My childhood is fraught with memories of waking up on weekend mornings to the unmistakable aroma of waffles wafting up to my bedroom. The smell was incredible, managing to permeate the entire house before wandering up to my room and lingering there long enough for me to rub the sleep from my tired eyes and coax me out of my deep slumber. Inevitably, there would be a delicious treat to be found in the kitchen, along with a motley assortment of other breakfast items. Life is good when you can wake up to a plate of freshly made waffles. My mum would make her waffles on a traditional four-square waffle iron which was perfect for the little mouths she had to feed when we were growing up. I prefer a round Belgian rotary waffle iron which produces large, decadent waffles that bake up puffy and golden and beautiful. Whether you have a smaller traditional waffle iron or a large one such as mine, this recipe will always taste the same — buttery, gently sweetened and oh, so delicious!
I’ve used this round waffle iron for about 9 years now. My brother-in-law and sister gifted my first one to me years ago when they came to visit me from Michigan. They have a knack for giving the perfect gifts and, well, I suppose it didn’t hurt that I dropped the ‘hint’ that I wanted this by circling it on a store flyer and highlighting it in bright yellow marker with the words “I need this…now” 😉 The iron they gave me held me in good stead for about 6 years after which time the motor seemed to have burnt out, presumably after a marathon of waffle-making one morning for my husband’s huge (enormous, really) family right after our wedding where I made over 3 dozen waffles in one morning. I made the sad discovery a few weeks after that when my brother asked me to prepare buttermilk waffles and the iron would barely heat up to above body temperature, forcing me to use my batter to produce pancakes rather than the requested waffles. My handy husband attempted to take it apart and repair the motor, but, alas, it would have cost more time and money to repair it (with no guarantee of success) than to just purchase a new one. I snagged the one I’m using now on a trip to the Tangier Shopping Outlets in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at a steal of a price at $40. I managed to cajole my sister into getting one and, after some resistance, she too picked one up and, I’m happy to report that she has used it most every weekend since, to make waffles for her lovely family.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m gadget pusher of sorts. I will always try to cajole those around me to get themselves kitchen tools that not only lend efficiency to their kitchens, but also, enhance the experience of trying new foods in different mediums. Much like my plight to convert the masses to use pizza stones, I am employing the same rational persuasion to encourage you all to go out and get yourselves this waffle maker. It retails for around $60-$80 and is worth every penny. I’ve managed to convert a few friends and some of my sisters and my mission continues!
When you do get yourself one, for the love of God and all things sacred, resist the urge to give into passivity and use a boxed waffle mix. These irons were meant to be produce fresh home-made waffles using ingredients that don’t have an indeterminable shelf-life and leave an unsavoury after-taste. Get out the eggs, the buttermilk, and the flour and try these. You won’t be disappointed! If your arm still needs twisting, let me add that the dry ingredients can be mixed the night before and set aside. All you have to do the next morning is whip up the rest of the ingredients. In fact, I often mix the dry ingredients and put them in resealable zipper bags marked “Dry Waffle Mix” leaving me to just mix the rest of the ingredients when I’m ready to satisfy my craving for these fluffy and delicious waffles!
The greatest thing about these professional-grade waffle irons is the 180° rotary feature. Once the batter is poured onto the iron, you immediately swivel the iron on its head using the attached handle, allowing the batter to evenly coat both sides of the inside of the iron. The result is a perfectly round waffle with extra deep pockets. The rotary feature also ensures consistent baking and even browning.
Separating the eggs and whipping them independently is what really makes the difference between regular waffles and these light and airy waffles. The whipping of the eggs creates all sorts of lovely air pockets which boosts the height and texture of your waffles.
The egg whites should be whipped to stiff peaks. Transfer the whipped egg whites to a smaller bowl while you prepare the rest of the batter. You can use the same bowl (unwashed) to whip the yolks and the rest of the batter which means…less work! 😉
Gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter. There is no need to mix it vigorously — lumps in your waffle batter are a good thing! The mixture will be a bit thick but should still have some movement to it.
The coulis is essentially a thick sauce made of puréed fruit and is very simple to prepare. It cooks up in minutes while you prepare the waffles. It is bright with the flavour of fresh fruit and impossible to resist when drizzled over warm pancakes. The leftover coulis can be stored, covered, in the fridge for 2-3 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks.
A little bit of cornstarch is needed to thicken the sauce. It will continue to thicken as it cools so resist the temptation to add more cornstarch if the mixture still looks watery. Be sure to dilute the cornstarch with the water before you add it to the mixture. If you add the cornstarch directly to the fruit mixture, the cornstarch will clump up and become gummy.
If you’re serving these waffles for brunch, you’ll want the extra decadence that powdered sugar provides. Dusting the plate with powdered sugar with a light hand adds a beautiful, ‘waffle-house’ finished touch. If you’re a fan of cinnamon, add a half teaspoon to the powdered sugar to make a cinnamon sugar mixture.
2 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 ½ cups buttermilk
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons (30 ml) butter, melted (for brushing the waffle iron)
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream (whipping cream with 35% M.F.)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
icing sugar, for garnish
Prepare the waffles: Preheat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s directions. In a medium sized-bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the whipped egg whites from the mixing bowl to a smaller bowl. Set aside. In the same large mixing bowl, whip the egg yolks with sugar until pale. Add the buttermilk.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour and combine gently using a wooden spoon. Mix in the melted butter and set aside. The mixture will be thick. Add the egg whites to the batter and gently fold them in being careful not to over-mix. The batter will appear a bit thick and have many little lumps. Using a pastry brush, brush the waffle iron with the melted butter. Place a half cup or so of batter on the waffle iron. (You can use the measuring cup supplied by the manufacturer of the waffle iron for more accuracy.) Use the base of the measuring cup to spread the batter around the waffle mold, ensuring that there are no holes and that the batter is pushed gently to the edges. Do not overfill or the batter will leak out and run over the sides. Cook the waffle according to the manufacturer’s directions. Continue making the rest of the waffles. The waffles can be kept warm in an oven set to 200°F (93°C) until ready to serve.
Prepare the fruit coulis: In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine blueberries, raspberries and strawberries with water and sugar. Allow to boil for 5-8 minutes until the fruits are soft. Using a potato masher, mash the fruits until the juice is extracted and they are completely pulverized. Strain the mixture into a small bowl. Transfer the liquid back into the pot, discarding the skins of the fruit. The mixture should be a deep red colour and free of small bits of fruit. Combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl to make a paste. Add the mixture (making sure there are no lumps of cornstarch in it) to the fruit liquid. Let the mixture continue to boil and thicken, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when the desired consistency is reached. The mixture will thicken further as it cools. Set aside.
Prepare the whipped topping: In a clean mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, add the whipping cream and whip. Gently add the sugar as the mixer is running. Allow the mixture to whip up to stiff peaks. Add the vanilla. Keep the mixture refrigerated until ready to use.
Assemble the waffles: Place a warm waffle on a plate. Top with fresh coulis and a dollop of whipped cream. Dust the plate with icing sugar before serving.