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Cooking

Batter up

Three variations on a breakfast classic.

By Adam Ried
March 20, 2011

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Not to draw a line in the sand here, but I’d take waffles over pancakes every time. I love how the browned, delicately crisp exterior gives way to a tender, practically creamy interior. And the pockets in the waffle pattern are custom-made for pooling syrup and melted butter.

A couple of tips: First, to make absolutely certain that your waffles don’t stick to the iron, even if it has a nonstick finish, give the iron a quick shot of cooking spray when you begin and then again after every couple of waffles. Second, batters differ in consistency; when you pour a thin batter, such as that for the yeasted waffles, onto the iron, it will spread across the surface. But thicker batters, such as those for the oatmeal or gingerbread waffles, require a little help – you can use the back of your ladle. Third, an easy enhancement to any of the waffles here is to sprinkle a tablespoon of chopped toasted pecans (or crumbled cooked bacon – or both) over the batter before closing the waffle iron.
Oatmeal waffles

Makes about 6 7-inch waffles

Old-fashioned rolled oats, thick-cut if you can get them, are best for these waffles. To intensify the flavor of the oats before cooking them, try toasting them for about 5 minutes in a large dry skillet over medium heat.

¾ cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt

2 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons packed

light brown sugar

1 cup milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 cups cooked oatmeal, cooled

Cooking spray, for the pan

Heat a waffle iron. If you wish to serve all the waffles at once, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Set a wire rack on a large, rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon salt, and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until frothy. Adjust the speed to high and continue to beat until whites are thick, glossy, and hold soft peaks, about 45 seconds, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar and milk to dissolve the sugar. Add the egg yolks and melted butter and whisk to combine well. Add the oatmeal and whisk to combine well. Add the dry ingredients and, using a large flexible spatula, fold to combine (batter will be lumpy; do not overmix). With the spatula, gently fold in the egg whites to incorporate (a few white streaks can remain).

Spray the waffle iron lightly with cooking spray and make waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions (use about ½ cup batter for a 7-inch round iron), spraying again after every couple of waffles. Serve at once as they’re done, or transfer them to the wire rack in the warm oven and hold for up to 15 minutes before serving.
Gingerbread waffles

Makes about 12 7-inch waffles

2 cups flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon dry mustard powder

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Salt

4 eggs, separated

1 cup milk

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup sour cream

3 tablespoons molasses

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Cooking spray, for the pan

Heat a waffle iron. If you wish to serve all the waffles at once, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Set a wire rack on a large, rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, mustard powder, nutmeg, cloves, and ½ teaspoon salt, and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until frothy. Adjust the speed to high and continue to beat until whites are thick, glossy, and hold soft peaks, about 45 seconds; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the milk and brown sugar to dissolve the sugar. Add the sour cream, molasses, vanilla, melted butter, and egg yolks; whisk to combine well. Add the dry ingredients and whisk just to combine (do not overmix). With a large flexible spatula, gently fold in the egg whites to incorporate (a few white streaks can remain).

Spray the waffle iron lightly with cooking spray and make waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions (use about ½ cup batter for a 7-inch round iron), spraying again after every couple of waffles. Serve at once as they’re done, or transfer them to the wire rack in the warm oven and hold for up to 15 minutes before serving.
Light and crisp yeasted waffles

Makes about 8 7-inch waffles

The warm milk and melted butter mixture should be just barely warm to the touch, about body temperature – any hotter and it could kill the yeast. For a complex, super-yeasty flavor, leave the batter at room temperature overnight instead of in the refrigerator.

2 cups milk, warmed (not hot)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1½ teaspoons active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

Salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Cooking spray, for the pan

In a very large bowl, whisk the milk and melted butter to blend, and cool if necessary until just barely warm to the touch. Add the yeast and sugar, whisk to combine, and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the flour and ¾ teaspoon salt, and whisk to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 48 hours.

Heat a waffle iron. If you wish to serve all the waffles at once, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Set a wire rack on a large, rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven.

Add the eggs to the batter and whisk to combine (the batter will deflate). Spray the waffle iron lightly with cooking spray and make waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions (use about ½ cup batter for a 7-inch round iron), spraying again after every couple of waffles. Serve at once as they’re done, or transfer them to the wire rack in the warm oven and hold for up to 15 minutes before serving.

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at cooking@globe.com.

  • March 20, 2011 cover
  • March 20 cover
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KITCHEN AIDE
Chicken and waffles

The combination of fried chicken and waffles is a soul food classic. Restaurants all over the country specialize in it, including a small Georgia chain co-owned by the singer Gladys Knight, and more recently Boston’s own The Hen House Wings ’n Waffles (1033 Massachusetts Avenue, 617-442-9464, http://www.thehenhouseboston.com). Co-owner Jon Mendez (with Eric Papachristos and George Athanasoupolous) believes that chicken and waffles originated in the South but took hold in Harlem during the 1930s as a late-night meal for hungry jazz club musicians and patrons. Mendez notes that chicken and waffles satisfies the wee-hours cravings of those who want dinner food and those who demand breakfast food by providing a bit of each on the same plate.