Food Scoop: Special Occasion Waffles

Special Occasion Waffle

This morning, I woke up with the desire to make waffles. I didn’t have anywhere to be in the early hours, and it was snowing hard enough that leaving the house was an iffy proposition. This kind of morning calls for a decadent, toasty-warm breakfast.

I had a boyfriend several years ago who gave me a waffle iron for Christmas. It was an accurate but misguided attempt at a gift that would make me happy. The thing about being given any useful gift is that I often feel like I have to jump up and put it to use. In any case, the waffle iron has long outlasted the boyfriend.

Over the years, I’ve debated whether having a waffle iron is actually handy. It makes Belgian waffles, with deep grooves that are difficult to clean. It takes up space in my kitchen, where there’s not always enough space for all of our gadgets. I live with a coffee drinker and a tea drinker, both of whom insist on a pot being on hand every day. We have a large oven roaster that consumes an entire counter. Add to that the usual toaster, dish drainer and microwave, and we have very little space for gadgetry that is only used once in a blue moon. But I always come to the conclusion that waffles are much too delicious to get rid of my waffle maker.

While I make rarely waffles, I always adore the results. Light and mildly sweet, they strike a balance between a crisp outer layer and soft, delicious insides. Unlike pre-made waffles, which I have always found to be somewhat floppy, this recipe makes waffles that hold their shape well even when each little square is filled with syrup.

I always screw up the first waffle. Even when experience tells me that about a half-cup of batter will fill the machine, I still overdo it. I watch the way the batter slowly fills up the indents of the waffle iron and think it can’t possibly be enough. Three minutes later, when the batter is dripping down the sides, I find out I’m wrong. This happens to me every single time, unless I remember to do a thin outer ring of batter before pouring the rest in the center.

This particular recipe rises very nicely. I suspect this is due to the half hour the batter rests before pouring it. This gives the baking powder and baking soda enough time to start producing bubbles before the heat of the iron puts a stop to that. The downside is that these waffles really are meant for leisurely mornings. Otherwise, there’s simply not enough time to make them without getting up an extra hour early.

When I do have an open morning, like today, sometimes waffles are just the thing. They’re hot, which is nice since it’s freezing outside. Since I make them so rarely, they also make any day feel like a special occasion.

Special Occasion Waffles
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

This recipe requires a waffle iron. If you don’t have one, you might have luck checking at thrift stores or places that sell kitchenware.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the cornstarch and sugar. Cornstarch is what gives this recipe its crisp outer crust, and it’s a wonderful thing.

Mix together the wet ingredients: milk, plain yogurt, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla. Plain yogurt could be substituted with buttermilk, but I tend to be more likely to have yogurt on hand. In a pinch, I think vanilla yogurt would do, but the tang in plain yogurt works well with the flavor of waffles.

Stir together the wet and dry ingredients. Once they are mixed, set aside and let it rest for about half an hour. This will give your waffles light, fluffy insides.

Make in a waffle iron according to the directions of the waffle iron manufacturer.

Enjoy covered in butter, syrup, whipped cream, berries, powdered sugar or whatever suits your fancy.

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