I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never eaten a real waffle until this past July.
All my life, waffles were meager, frozen squares that came in those flimsy yellow boxes stacked neatly in the freezer section of the grocery. The chosen box went from the grocer’s freezer to our freezer, taking up prime space that could be used for better things (ice cream, maybe?). Reaching for a cold square or two, I always heard, “Leggo my Eggos!” sing-songing in my head.
(If you need proof that marketing works, I’m a fantastic example.)
My kids used to eat those waffles, hot from the toaster, out of hand, as they finished their morning routine before school. No syrup, just plain, tasteless waffle.
I feel sad about that now.
And on the rare occasions when we eat breakfast out — usually when we’re traveling — I’m never drawn to the waffles on the menu. Restaurant waffles just seem silly to me. Like ordering corn flakes with skim milk when I could order eggs benedict with creamy hollandaise. Besides, I’ve always assumed a restaurant-made waffle was just like a pancake, but with ridges and divots, so why would I need to order a waffle when I can order pancakes? Or eggs benedict?
I was a fool. I know this now.
The waffle I ate this July — that very first real waffle — was at Pam Anderson’s house, the last morning of Big Summer Potluck. It was Pam’s recipe. The entire experience of eating that waffle – from that first, ignorant bite to the last, ardent one – was enlightening. On the train ride back to Manhattan that day, I obsessed about waffles. I had breakfast with Irvin the next morning, and I fear the conversation was decidedly waffle-heavy. I dreamed about waffles at least twice over the following week.
All of this is to say that I am now a convert. To the religion of waffles.
Belgian waffles? Chicken and waffles? Yeasted waffles? Waffles with berry compote or maple syrup or whipped cream? I get it now.
Oh, I so get it.
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Disclosure: KitchenAid sent me their amazing Pro Line Waffle Baker to test and review. It is amazing. Perfect waffles every time, and I can cook two at once. Had they not sent it to me free, I would buy it. If you like waffles, it’s a pretty great investment.
Overnight Cinnamon Yeasted Belgian Waffles
Yield: 4-6 servings.
The beauty of these waffles is that you can do most of the work the night before. If you're like me, stumbling out of bed on Saturday mornings blurry eyed and foggy, trying to get something on the table for the kids so they'll quiet down until you've had some coffee, you'll appreciate this recipe.
1-1/2 teaspoon yeast
1-1/2 cups milk, lukewarm
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, 1-1/2 cups milk, melted butter, salt, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and flour. Whisk together until smooth. Let stand one hour at room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
2. In the morning, preheat your waffle iron. Preheat oven to 200 degrees (to keep cooked waffles warm).
3. Whisk eggs and baking soda into the waffle batter until fully incorporated. [Note: If the batter seems too thick, add an extra 1/8 cup milk.] Pour the recommended amount of batter into hot waffle iron (according to the manufacturer's instructions), close iron lid, and cook until golden brown and crispy, approximately 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes per waffle. Transfer cooked waffles to a sheet pan and place in oven to keep warm, or serve immediately.
Adapted from Marion Cunningham's recipe for raised waffles.