I really, really, really wanted to make waffles for dinner last night. Like, real bad.
But since my waffle maker is a wedding present and it's bad form to use wedding gifts before the date...it's sadly sitting in a box in our spare bedroom, tempting me with its waffle-y goodness.
I almost decided on pancakes instead. And I know some of you are probably going to say "but...they taste almost exactly the same! What's the difference?" I can't really explain it to you. Maybe it has something to do with the little square indents on a waffle. Or maybe I just like saying waffle. But they're definitely in the running for favorite breakfast food, and they knock pancakes out of the park.
Turns out, my mom is a-ok with me using the waffle maker she got us. Her reasoning? "Well, if you break up, I'll let you keep it."
Uh, thanks, mom.
I cheated on the batter since I didn't want to take the time to bother with divide up my scratch-recipe into a smaller batch (who has time for proportions on a Thursday night after the gym? Not me, that's who). But what I am really proud of is my toppings: apple-cinnamon butter and a variation on a berry syrup that my family has been making for years. I think we got the recipe from a family friend when I was eight or so, so its safe to say this syrup has been around the block.
The apple-cinnamon butter was something I decided to do on a whim. Because I'm a nut. And I also didn't realize how making a small batch of apple butter so that we wouldn't be drowning in the stuff should it fail miserably...meant dividing up my planned recipe into a smaller batch.
I'm also not a man, but memes aren't always gender appropriate. Such is life.
Yes, that is an R2D2 mug in the background and yes, it does make noise when you take the top off.
The butter was actually really easy to make: boil the apples soft, toss them in a blender with butter and cinnamon, and pop back in the fridge until cool. Done deal.
And yes, that is a popsicle in with my berries. I didn't want to add a lot of extra sugar, and these fruit pops we got from Aldi are just sweet enough to not be cloying. Plus they have a good actual strawberry taste.
And I haven't been eating them.
Usually this syrup is made with a cup ++++ of sugar and while it's really good, I wanted to make a more adult version that didn't remind me so much of that IHOP blueberry goo. So after the popsicle had melted down I added a slurry of balsamic vinegar and cornstarch to help thicken the syrup up (since the sugar usually does that), going very sparingly on the balsamic-- I wanted the taste, but didn't want it to be overpowering.
I think over the course of the next forty minutes I added another three or four tablespoons, because the flavor wasn't bold enough for me. But the end result was a really good, adult-ified berry syrup.
Mr Stark left off the berry sauce and went straight for the apple butter. Unsurprising, since he tells me all the time that blueberries are like little alien eyeballs and strawberries are just-- ugh. Seeds.
He's weird, but I like him anyway.
And he likes what I make for him to eat, so I can't complain.
- 1/2 medium apple, peeled and cut to 1/2" chunks
- 1 stick salted butter, softened
- 1 T cinnamon
- 1 fruit popsicle (can be substituted for more fruit and 3/4 cup of water)
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup frozen strawberries
- 5 T balsamic vinegar, divided (add more to taste)
- 1 T cornstarch
- Rapidly boil the apples in about 2-3 inches of water for a few minutes, until they become soft. Drain and add to blender.
- Pulse with butter and cinnamon until the apples start to break down, then blend until smooth.
- Pour into a small glass dish and cool until hardened.
- Heat blueberries, strawberries, and popsicle over medium heat until the popsicle and strawberries have melted down.
- In a separate container, mix together the cornstarch and 1 T balsamic to make a slurry. Add to the syrup and mix well.
- Reduce heat and let simmer, adding more vinegar to taste. Serve warm.
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