Waffles

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Waffles with Salted Caramel Sauce 5

I have to admit that I haven’t really been into waffles until quite recently. As a child growing up in Australia, my memories of waffles were of those pre-made, pre-packaged ones sold in the bakery section of the supermarket. Not very enticing.

As I grew older and acquired more stamps in my passport, I recall visiting stands in Paris where they would make waffles fresh to order, your eyes looking on hungrily and your mouths salivating as you stand and take in the irresistible scent of the waffles cooking. In winter, you are likely to find similar stands in other European cities, including in Zurich, although I don’t think waffles are a big hit in Zurich compared to their grilled sausage stands.

On a trip to New York one year with my family, my brother and I had breakfast one morning at Le Pain Quotidien near Central Park. I was trying to be sensible and ordered a healthy breakfast of soft-boiled eggs with a bread basket (my usual choice for breakfast). My younger brother, who I think has a rather sweet tooth, ordered the sugared waffles with strawberries. As our dishes arrived, I experienced the too-frequent feeling of plate-envy – his waffles made my bread basket look like something boring, big sister would order. So naturally, we had to have breakfast there again the next day just so I could try the waffles. They were Belgian-style waffles, thick with a good crust and sweet from a generous dusting of icing sugar. I would rate them among the best waffles I have ever eaten.

On a recent trip to visit hubby’s family in France, my mother-in-law decided to make waffles for dessert after lunch one day. She made them to order in the kitchen while the rest of us sat impatiently at the dining table until she would appear with a freshly made waffle, one at a time. Although I felt bad that she was stuck in the kitchen making waffles while the rest of us were just sitting around like hungry birds, it was perhaps the first time that the thought crossed my mind that I could make waffles at home. And that waffles didn’t have to be a breakfast item, that they were quite fitting as a simple dessert.

In my hubby’s family, they like to eat their waffles with a generous dusting of icing sugar, courtesy of a fabulously retro orange icing sugar dispenser made by Tupperware. And I think waffles really are perfect with just icing sugar because the waffles remain hot and crisp, instead of going soggy if you were to add maple syrup or some other sauce.

But it wasn’t until our trip to Las Vegas this year, in particular several visits to Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, that waffle fever hit me. After the Roast Chicken with Bacon & Chive Waffles, I was intent on buying a waffle maker the moment I got home just so I could try to recreate the savoury waffles at home.

It was probably the thought that waffles could be both sweet or savoury that persuaded me to think that a waffle maker could be a good investment after all. Up until that moment, I had shied away from purchasing any electrical appliances; our kitchen in Zurich is so tiny that our basement serves as an extension of our kitchen, storing most of the bulky and not-so-frequently-used items. Oh I hear hubby saying something … Ok … our kitchen is tiny because I have acquired so much kitchenware over the last 5 years that every nook and cranny is filled and even most of the wall space has been taken over by shelves to store various kitchenalia acquired over the years. We can discuss that another time …

So it was (sort of) by chance that I found myself in Fust, an electrical store in Zurich, where I saw a cute heart-shaped waffle maker on sale for CHF 29.95. I instantly grabbed it and headed straight for the cashier, grinning at having found such a bargain (at least in Switzerland). But, of course, all impulse purchases come with feelings of regret the moment you get home. Had I properly researched waffle makers on the market? No. Did I consider non-stick vs cast-iron waffle makers? No. Had I considered a Belgian waffle maker vs other waffle makers? No. After some umming and aaahing about whether to return the heart-shaped waffle maker, I decided to keep it, not least to see how often I would make waffles in order to justify a more fancy version.

Note: If you are serving waffles to guys (such as my husband), heart-shaped waffles might seem a bit dinky and they will probably look at you like, “Why couldn’t you buy a normal waffle maker?”

The first recipe I tried for waffles came from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking, which incidentally is the same recipe from her book, Bake.

It is a wonderfully simple recipe and produces such great waffles that I haven’t felt the need to try any other recipe yet. You will need to learn the settings on your waffle maker in order to make waffles to your preference, whether lightly golden or to cook them for longer to produce something more crispy. I like them served warm with a dusting of icing sugar and perhaps some strawberries on the side, but you can make all of the waffles at once and eat them cold later, such as at breakfast the next day.

