After the Easter egg hunt is over and the Easter baskets are torn apart, gather your family for brunch. Sweet sugar or classic Belgian waffles are quick and simple brunch items that turn deliciously interactive when you let the kids choose their own sweet or savory toppings.
The most important factor in making waffles is the waffle maker. There are two types of waffle makers: the home model, which makes good, quick, simple waffles; or the restaurant -style waffle maker, which makes fluffy, thick waffles that require a little more time to prepare. Both make delicious Belgian or sweet waffles. Two top-of-the-line waffle makers are the Krups Waffle Chef ($49.99) or the Waring Belgian Waffle Maker ($79.95).
Be prepared when that waffle craving strikes and keep a few staple ingredients in your kitchen (you probably already have most of them). The following nine ingredients will make just about any type of waffle, from the most basic recipe to specialty variations:
- All-purpose flour (white or whole wheat)
- Baking powder
- Syrup (Try homemade fruit syrups for a real treat)
The garnishes are perhaps the best part. Go classic with butter and syrup orgo crazy with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Be creative with your toppings: Almost any sweet or savory ingredient works. A healthy option is fresh fruit with powdered sugar. A savory option is crisp bacon, fried eggs and hollandaise sauce. Fruit jams and syrups are good garnishes, too. Set up a buffet-style toppings bar so your guests can dish up their own unique waffles.
PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIXES
Have a quality pancake or waffle mix on hand for those mornings you want a quick fix or when an unexpected breakfast or brunch guest shows up. Some breakfast-worthy mixes are available at gourmet markets and grocery stores; test a variety to find your favorite.
You can also order specialty mixes online. Stonewall Kitchen makes a variety of pancake and waffle mixes as well as flavored syrups and jams. The Barefoot Contessa (of The Food Network) also has a delicious mix that makes wonderfully fluffy waffles.
Homemade waffles are easy to make, and you can even make them ahead and freeze them for mornings when you need a quick fix. Here are a few recipes to satisfy your homemade waffle cravings.
Makes 4 waffles
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose white flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Salt to taste
2 cups water
1. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until frothy.
2. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the egg mixture and water. Use a wooden spoon to mix until a batter forms.
3. Let the batter rest for a few minutes while the waffle maker is heating up. Make sure the waffle maker is hot so waffles don’t stick.
4. Pour the batter into the waffle maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Bake until golden brown. Serve warm with desired toppings.
Makes 4 waffles
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 packet instant dried yeast
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
Salt to taste
2 sticks butter, melted
4 medium eggs, separated
1. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat 1 cup milk until it is lukewarm. Add yeast and let stand.
2. Combine flour, vanilla, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in melted butter, egg yolks and yeast mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir to combine.
3. Gradually pour in remaining milk, and continue to mix batter. Batter should be thick but pourable. Add more milk for a thinner waffle.
4. In a medium bowl, use a whisk to beat egg whites until fluffy. Using a spatula, fold egg whites into batter just until combined.
5. Let the batter rest for at least one hour or as long as overnight. Whisk and add more milk, if necessary, before cooking.
6. When ready to make waffles, heat and grease waffle maker. Bake waffles following the manufacturer’s instructions until they are golden brown. Serve warm with desired toppings.