Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Waffle Affair

For Christmas, Aaron and I received a gift certificate from his parents to Williams of Sonoma and we finally put it to good use a few months ago. We went on a mission to buy new silverware, but were in for a surprise when we saw that one setting was upwards of a hundred or two hundred buckaroos. Yikes! No wonder people get this stuff as wedding gifts! Instead, we both talked ourselves into an All-clad waffle iron. I thought we were being terrible influences on one another, because how often would we really make waffles? But once we unwrapped this baby from its cardboard cocoon, make waffles we did! 

This recipe comes from the Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl. In it, she writes, “'Brussels waffles,' made on special waffle irons with large, deep grids and topped with strawberries and whipped cream, debuted at that city’s World’s Fair in 1960 and were introduced as Belgian waffles at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. In Belgium, the waffles are not relegated to the breakfast table but are considered an afternoon snack. To our mind, however, those deep crevices are ideal receptacles for butter and maple syrup.” I love waffles and desperately wish I could have attended a World’s Fair, so this must be the next best thing!

What I love about this recipe is the tang the buttermilk provides and that the waffles are not sickeningly sweet, in fact they have no sugar at all.  Syrup adds all the sweetness you need. Another wonderful thing about these waffles is that the batter freezes beautifully. If for some reason you have unexpected guests stay the night, you can simply pull the batter out of the freezer to defrost in the refrigerator overnight, and in the morning you’ll have breakfast in minutes.  

I like to serve these waffles with fresh strawberries (when in season) and strawberry butter.  My recipe follows.

Courtesy: Ruth Reichl, The Gourmet Cookbook

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3¼ cup well-shaken buttermilk
1½ sticks  (12 tbsp.)  unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron, if necessary (unnecessary if yours is non-stick)

Preheat waffle iron. Put a rack in the middle of the oven along with a baking sheet and preheat to 200 degrees F. 

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Add buttermilk, butter, and eggs and stir until smooth (batter will be thick). 

Brush waffle iron lightly with vegetable, if necessary, and ladle batter into waffle iron and spread evenly.  Transfer the cooked waffle to the baking sheet in the oven and keep warm, uncovered.  Make more waffles with remaining batter in same manner.  

Yield: Twelve 4-inch Belgian waffles or twenty-four 4-inch standard waffles


½ stick unsalted butter (4 tbsp.), room temperature
1 to 2 tbsp. fresh or frozen strawberries (thawed), puréed
Pinch of sea salt

Start by puréeing the fresh or frozen strawberries in a blender or food processor.  Place the butter in a small bowl and add about 1 to 2 tbsp. of strawberry purée to the butter.  Whisk briskly to combine. Taste the butter as you add the purée, until you reach the desired strawberry flavor. Finally, add the salt to taste and whisk to incorporate. Transfer to a small serving jar, cover, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Serve at room temperature.

Yield: about 4 servings

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