14 Comments

  1. Julia Levy 8 August 2011

    LOL i remember kicking off the waffle fever with my happy purchase and not long after you got yours :o) My friend also got the same maker as me and in her house it’s known as teh fourth emergency services. There’s nothing like sweet soft fresh waffles, fresh strawberries and a little syrup. Heaven and holiday on a plate.

    I also use a pumpkin recipe that makes lovely waffles. Thanks for reminding me that it’s a while since I made some. Now is it too late for dessert…..

    Reply
    • eat little bird 8 August 2011

      Oh I remember you talking about the pumpkin waffles or the “pumcakes”! Is that a variation of Nigella’s recipe? That sounds really delicious, especially with autumn around the corner. I’ve been thinking that I need to branch out a bit more and try different waffle recipes, especially savoury recipes. Thanks for the inspiration! P.S. When is it ever too late for dessert??? 😉

      Reply
      • Julia Levy 8 August 2011

        ha ha ha, mmmm dessert

        Yes i used the ‘pumcake’ recipe for waffles. I also use a lot of cinammon and nutmeg in mine, so autumy. Cinammon waffles with caramelised apples on top, yum.

        Reply
        • eat little bird 9 August 2011

          Aaahhh Julia … now I want dessert!! 😉 I will definitely try the pumcakes once pumpkins are in season again. Can’t wait!

          Reply
  2. shaday 15 August 2011

    Your waffels look delicious! <3 Btw. I have the same waffle iron.

    Reply
  3. thepatternedplate 28 August 2011

    Oh I am so trying to source a waffle maker here that doesn’t cost the same as All-Clad pans!!!! When I do , oh I am so making these Thanh!!! :-)) There is such a romantic look about these pictures! 😀

    Reply
  4. Coccarda 8 November 2011

    Ale śliczny kubeczek i gofry też ! Pozdrawiam 😉

    Reply
  5. […] The recipe for waffles can be found here at my earlier post on Waffles. […]

    Reply
  6. Emma 31 January 2012

    LOVE the waffle iron – the waffles are so pretty. Problem is that I have to start throwing things out to make room for anything new!! Would happily get rid of the dishwasher to make room for appliances like waffle irons, but I don’t think our ll would like that (only joking if you are reading this ll).

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 2 February 2012

      I know what you mean about making room for new things in the kitchen … except I don’t and our cellar is now an extension of the kitchen! Come to Zurich and I’ll make you some waffles 🙂

      Reply
  7. Tat 2 November 2012

    Your waffles remind me of the Norwegian waffles. They are always heart shaped and I also have an iron for it. If you want to try the Norwegian style of taste add half or one teaspoon of cardamom. They also use sour cream in some recipes and also add sour cream on top, or cheese. If you can get hold of a cheese called Gudbransdalost (I know long name) it is a caramelized goat cheese. Soooooo good. It is brown in colour and is also used to eat with waffles, or just strawberries and cream, nothing wrong with good old strawberries. Waffles are served often when visiting people and at every event. I know people who put the batter in an empty bottle and transport the iron to a school event etc and just pour the mix into the waffle iron when cooking them. I really like the way you lay with the different types of waffles, savory and sweet.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 November 2012

      I love the sound of adding ground cardamom to the batter – I will definitely try that next time, especially since I’ve gotten into the habit of adding ground cinnamon for something a bit warming and different at breakfast.

      And sour cream in the batter also sounds delicious … I’ve been making quite a few different savoury waffles recently and just love how versatile they are. Perhaps I am subconsciously trying to justify this kitchen appliance but I think it has gotten more use than I ever expected!

      It sounds like the Norwegians really embrace waffles in their food culture. Sounds like I place I ought to visit again!

      Reply
  8. Rushi 30 January 2013

    I finally got myself a waffle iron and it’s just like yours. I bought it on a whim too, no research whatsoever 🙂 I tried this recipe out and boy weren’t they great. I then drenched a few with honey and the rest with icing sugar. It’s the perfect breakfast treat. I’m wondering if I could turn these into chocolate ones. he he

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 30 January 2013

      Great to hear that you also have a heart-shaped waffle maker 🙂 I was worried that mine was an impulse purchase but I still love it. I think this is a great go-to waffle recipe and lends itself well to some playing around. Maybe add some chocolate-chips to the batter?? Yum!!

      Reply

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