So, it was my birthday, and I had planned to make my favorite breakfast, yeasted waffles, and serve them up to Aviva and Reeb. I mixed up the batter the night before, so the yeast would have time to do its magic….
Then a wild windstorm came up in the night, with fierce gusts that shook the windows…. and the power went out.
There was still no electricity in the morning as I looked sadly at my waffle iron, wondering what I would do.
Fortunately, Reeb’s house still had power, so she suggested I come on over and make the waffles there. I packed up my waffle iron, the big bowl of batter, some blackberries I’d defrosted, and some maple syrup, and headed over to Reeb’s.
I fired up the waffle iron, added a couple of fresh eggs (from Reeb’s chickens) to the batter, and made some nice crispy waffles, while Reeb made us all some delicious coffee with steamed milk.
And so we spent a sweetly nostalgic and delicious morning cooking and eating waffles, drinking coffee and talking around the kitchen, all warm and cozy on a grey and blustery November day. What could be better?
Now, as to those waffles:
I got my recipe from Marion Cunningham’s “Good Eating,” (which has two of her books, “The Breakfast Book” and “The Supper Book”).
And she got the recipe from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook (originally published in 1896) when she updated it in 1979. It is truly an American classic. As is she. Here’s a tribute to Marion Cunningham by David Lebovitz (which includes a tribute to the raised waffles as well).
Of course, as with any recipe, you can mess with it, and I did a little, using whole wheat pastry flour rather than white flour, adding a tablespoon of whole flax seeds, and reducing the butter (I used 1/4 cup of butter plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil in this batch, and I have used less butter than that with success as well).
Once I made waffles using all spelt flour for my friend Nia, since she can’t handle wheat too well — and those turned out great too. Another variation on the raised waffle recipe is on this Crispy Waffle blog, devoted (mostly) to that fabulous food.
Well, my birthday waffles were just the way I love ’em: tender on the inside and crispy on the inside. Make these and you may never order waffles in a restaurant again.
Marion Cunningham’s Raised Waffles
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 package dried yeast
- 2 cups warm milk
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Use a rather large mixing bowl–the batter will rise to double its original volume. Put the water in the mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes.
Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour to the yeast mixture and beat until smooth and blended. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the eggs, add the baking soda , and stir until well mixed. The batter will be very thin. Pour about 1/2-3/4 cup batter into a very hot waffle iron. Bake until golden and crisp. This batter will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
Postscript: After eating several of these waffles, we did not, needless to say, feel the need for lunch, but when Aviva and I got home, the power was back on, and much later in the evening, we made a small gingerbread-upside-down cake with caramelized pears (and baked it in a cast iron skillet).
It was so pretty that I had to post a photo of it here.
Luckily, it was out of the oven before the power went out again! No problem–candlelight is fine for eating….