Here Endeth the Quest

What you see here may not look like much, but it is the best waffle I’ve ever made, pitiful home waffle iron be damned. I’ve been trying waffle recipes for years trying to find a gold-standard recipe, one that makes perfect waffles every time: light and sweet, but still crisp, and sturdy enough not to tear coming off the iron or during the application of butter. You can see a few of my attempts here, here, and here, but I have tried several others over the past year that didn’t make the blog: to name a few, the Old Fashioned Buttermilk Waffles from the Macrina Bakery Cookbook (rejected almost out of hand by Jeremy because they contained both semolina flour and cornmeal, and I wasn’t impressed by the texture or flavor either), the Teff Waffles from The Splendid Grain (alright, but didn’t live up to the effusive praise in the cookbook’s description), and the Banana-Cinnamon Waffles from Cooking Light May 2005 (these we’ve made several times when I have extra bananas, but they don’t have that classic waffle flavor).

Well, my waffle quest comes to an end here. Carrie Levin’s Belgian waffles are everything I want in a waffle, and I’ve already made them twice this month, so I know the first batch wasn’t a fluke. But then, Carrie grew up in Belgium, and her restaurant, Good Enough to Eat, was Jeremy’s favorite breakfast place in NYC, so I guess she knows her waffles. Of course, this won’t stop me from trying out new waffle recipes whenever they pique my interest, but it’s still good to have a reliable one to turn to. 🙂

Belgian Waffles

1 1/2 C AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp plus 2 T sugar
1 1/2 C milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites
6 T butter, melted

Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 tsp of sugar in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat together the milk, vanilla and egg yolks, then pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir together with a fork until just blended. Cut in the melted butter.

Preheat the waffle iron. Meanwhile, in a third bowl, whisk together the egg whites with the 2 T of sugar until they form soft peaks. Stir a heaping tablespoon of these through the batter with a fork to lighten it, then dump all of the rest onto the batter and use a spatula and a figure-8 motion to fold them in gently. Try to mix the whites in thoroughly without deflating the batter. Now make waffles as you normally would in your iron. (I use canola oil spray on the hot iron and scoop out the batter in heaping half-cup portions, which fits my iron just about right without much spillage.) Carrie recommends serving with powdered sugar, fresh berries and a dollop of creme fraiche; they’re also good with butter and real maple syrup. This recipe makes about 6 waffles in my iron, and you can freeze leftovers to reheat in your toaster.

Source: The Good Enough to Eat Breakfast Cookbook, by Carrie Levin (p. 58-59).

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