Chicken Gribenes ‘n Waffles Cupcake

Don’t get me wrong: I love fresh fruits and veggies. But I also love schmaltz. Not everyday. Not in large doses. But when it’s appropriate, I enjoy taking that fatty, liquid gold and using it for good, not evil.

But you know what I also love? Chicken skin. That is, gribenes. (Yes, me and your grandmother both.) I am always trying to find new uses, including these Deviled Eggs with Schmaltz and Gribenes and my Ultimate Kosher Burger with Grilled Pastrami and Gribenes. Gribenes will never be bacon. But it’s not a bad substitute for something salty and greasy in kosher cooking.

So when I came across this recipe for Chicken N Waffles Cupcake, I was inspired: breakfast + dessert, sweet + savory, all wrapped up in a cupcake. How could I make this kosher?

And then I realized: I shouldn’t just make this cupcake kosher. I should make it Jewish. Really Jewish. And that’s how it was born: My nondairy maple gribenes cupcake.

So when my husband came home from the butcher with 2 huge, free* bags of chicken skin I got straight to work. And I must admit, we were a bit frightened by the results.

The cupcake and the frosting are SO good and moist they don’t taste nondairy at all. But I’ve got to be honest, while the gribenes looked very pretty, we couldn’t decide if we really loved it on top of a cupcake. But novelty wins the day, and this photo makes it all worthwhile:


I am so happy to have a great new nondairy dessert recipe to come out of one my slightly nutty gribenes-inspired ideas. You can choose to include the gribenes, or leave it off all together, but either way, happy cupcake making!

Meanwhile, my quest to use gribenes continues!

How to make your own gribenes?
Cut chicken skin into medium size strips. I don’t like cutting them too small, I like a larger piece of skin to crunch on. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add a scant tsp of oil or chicken fat (schmaltz) into the pan. Add chicken skin and saute 20-25 minutes, scraping frequently with spatula or wooden spoon to avoid  the skin sticking or burning.

When skin is a deep brown and appears crispy, remove with slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel. Sprinkle with a smidge of salt.



1 ¼  cup all purpose flour

½  tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking soda

¾  tsp baking powder

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp maple syrup

½  cup vegetable oil

¼  cup almond milk mixed with 1 Tbsp vinegar

Maple frosting:

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp maple syrup

pinch of salt


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in a muffin tin and spray with non-stick spray.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. In another larger bowl, beat egg, sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and oil until combined.

Alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture to the wet ingredients.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 way full and turn oven down to 325 degrees right before placing the pan into the oven. Bake the cupcakes around 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

To make the frosting, beat together shortening, sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and salt in a stand mixture until smooth.

When cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe or spoon frosting as desired.

Garnish with gribenes if desired and an extra drizzle of maple syrup.

*TIP: butchers often throw out all that chicken skin, so if you are hankering to make your own gribenes, you probably can do it for free. It’s also a great way to render your own chicken fat.

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