This week, Striped Spatula is celebrating reaching
200 300+ Facebook followers (thanks, everyone!) with a big batch of raised waffles…and a shiny new waffle maker. It’s true: the glossy pages of the Williams-Sonoma catalog wooed me once again. While my old waffle maker was a wonderful old friend that brought many a weekend breakfast to my family’s table, it was ready for retirement. Among other ailments, its “ready” beep has been sounding much more like a frizzled “croak” these days, and I could only write off its increasingly uneven browning as “rustic” for so long. Time for an upgrade!
In the great breakfast food debate, I’ll almost always choose a good homemade waffle over a stack of pancakes. Don’t get me wrong: I love pancakes. But, there’s something extra-special about biting into a warm waffle, just off of the iron, with its crispy shell and tender, malty interior. (I’m talking about the thinner, “classic” American waffles here, not Belgian or Liege, which are each their own delicious discussion.)
My biggest issue with waffle-making over the years has been that it can be hard to find a recipe that fits the bill texture-wise (and justifies the work). So many “tips” I’ve tried—from adding whipped egg whites and cornstarch to double-baking—have been promising at first, only to turn into dense, soggy bricks within seconds of serving. Not to mention the mess. On a weekend morning, who really wants to clean up a stack of bowls and eat soggy waffles? Not I!
One of my favorite waffle recipes comes from Jeni Britton Bauer (of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream fame). I found the recipe on Britton Bauer’s original blog a few years ago, and they’ve been in my waffle-making rotation ever since. When I read that she developed the recipe from the original Fannie Farmer* cookbook, I knew that they would be good. The addition of a little bit of whole wheat flour to the recipe gives the waffles a nice chew, without compromising their light texture. The best part? Almost all of the work is done the night before. Mix the batter before you go to bed and pop it in the refrigerator to let the yeast work its magic. The only thing standing between you and hot, crispy waffles when you awaken from your beauty slumber is the time it takes to pre-heat your iron.
Britton Bauer’s raised waffles have such a delicious flavor and texture that they need little in terms of toppings. I usually just go with a dusting of powdered sugar and/or a drizzle of warm maple butter (recipe below), plus a few fresh berries. In the mood for dessert? Take a cue from Britton Bauer and top them with a scoop of ice cream. “North Market” waffles are a home run any time of the day.
*I debated doing a post on Fannie Farmer’s legendary Raised Waffles when I started this site, but so much has been written about them on the food blogs over the years, there’s honestly nothing I can add that hasn’t already been said! It’s a personal favorite and a quintessential addition to any recipe box.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, 2014
- 2-1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon instant (or "rapid rise") yeast
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Place milk and butter in a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and let cool to 105-110 degrees F (slightly warm). Insufficient cooling will kill the yeast in the waffle batter.
- In a large bowl*, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the warm milk/butter mixture and whisk until smooth.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Whisk into the waffle batter until combined. Using a rubber spatula, scrape sides and bottom of bowl, gently folding batter until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
- Heat and prep waffle iron according to your manufacturer's instructions. Remove risen batter from refrigerator and give it a quick stir with a whisk, fork, or rubber spatula. The batter will deflate. Pour the appropriate amount of batter for your waffle iron onto the center of the plates. Bake until heavy steam subsides and the waffle is just lightly golden, about 4 minutes.** Transfer to a wire rack.
- Serve waffles immediately, or hold on a wire rack-rimmed baking sheet in a 250-degree oven for up to 10 minutes while additional waffles bake.***
**The amount of batter used for each waffle will depend on your specific iron. My 6-1/2" round takes a scant 1/2 cup.
***If you decide to go back for seconds long after the waffles have been baked, I've found that a quick trip to the toaster oven (just 1-2 minutes on "light") brings them right back to their fresh-from-the-iron texture. Like all waffle recipes, even these will get soggy when allowed to sit at room temperature for prolonged periods of time. It's the nature of the beast!
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not "pancake syrup")
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the maple syrup and salt until bubbles just begin to form around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until melted and smooth. Keep warm until ready to serve.