Homemade waffles became popular when Belgian waffles were debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. Cast iron waffle makers made it easy to create a delicious made from scratch waffle in the comfort of your own kitchen. Electric waffle makers were introduced and today enjoy immense popularity as a kitchen appliance. The newer non-stick cooking surfaces make preparation and cleanup a breeze.
Waffles are a breakfast mainstay, but are enjoyed at lunch and dinner as well. Creative chefs are creating new dishes using the waffle shape and preparation technique as a foundation to invent delicious new entrees. Simple savory takes on the breakfast treat include adding vegetables, cheese, or herbs to the waffle batter; or topping prepared waffles with meats, seafood, and stews.
The dessert waffle is very popular. Special shapes and smaller waffles are ways to create smaller more intimate sweet treats. The fluffy hotcakes can be topped with an endless array of delicious sweet sauces and toppings. Strawberries and whipped cream are a favorite and reminiscent of strawberry shortcake. Cocoa powder can be incorporated into the batter to create chocolate waffles. Top with banana slices and melted chocolate for a decadent kid-friendly dessert offering. They can be topped with your favorite ice cream and drizzled with strawberry pie filling, hot fudge, or caramel sauce.
There are thousands of waffle recipes. The best recipes for you are the ones that work best with your waffle maker, fit within your budget, that fit your health requirements, and that please your taste buds.
As with most recipes, fresh high-quality ingredients are usually the best choice. Waffles offer you the opportunity to prepare something healthy and delicious. You can take advantage of fresh, in season fruit for toppings and create holiday and seasonal themed waffle dishes.
Today’s waffles can be much more than all-purpose flour or buttermilk cakes. They can be complex concoctions that showcase cornmeal, multigrain, or whole grain ingredients. Adding nuts, dried fruit, granola, coconut, and other goodies to the final product make them even more uniquely your own recipe and reflecting your diet and tastes.
Preparing Perfect Waffles
Perfect waffles come with practice. You’ll need to get used to using your waffle maker. Once you find some basic recipes that please your taste buds and work well in your waffle maker, you can try new recipes and alter the ones you’ve perfected to create new variations.
The ideal waffle is different to everyone. It’s about personal preference. You need to understand your ingredients and their function in the recipe, the type of ingredients you use such as whole wheat flour vs. all-purpose flour, and the taste and texture you desire.
Waffles usually have a light, fluffy center. They are browned on the outside and have a light crunch when bitten. To achieve the fluffy interior, many recipes incorporate beaten egg whites carefully folded into the batter. The egg whites help with lift, and keep the batter light and airy. The result is a tender, fluffy interior.
It pays to try different recipes and find several basic styles that work well for you and with your equipment. Once you have a few solid recipes, try altering them with add-ins like blueberries or walnut pieces to ensure waffles that meet your satisfaction.
Once you have prepared your waffles, you can keep them warm by placing them in a single layer on baking sheets in a preheated 200 F. oven. You can also prepare waffles, cool them, place them in freezer safe bags or Tupperware and freeze for use another day. Simply pop frozen waffles into the toaster to reheat and serve.
Waffle Making Tips and Techniques
These are some general guidelines. How you prepare your waffles will largely depend on recipe instructions, experience, and equipment on hand.
Read Your Recipe
Make sure you have a clear understanding of each step in the recipe, the ingredients required, and any special ingredients, techniques, or equipment that will be necessary.
Prep Your Ingredients
When you are ready to make waffles, make sure you have everything you need on hand, and gather all your ingredients.
Preheat the Waffle Maker
Always preheat your waffle maker before adding batter. Follow the instructions that came with your waffle maker and preheat until hot.
Mix the Dry Ingredients
Measure out the dry ingredients using flat topped measuring cups and spoons. Use the back edge of a knife or other flat utensil to scrape across the top of the measuring device to ensure accuracy. Add measured dry ingredients to a large bowl.
Separate the Eggs
Many waffle recipes call for the egg yolks and egg whites to be added to the recipe separately, and in some cases for the addition of only egg whites. The egg whites are generally beaten with a whisk until stiff before being carefully folded into the batter just prior to adding batter to the hot waffle maker.
Mix the Wet Ingredients
Add the wet ingredients to a small bowl. In some recipes, special steps such as beating the eggs or egg yolks will need to be performed prior to combining all the wet ingredients. Give the wet ingredients a light mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon or spatula. Pour the wet ingredients into the well. Carefully mix the wet and dry ingredients. Mix only until combined. You do not want to over mix the batter. There will likely be small lumps in your batter when wet and dry are properly combined.
Fold in Any Additional Ingredients
With your batter prepared, you can carefully fold in any fruit, nuts, or other ingredients that have not already been incorporated into the batter. Finally, if your recipe calls for folding in egg whites, this is the time to do it.
Add Batter to Your Waffle Maker
Depending on the waffle maker, you may need to prepare the surface for batter. Consult your instruction manual, or consider the surface material of your waffle maker. In general, when the waffle maker is hot, you brush the surface with melted butter or oil using a silicon or pastry brush, or coat the surface with a vegetable oil spray.
Waffles vary in thickness and the capacity of one waffle maker to the next can differ greatly. Your instruction manual may give you some guidance here, but a good rule of thumb is to fill the waffle maker to about an inch and a half away from the edges and close the lid. Prepare your first batch of waffles and note a couple things. First, the thickness of your batter. Second, did the cooked waffles reach the edges when the lid was closed and the batter was pressed outward. In subsequent batches, you’ll be able to make perfect waffles based on your initial observations, and get an idea of exactly how much of the batter you use each time.
Special Ingredients and Equipment
Freshness counts in waffle making. Flour, baking powder, eggs, etc. all produce better end products when fresh and high-quality. Most waffle recipes can be made with ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator. When you go beyond basic recipes, you may need to go shopping.
You will need a waffle maker. You may need a set of bowls for mixing, a set of flat topped measuring cups for measuring, a whisk for beating egg whites until stiff, a large rubber spatula for folding ingredients together, and a brush that won’t melt for preparing the surface for cooking waffles that don’t stick to the waffle maker.
Waffle Ideas for Sunday Brunch
Waffles make a great addition to any breakfast or brunch. Kids and adults love them. They can be prepared decadently, throwing caution to the wind, or by using the healthiest of ingredients to achieve diet goals. They are tasty and can be prepared well in advance to save precious time when preparing other dishes, or just hurried. They can be both a sweet entrée and a savory one. Their versatility and the challenge to create perfect waffles and waffle dishes makes them a winner for new and experienced cooks alike.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Preheat and prepare waffle maker for use according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Sift all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and fine sea salt together in large mixing bowl.
- In medium bowl, whisk egg yolks for about 30 seconds. Stir in buttermilk and melted butter. Whisk briefly to combine.
- Add egg whites to medium mixing bowl. Beat egg whites with hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Add egg yolk mixture to flour mixture. Fold in with large spatula, until just combine. Batter may still be lumpy. Do not over mix.
- Fold beaten egg whites into waffle batter gently. Do not over mix.
- Prepare waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed, divided
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- Thaw blueberries if frozen. Remove stems and any badly bruised blueberries if fresh.
- Combine 1-1/2 cups blueberries, light brown sugar, fresh lemon juice, finely grated fresh lemon zest, and fine sea salt in medium saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, additional 10 minutes or until berries are very soft and liquid thickens.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in remaining blueberries. Crush some of the blueberries with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Serve warm over hot waffles.