vibe on an early weekday morning, supporting a great local business - this is not something we can do as a frequent pleasure (both for work and monetary reasons), and waffles are only a pleasure we eat out, as they tend to call for a lot more oil/butter than pancakes do.

But, wow, those waffles were good, and I had a feeling they wouldn't be too hard to copycat.

So Saturday I did some research and found this recipe on Wuthering Bites, which in turn was taken from The Rustic Table Cookbook. The recipe itself had a bit too much (okay, way too much) fat, and it also was missing the cheesy and bacony goodness of the Zingerman's Georgia Grits and Bits Waffles, so here was my final product:

Jen's Copycat Georgia Grits and Bits Pancakes (Waffles)


2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quick-cooking (not instant) grits
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 chunks
3/4 cup cold lowfat buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small pieces
1 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 slices of good bacon (I used Ernst Farms bacon) cooked to taste, chopped into small pieces

Maple syrup for serving


1. Combine the water and the salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the grits; reduce the heat as low as possible and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grits are very soft and creamy, 10 minutes

2. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cold butter to the hot grits, stirring until it is melted and well incorporated. Stir in the buttermilk, then the egg yolks. Transfer the grits mixture to the well of the dry ingredients and stir lightly, just until incorporated.

4. Stir in the chopped cheese and half the chopped bacon.

5. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and then fold the egg whites into the batter until just incorporated. This will help to make the pancakes (or waffles) lighter.

6. Preheat a griddle or frying pan to medium/medium high and grease with either neutral oil (such as canola), butter or cooking spray. If you're making waffles, preheat your waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.

7. For pancakes, cook about 3 minutes on each side, then top with bacon crumbles and the shredded cheddar. For waffles, cook according to manufacturer's directions, and then top with the bacon crumbles and shredded cheddar.

Serve with maple syrup (and butter, if you must). Makes 18, 1/4 cup pancakes or 6 waffles. Serves 6.

Nutrition Info:

Servings Per Recipe: 6
Serving Size: 1 serving

Amount Per Serving
Calories 320.7
Total Fat 16.4 g
Saturated Fat 9.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.2 g
Cholesterol 111.0 mg
Sodium 433.0 mg
Potassium 147.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Sugars 3.7 g
Protein 12.4 g

Nutrition information supplied by the recipe calculator at

All photos by Jennifer Shikes Haines.


anno said...

Oh my. I've gotta try this!

Ivy said...

I have never tried bacon with chocolate and I am very curious to try it, at least once. Your pancakes sound delicious and I think we can indulge every now and then to less healthy eating :)

Brian Miller said...

it seems like forever since i saw a post by you! welcome back! cool that you are taking the time to rediscover each othr now. i know too many people that are left in their empty nest wondering what to do next. bacon and chocolate...sounds like

Luisa Perkins said...

That sounds heavenly!

Good for you for spending time together; that is so important.

Marianne Arkins said...

I can't help it -- your "not instant" grits made me think of "My Cousin Vinny" --

No self-respecting southerner would use instant grits.

:::wipes eyes:::

It still makes me laugh.

Yeah, I'm very high-brow. *G*

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Sounds like a greeatway to start your day and to reconnect.

Goofball said...

Phewww you are back online....I've missed you around

The waffle sounds good!

Jen said...

Anno, I think your crew would like this!

Ivy - it's a surprisingly great combination. ;-)

Brian - I've been very, very caught up in the start of the school year - hoping to start catching up here and reading again!

Luisa - I think this might be a hit for the Perkinses, as well. And yes, that reconnecting is important.

Marianne - I LOVE My Cousin Vinny - it's one of my all-time favorites.

Bellini - it was a nice morning.

Goofball - thanks! I've been busy with school and family things.

glamah16 said...

Thats a cool recipe. Im not into Grits but I mat try this. 2 years will go by faster than you think!

the twins said...

that sounds amazing! what a great idea for waffles/pancakes.

Jeanie said...

These sound pretty decadent and most delicious! Glad you're 'back'!

Liz Dwyer said...

I just keep hearing Al Green screaming about hot grits... ;)

Ben said...

When I was reading your description of the pancakes I thought to myself, how can something be so wrong and so good at the same time? I bet this breakfast packs all the calories you need for the whole day, but that wouldn't stop me from trying it! LOL. You have made me hungry, again.

Mariposa said...

Oh are making my hungry at 6AM! (In my time!)

Miss you!

Buttercup said...

Welcome back, you were missed.

This sounds like a great leap-off point for a whole new range of waffle/pancake options. Hmmm. I think I'll leave off either the cheese or the maple syrup, though.

peter said...

Those would be wicked with fried chicken- especially if you adapted the chocolate gravy to be closer to a mole.

11 lbs of miso bacon go on the smoker tomorrow...

Momisodes said...

I am HUGE fan of grits. This sounds amazing! I've never heard of these before, but I will have to try it out.

Alex said...

oh man....we have GOT to make this at home soon. crunch in pancakes is absolutely the way to go. PS- I MISS ZINGERMAN'S!!!

Bren said...

this is love written all over it! great combo! :) pancake looks amazing.