The Waffle Obsession: Up with Raised Waffles!

As a culture we may be a bit preoccupied with waffles. And I’m thankful for it. Though I personally speak to the Canadian aspect where anything that acts as a vehicle for maple syrup is a thing worthy of obsession, I know our neighbours to the south also share our obsession.

Growing up it was never homemade waffles but from-frozen Eggos, waffle cones and special trips that included hotel breakfasts and diners where the waffles share little resemblance to a balanced breakfast, topped with billowing whipped cream, drenched in dessert sauce. Later, in University I discovered how well waffles worked in savory preparations. It was a valuable lesson in keeping an open mind to all things edible.

Waffle House

At the Starving Artist in Toronto, a restaurant with a waffle-heavy menu I had my first chicken and waffle BLT. That sandwich, which left my hands smelling like sweet waffles when I was finished, opened up the gateway to a waffle addiction that until then was completely under control. Waffles started replacing Sunday morning pancakes – the loud waffle iron alarm sounding off another batch of golden-crisp waffles became part of our breakfast soundtrack.

Waffle House

That is what brought me to this recipe. Making waffles at home creates a challenge not uncommon to most mass breakfast productions. By the time the last batch of waffles has sounded, the first batch, that’s been kept warm in the oven, has lost much of it’s crispness. This recipe for waffles produces what I expect to receive in a diner. A batter that’s old fashioned, tried and true. The recipe, which has been highly publicized around the Internet comes from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. The reason it works so well at home is because the batter cooks at a very high heat in the waffle iron, something many other batters can’t withstand, producing a waffle with a crispness that lasts until the last batch is finished.

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The flavour of this batter is also something special. Some batters taste as though they’re just pancakes that have been poured into a waffle iron. This one tastes faintly of yeast, which is what gives it that old fashioned charm. Though there’s not much to be improved upon in this recipe, I sometimes like to replace the sugar for maple sugar to give it a boost of maple flavour before I drench them in dark maple syrup.

Waffle House

Raised Waffles

Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham, Fannie Farmer Cookbook Corporation, Archibald Candy Corporation, and Lauren Jarrett

1 x 8g package active dry yeast
125ml lukewarm water
500ml lukewarm whole milk (3.25% M.F.)
90g salted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons maple sugar or granulated sugar
355g all-purpose unbleached flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

In a bowl large enough to hold everything double (these will rise), dissolve the yeast into the water. Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour and whisk together until evenly incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest overnight at room temperature.

The following morning whisk in the eggs and baking soda until thoroughly combined. Preheat your waffle iron to its hottest setting (temperatures will vary) and pour in the batter being careful not to overfill the iron. Cook until the waffles are golden brown. Serve as you like, but preferably with maple syrup and butter.


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Waffle House

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Start with the turkey. The rest will follow. Part 1.

Start with the turkey. The rest will follow. A menu for Christmas dinner practically writes itself with a little decision making to guide it through.

Christmas Dinner

The turkey, whether it’s fresh, frozen, brined, buttered, fried, stuffed, whole or dismembered is all dependent on your own expectations and whatever mood you’re in. To keep it simple – an ideal goal at Christmastime – let’s say it’s fresh, buttered, and stuffed. For flavourings, it’s got to have sage, so mix a bunch of freshly chopped sage with a celebratory amount of softened unsalted butter, shoving it between the flesh and the skin.

Christmas Dinner

For the stuffing, in the season of excess, why have one when you can have two? The one going inside the bird has got to be this one, that’s so east-coast Canadian it’s not even referred to as stuffing but as dressing and as such, is made up of potatoes. It’s as simple as making mashed potatoes but has the addition of some onion and the official herb of Nova Scotia, summer savory. The bread stuffing that I crave, with an extra dose of gravy over top is done as a side casserole.

Christmas Dinner

Summer Savory Potato Dressing

Makes enough to stuff a small turkey
Serves 8 as a side dish

1.145kg (approximately 5 medium) white potatoes, peeled
1/2 tsp kosher salt
70g unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, diced finely (approximately 150g)
2 tablespoons dried summer savory
100ml whole milk (3.5% M.F.)
2 teaspoons large flaked sea salt, such as Maldon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot add the potatoes and fill with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, add the kosher salt and turn the heat down. Simmer, partially covered until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the water off the potatoes, add the rest of the ingredients, and mash until resembling a relatively even texture. Allow to cool completely before stuffing the bird.

Christmas Dinner

Basting the beast need not be complicated either. Though turkeys are lean birds this one is so loaded with butter it won’t hurt missing an encounter with the brush here or there, leaving you to get in full cheer with your guests. When you do remember to baste it, I like mixing equal parts of maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan on the stove and brushing it over the bird in liberal amounts. The sugar and butter help the skin bronze beautifully and the sweet maple syrup will drip down over the obligatory parsnips roasting, tucked up alongside. Leave the bird to cook depending on a number of factors but try to think of it as a giant chicken, and just cook it until the juices run clear in the thigh. If you need precise timings, refer to any number of guides out there on the subject.

Christmas Dinner

The cranberry sauce does not come from a can. I understand some need it to but for shame if you’re in an area such as Canada that has access to good fresh and frozen cranberries that come directly from our friendly east-coast cousins. It’s hard to improve on the recipe on the side of the bag, which consists of adding water and sugar and simmering until the tart berries have just given up their shape. I don’t want my cranberry sauce tasting like oranges, anise, cinnamon or anything else. If you feel like some extra fussing in the kitchen, say to escape some drunken family member or cat obsessed aunt, add a grated apple which will provide a jellied texture to the sauce as well as some extra natural sweetness.

Christmas Dinner

Cranberry Sauce

340g bag whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
170g granulated sugar
1 small apple, peeled, cored and grated
125ml cold water

In a small saucepan add 230g of the cranberries, sugar, apple, and cold water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries have started to pop and collapse. Add the remaining 110g of cranberries and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the berries just begin to pop. Pour into a resealable glass jar and cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Gravy is gravy is gravy. Thicken the sweet pan juices with a slurry of white all purpose flour and cold water and season with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. If for whatever reason you haven’t much in the way of pan drippings add some turkey stock that you’ve made from simmering the neck on the stovetop with some aromatics, then add some wine (known as chef’s juice on Christmas) before going on to add the thickening slurry.

Christmas Dinner

Sides plus dessert coming up in two posts!