Wish Upon A Dish: Buttermilk Waffles + how to make really good ones

January 16, 2011

Buttermilk Waffles + how to make really good ones

The Nudge has requested waffles for breakfast this morning.
Since he will be traveling for 2 days starting tomorrow, I like to give him a good home cooked meal before he goes. He really doesn't eat all that well on the road. They tend to stop at local places and he ends up with no vegetables and the usual hamburger. I understand that because you can rely on a burger to be a burger.

You need to understand that I have not had much success with waffles.
I bought a spanking new Belgium waffle maker last year and the first batch was perfect.

After that I could not make a good waffle. The first time I used an overnight yeast recipe and I stupidly threw the recipe away and can not for the life of me find it again.....sigh.

I have unsuccessfully tried 4 other recipes to failure so I have not been asked to make them again.

Away went the appliance and when The Nudge wants waffles, he gets them at the Diner on Saturdays.

For some reason he asked for waffles today, so I went on the Internet, yet once again, and since I had buttermilk I needed to use, I found this recipe for the BEST buttermilk waffles ever.

To me, waffles were supposed to be light, airy, and, most of all, crisp. But by the time they got to my plate, they were always damp and limp.

So what's so unique about this waffle recipe? At first glance, the ingredient list isn't all that unusual, but a closer look reveals a few twists. Cornstarch may look a little out of place in a waffle recipe, but its role is key. Coupled with flour, it's this ingredient that guarantees waffles that are crisp on the outside and tender yet toothsome on the inside.

This waffle batter starts with a traditional method—pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and then whisk until just combined.
But there's a surprising twist. Reserve the sugar to whip with the egg white separately to create ultralight waffles.

Some say it doesn't matter whether you separate the egg and whip the white before folding it into the waffle batter. I find, however, that waffles made with a whipped egg white are not only lighter and more airy, they're also taller and more tender. Plus, they brown better. Many waffle recipes contain sugar, but most include it with the dry ingredients. I find that beating it with the egg white accomplishes two things. First, it stabilizes the white, improving the batter's longevity. Second, the sugar softens the egg white, making it much easier to fold into the batter.

Unlike most waffle recipes that call for either milk or buttermilk, this recipe calls for both. Buttermilk waffles are more flavorful, but the batter is thick and the waffles less crisp. Waffles made with milk, on the other hand, are more crisp but less flavorful than buttermilk waffles. A combination of the two milks offers the best of both—milk for crisp texture, buttermilk for full flavor.

Vanilla extract, the last unusual ingredient, is my addition. The extract improves the flavor of the waffle so dramatically that I often eat my waffles plain—no butter or syrup.

Once the waffles are cooked, crisp them further in the oven. The last step I take to guarantee this waffle's crispness is a required rest directly on the rack of a 200°F oven for five minutes. This allows you to make all the waffles before serving, making it possible for everyone to eat at the same time. The low heat of the oven also beautifully reinforces the waffle's crispness. Don't stack the waffles or within seconds they'll turn moist and limp. But if you forget and accidentally stack them, don't worry. Separate them and arrange them in a single layer again. Almost as quickly as they got soggy, they'll crisp right back up.

This got a HUGE thumbs up from The Nudge.
He said (and I quote) "Yum, this is tasty and the texture is perfect".
"Does that mean I finally nailed it?"
"Yup, you can make these anytime".

The recipe as was made 2 cups of batter which was just enough for 2 8" waffles.
Depending on how much your kids can eat, you probably should double it.

What I liked about the texture was very crunchy on the outside but airy in the middle which did not sink to the bottom of my stomach.

Light, Crisp Waffles
makes 2 8" waffles
* 3/4 cup bleached all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/2 tsp. baking powder
* 1/4 tsp. baking soda
* 3/4 cup buttermilk
* 1/4 cup milk
* 6 Tbs. vegetable oil
* 1 large egg, separated
* 1 Tbs. sugar
* 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 200°F and heat the waffle iron. Mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Measure the buttermilk, milk, and vegetable oil in a Pyrex measuring cup; mix in the egg yolk and set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg white almost to soft peaks. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue to beat until the peaks are firm and glossy. Beat in the vanilla.

Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until just mixed. Drop the whipped egg white onto the batter in dollops and fold in with a spatula until just incorporated.

Pour the batter onto the hot waffle iron (mine takes about 2/3 cup) and cook until the waffle is crisp and nutty brown (follow the manufacturer's instructions for timing at first and then adjust to your liking). Set the waffle directly on the oven rack to keep it warm and crisp. Repeat with the remaining batter, holding the waffles in the oven (don't stack them). When all the waffles are cooked, serve immediately.

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