I’m one of those people who speaks with jazz hands over most things cooked in a waffle iron. When it comes down to it, there are few dishes that have the power to turn an ordinary morning into an occasion than a freshly-made, buttery waffle. At least, that’s true in my house. As much as I love traditional sweet waffles (served with a dusting of powdered sugar and berries, or a drizzle of warm maple butter), my appreciation for savory waffles has grown over the years. Sometimes, I feel that the beauty of a good waffle batter can be overshadowed by all of the sweetness. With a savory batter, the texture and flavor of the waffle is at the forefront. A few years ago when savory waffles started making the rounds in the various food magazines, I began experimenting with dialing down the sugar in my batter and mixing in add-ins like fresh herbs, crumbled bacon, and as in this recipe, cheese and scallions. Light and crisp, with a lightly-malted flavor from the beer, a hint of onion, and creamy cheddar melted throughout, these waffles are a delicious and different way to utilize your iron at the breakfast table and beyond.
Why beer-raised waffles, you might ask? Using beer in waffle batter gives them a great lift with a hint of the yeasted flavor that’s so lovely in overnight raised waffles, without the forethought. This is a “mix-and-go-when-you-want-them” kind of recipe. I should note that the type of beer used in this recipe is important to your finished flavor profile. Personally, I don’t like a strong flavor of hops in this recipe; I find that the bitterness takes over the batter and the cheddar flavor is lost. I’ve been making these waffles with Heineken to rave reviews (which, incidentally, is my beer of choice for battering fish; used in these types of recipes, it’s mild without tasting watery). By the same token, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a “beer-lightweight”. If you’re someone who appreciates a stronger beer flavor, by all means, experiment with different brews! As with most recipes, it’s totally adaptable to your personal preferences.
As I was developing this recipe, I tried using both a classic (thin) iron and Belgian waffle maker. My taste testers and I have continually gravitated toward the Belgian-style waffles. I find that with the addition of the cheddar cheese to this recipe, the deeper nooks of the Belgian waffle maker produce a creamier interior that brings out the flavor a bit better. That being said, there have never been any leftovers in either stack (Classic or Belgian-style) when I’ve made these, so whatever type of iron you use at home, “waffle away,” I say!
As with most (if not all) homemade waffles, these are best served immediately upon baking. The longer they sit after they come off of the iron, the more they’ll lose their crispy exteriors. A quick trip back to the waffle iron, or a toaster oven, revives them nicely. I like to serve savory waffles for breakfast or brunch with nothing more than a buttery fried egg on top, allowing the warm yolk to drip into the crisp nooks—heavenly! Beer Raised Waffles with Cheddar and Scallions are also delicious served alongside a bowl of chili, or as an accompaniment to fried chicken. Needless to say, your maple syrup bottle is going to be jealous!
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- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup milk
- 12 ounces mild beer**
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
- 1/4 cup thinly-sliced scallions
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add lightly-beaten egg yolks, milk, melted butter, and beer, whisking until combined (batter will remain just slightly lumpy). Stir in cheddar and scallions.
- In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until they hold stiff, but not dry, peaks. Fold egg whites into the waffle batter just until streaks disappear. Let batter stand while waffle iron heats.
- Heat waffle iron and grease according to your manufacturer's instructions. Cook waffles until golden brown and crisp on the mid-range browning setting (adjust to your specific unit's specifications). Serve immediately.***
**I prefer a mild beer in this recipe so that the bitterness of the hops doesn't overpower the flavor of the cheddar and scallions. I use Heineken with good results.
***For best texture, finished waffles can be held in a 250 degree F oven on a wire rack-lined baking sheet before serving, while the remaining waffles are being baked on the iron.