Sunday, May 28, 2006
The Best Waffles
I love making special treats for Sunday breakfast. With two young kids around the house, waking up early and giving us just as much work on weekends as during the week, I need the ritual of the special breakfast to make weekends feel different from week days.
Among these special breakfasts are pancakes, popovers, biscuits and waffles. Waffles are the most festive. In addition to being very tasty, they are prepared the night before and baked at the breakfast table, which is much more relaxing than pancakes. Popovers are lovely, requiring little preparation, and low in butter or sugar, but they need too long in the oven. Biscuits are good and quick to make, but somehow for all that butter I would prefer to eat waffles.
The best waffles are yeasted waffles. There's no two ways about it. Below is the recipe I've been making for many years. I once copied the recipe from a friend's coobook, so I'm not sure of the source. I believe it comes from a cookbook of America's Test Kitchen, or Cooks Illustrated, but looking up on their web-site I found a slightly different version of the yeasted waffle recipe. Which I might try as it suggests letting the dough rise in the fridge, with the eggs in it, which makes mornings even more relaxed.
Recipe: Overnight Waffles
Original source: Cooks Illustrated?
This is how the recipe described them, and I agree entirely: "super-crisp on the outside, light and tender inside, with complex flavor of yeast risen batter, these are the best waffles you can make."
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
If your yeast packet has been open for more than a week, consider doubling the amount.
- 2 c flour
I often use up to 1/2 cup wholewheat flour for a healthier (!) nuttier waffle
- 1 tbspn sugar
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 2 cups milk
- 8 tbspn butter, melted & cooled
This is a lot of butter. I've made them with 6 tbpsns and they tasted yummy. I might try with even less.
- 1/2 tspn vanilla (optional. I don't bother)
- 2 eggs
Before going to bed, combine dry ingredients and stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Mixture will be loose. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight at room temp. I usually put the bowl in the cold, turned off oven, and close the door.
In the morning the dough will have bubbled and risen, as shown here. Brush waffle iron lightly with oil & preheat. (Note: my waffle iron doesn't require any oiling so I don't do this.) Separate eggs and stir yolks into batter. Beat whites to soft peaks. Fold in gently.
Pour into hot waffle iron. The batter is a bit runny, so I often close the iron, flip the entire machine over to fill the top cavities as well, then flip it back to its normal position. Bake waffles until steam has subsided and waffles are golden brown (it's OK to peek). You may want to try different shades of brown to see which you like best: darker makes them very crunchy, lighter golden and they'll be very moist and tender inside.
This makes about 12 waffles, or enough for two (hungry) adults and two (very small) children.