Wednesday, February 22, 2012

everyone loves a waffle iron

Maybe it's just me, but I think of waffle irons as one of those kitchen devices that everyone thinks that they will use, but inevitably ends up collecting dust in the basement with the deep fryer and other cool but non-everyday kitchen devices. I mean, I can think of probably two times in my life that my mom has used hers, so I was hesitant to buy one of my own, considering the limited storage space in my NYC apartment. Clearly, no matter how many delicious waffle recipes are out there to tantalize me, this was not something that I needed..... but alas, good sense and practicality lost out to the sheer force of desire and a tiny $10 waffle iron on sale at Target.

My waffle iron makes two waffles at a time, and you have to wash it with a paper towel so as to not ruin the electrical components, but I've used it twice so far and I have no major complaints, although I do have a slight concern.

My first batch of waffles was a lovely recipe by Mark Bittman for sour cream waffles that I found at the Smitten Kitchen. They were tasty, if slightly sturdy and dense. I served them with some real maple syrup, because I am absolutely disgusted by that Aunt Jemima crap, and a some ripe pear, because why not?

As you can see, they looked like the ideal waffle. The second waffle, which I actually thought was far more delicious, (appropriately so given their title, "The Greatest Waffles Ever") did not turn out quite so picturesque.

These were light and almost custardy, with a lovely sweet eggy flavor, and the crispy edges were delightful. But what of the appearance? Not so bad you say? Think again.

For some reason, the batter was pretty thin, and didn't get into all the ridges on the top of the pan. I also found that they took more or less FOREVER to cook. I don't know if these issues were the result of the recipe (I did swap out canola oil in favor of melted butter, because BUTTER IS ALWAYS BETTER—except maybe it wasn't here?), or if my waffle iron is already breaking down. I guess I'll just have to make some more waffles just to see how it's holding up.

I'll leave you with both recipes, (I'd make them both again in a heartbeat) but first, here is this kind of ridiculous photo that Nathan took of me after breakfast:

Yeah, that happened.

Sour Cream Waffles
adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything via the Smitten Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ cups sour cream or 1 3/4 cups buttermilk* or plain yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
4 tbsp (½ stick butter, melted and cooled)
½ tsp vanilla extract
Canola or other neutral oil for brushing on waffle pan

Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil and preheat it. Combine the dry ingredients. Mix together the buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt and the egg yolks. Stir in the butter and vanilla.

Stir the wet into the dry ingredients. Beat the egg whites with the whisk or electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Fold them gently into the batter.

Ladle some batter onto the waffle iron, being careful not to overfill it, and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in a low oven.

* The buttermilk can be substituted with 1 1/4 cups of milk at room temperature, mixed with two tablespoons white vinegar, left to clabber for 10 minutes.

Best Ever Waffles
adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens "Pink Plaid" Cookbook by way of Serious Eats

1 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1 ¾ cups milk
½ cup canola oil (although I used melted butter)
2 egg whites

Brush your waffle iron with oil and pre-heat it. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. In another bowl beat egg yolks slightly. Stir in milk and oil. Add egg yolk mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just till moistened (should be lumpy). In a small bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight up). Gently fold egg whites into flour and egg yolk mixture, leaving a few streaks of egg white, being careful not to overmix.

Spoon waffle batter into your waffle iron, making sure not to overfill it, and cook until golden brown and crisp. Serve with real maple syrup and unsalted butter.

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