Have you ever noticed how popular waffles are? Of course, we know they are a popular breakfast food in most regions of the country, but the South has taken them to a completely new dimension with Waffles and Fried Chicken. Our children play waffle ball and want frozen waffles for breakfast. We have waffle fries with our chicken sandwiches at lunch. We eat our ice cream in a waffle cone, and sometimes a waffle bowl. And we waffle in decision-making. America loves their waffles!
I am a fan of waffles, too. Big, fluffy Belgian waffles are my favorite: butter in every nook and cranny, dripping warm maple syrup (I am a bit of a purist). I have tried waffles and fried chicken and, even being from the South, I do not get the attraction. Nevertheless, even more important than how they are eaten, is how they are made.
I reached out to our ever-resourceful friends over at Cook's Country, and asked them about waffles. They were kind enough to share their recipe for perfect Light and Crispy Waffles and a recipe for delicious Butter Pecan Syrup. I tried the recipe: yum! They are light and crispy, and their tip for reheating frozen waffles made with the recipe is spot-on: I could not tell it had been frozen.
From Cook's Country, August/September 2006
Why This Recipe Works: Waffles should be crisp on the outside and light on the inside, but too many recipes produce soggy versions. In our Light and Crispy Waffles recipe, we replaced some flour with cornstarch and the butter with vegetable oil, which reduced the moisture in the batter and made for crispier waffles. We also found that an unexpected ingredient—Rice Krispies—gave our recipe an extra boost of crispiness and lightness.
All waffle irons are not created equal. If your first waffle comes off the iron too pale or too dark, adjust the heat as necessary. Make sure to fill the waffle iron as directed; if you don't use enough batter, the Rice Krispies can scorch. Serve with syrup.
1-1/4 cups (6-1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup Rice Krispies
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup (1-3/4ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Keeping Them Frozen: Like the convenience of frozen waffles but don't like their stale flavor? Our waffles freeze beautifully. After cooling the waffles, wrap each in plastic and then freeze in a zipper-lock bag for up to one month. To serve, place the waffles on a wire rack set on a baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven until crisp and hot, about 5 minutes. Makes 8 (7-inch) round waffles
From Cook's Country, August/September 2006
Why This Recipe Works: Maple syrup is a constant presence at the breakfast table, but we wanted a recipe that dressed it up a bit. For our Butter Pecan Syrup, we simmered maple syrup with butter and toasted pecans for rich taste. We then added a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla extract to heighten our syrup’s flavors.
It's hard to improve on maple syrup and a pat of butter atop steaming waffles or pancakes, but if you're looking to spice up your short stack, this variation is sure to please.
1-1/2 cups maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Simmer all ingredients in small saucepan over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Makes about 2 cups
We have a proven recipe for waffles and some delicious syrup. What about the waffle maker? I headed into the CHEFS test kitchen with 3 of CHEFS popular waffle makers: the Waring Pro Double Belgian Waffle Maker; the Chef'sChoice Classic Waffle Pro, 852; and the Cuisinart Griddler fitted with the Griddler Waffle Plates.
I put these waffle makers through their paces. And with the help of a few co-workers, we made 6 different waffle recipes: plain, with add-ins like meat and cheese, and a popular Pinterest version using cinnamon rolls. We made enough waffles to feed the entire office that day. Here are a few notes on our experience with the waffle makers.
A flip waffle maker that makes two delicious, Belgian waffles at the same time—just like the ones your find at your favorite breakfast spot. You can custom-select the precise browning level from six settings and enjoy the exact golden texture and desired crispness every time.
This little Chef'sChoice waffle maker is a champ! They are not kidding when they say you can have 2 waffles in 2 minutes—depending on how toasted you want them, of course. The latching lid came in handy with the cinnamon roll waffles that were thicker than plain batter.
The Cuisinart Griddler is already a versatile kitchen electric with 5-in-1 cooking functions: half griddle and grill, full open griddle, full open grill, contact grill, and panini press. Now, Cuisinart has added a 6th function: waffle maker!
If you have a Griddler, these waffle plates are a must-have accessory. If you are looking for a multipurpose kitchen electric that will do it all, or maybe a gift for a college grad or someone starting a new kitchen, the Griddler and Waffle Plates are perfect!
Need some different waffle recipes to celebrate International Waffle Day, March 25th? Here are the recipes we used in the test kitchen:
Your Turn: What's your favorite waffle combination?
Tips, recipes and images for Light Crispy Waffles and Butter Pecan Syrup courtesy of America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country. America’s Test Kitchen is filmed in a real, working test kitchen located just outside of Boston. It is the home of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, Cook's Country TV, and the Monday-to-Friday destination for more than three dozen test cooks, editors, food scientists, tasters, and cookware specialists. CHEFS Catalog is a proud sponsor of Cook's Country, a part of the America's Test Kitchen family. For more information about Cook's Country and America's Test Kitchen visit their website: www.americastestkitchen.com, www.cookscountry.com