Waffles have been a favorite breakfast food for many years but they did not really start out that way. The origin is from the Middle Ages where waffles were made by placing a combination of barley and oats between two metal plates of a wafer iron that were connected by a hinge and could be closed and opened by a wooden handle. Today’s Waffle Recipe adds leavening to make the waffle rise and become light and fluffy instead of flat and crispy as they were originally.
Many different countries have waffles as an entree or snack but they all seem to be a little different. American waffles use baking powder to make them rise and they are eaten primarily at breakfast. Pilgrims brought the recipe for Belgian waffles with them when they landed in 1620. This type of waffle is also referred to as Brussels waffles and they are taller and much bigger than American waffles. In their native country they are sold on the street by vendors who dust them with confection’s sugar and serve them as a snack with chocolate and whipped cream.
Another waffle coming from the eastern section of Belgium has a sweet, dense consistency and are called Leige Waffles. The inspiration for them was brioche and they are uniquely wonderful because when you bite into them they crunch. You then taste a sweet flavor because they are treated with pearl sugar before they are cooked and it caramelizes while it is in the iron. You can find these plain or with cinnamon on every street corner. In Hong Kong street vendors sell grid cakes. This is a four section waffle on which peanut butter and sugar has been spread. It is folded in half to eat. Waffles from the Dutch are unique as well because the cut the waffle the thin way in half and spread on brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and syrup then replace the other half like a sandwich. Heart shaped waffles are common in Scandinavia and are served with jam on top.
The batter for waffles is thicker than batter for pancakes and that is so it will stay in the iron while baking. One type of metal iron is made that closes down and is put over a fire or a stove burner to cook and there are the electric variety as well. Waffle irons come in several shapes from rectangular that make 2 divisions in the waffle to the round ones that make 4 sections. There are fancy irons that have different patterns or the ones that are deeper to make Belgium waffles. Waffles are good to serve for any meal or you can create some wonderful desserts out of them.
Buttermilk waffles are a favorite variety. You can make a batch by combining in a bowl 1 and two thirds cup flour, 1 and a half teaspoon baking powder, 1 half teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 fourth teaspoon salt. Combine in a different bowl four large eggs and 2 cups buttermilk and beat well. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir by hand. Take 2 whole sticks of butter and melt them in saucepan. Pour it over the batter. Mix well and take note that your batter is supposed to be lumpy. Use a waffle iron with its accompanying instructions to cook the waffle and serve it up while it is warm with syrup, jam and honey.
Belgium Waffle irons are a little bit different than regular ones in that the waffles produced are a little bit bigger and waffles can be made to be desserts instead of main dishes. Belgian recipes are a little more complicated but the waffles taste so good you won’t mind making them. To start cut off a large piece of waxed paper. Sift one and one fourth of a cup of cake flour, two teaspoons baking powder, one fourth cup sugar, and a shake of salt onto the wax paper. You will have to separate the yolks from whites of four eggs and put the yolks in a bowl. You will use the whites later so keep them. Add to the bowl a half cup of milk and one and one and a half teaspoons of vanilla and whisk until combined. Add one half of a cup of butter that has been melted. Take the ingredients on the waxed paper and gradually pour them into the bowl while mixing well. Take the whites of the egg and beat them until they are stiff but make sure they are not dry. Scoop them into the batter and fold them in. Bake in a waffle maker made for Belgian waffles and serve with confectioner’s sugar sprinkled over or you can put some chocolate chips and whipped cream on top. They are good with strawberries that have been sliced or different fruits served on top.
If you want something different and delicious try some Banana Nut Waffles. In a bowl combine one and three fourths cup flour, one tablespoon baking powder, one fourth teaspoon salt and one fourth cup of wheat germ. Separate two eggs and place the yolks in a small bowl and reserve the egg whites for later. Add to the yolks one fourth cup of oil and one and one half cup milk and beat well. Beat this into the flour mixture. Grind 1 cup of nuts or sunflower or pumpkin seeds and add to the batter. Mash one peeled ripe banana and add it to the bowl and also add three tablespoons of plain yogurt. Mix well. Beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the mixture. If the batter is too stiff you can add a little more milk. Bake in waffle iron and top with honey or syrup.
Waffles are definitely not the crisp small cracker they were in days gone by. Today they are main dishes served with jams, chocolate, and syrup. Look for a recipe that combines chicken with waffles for a main dish treat. Waffles are sold on the street just like the wafers were in the middle ages and they are included in many menus. They take a limited amount of time and effort to make and everyone loves waffles whether it is for a main dish or if it is for a dessert.
Recipe on Amazon:
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