Crispy home­made waf­fles start day off right

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - ARTS & LIFE - JEANMARIE BROWNSON CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

What’s the best break­fast?

Waf­fles, we agree. Crispy, hot and slathered with fruity good­ness. A kitchen filled with sweet aro­mas.

Oh, and some mi­mosas — we are drink­ing more these days. We love a mi­mosa with fresh grape­fruit juice and sparkling rose wine, but or­ange juice works, too. Plenty of strong, black cof­fee for me.

We have one elec­tric waf­fle iron. (Does any­one have more?) I hover over it as the waf­fle bakes into crispy, brown, cranny-filled sweet treats. We divvy up the squares as the next waf­fle cooks. For a larger gath­er­ing, the wait can feel ex­cru­ci­at­ing. Per­haps there are ad­van­tages to cook­ing for two.

Waf­fle irons vary in size and shape. The clas­sic waf­fle iron pro­duces a crispy waf­fle about Half-inch thick with 1/8-inch deep cran­nies. A Bel­gian waf­fle maker has larger, deeper cran­nies that hold more syrup. Check your man­u­fac­turer’s di­rec­tions for heat­ing the iron, amount of bat­ter to add and cook­ing times. My clas­sic Black & Decker elec­tric waf­fle iron bakes a gen­er­ous cup of bat­ter into four squares in about 10 min­utes.

Cook­ing dur­ing a pan­demic should be a judg­ment-free zone. Us­ing a boxed waf­fle mix is fine — just read la­bels to avoid ar­ti­fi­cial in­gre­di­ents.

If you have the in­gre­di­ents, know that home­made bat­ter is easy to pull to­gether, and nearly al­ways tastes bet­ter. The recipe that fol­lows uses a min­i­mum of leav­en­ing for a less metal­lic-tast­ing waf­fle; yo­gurt adds tang and light­ness. I com­bine the dry in­gre­di­ents ahead of time, then add the wet in­gre­di­ents to them while the waf­fle iron heats.

Corn­meal adds a sweet corn flavour and nice crunch to waf­fle bat­ter. A fine or medium grind corn­meal works best. (Coarse ground is too crunchy here.) Stone-ground blue corn­meal of­fers a de­li­cious, earthy sweet­ness and sub­tle blue hue to the waf­fles. Whole-wheat flour or coarse semolina are other op­tions for yummy flavour and nutty tex­ture.

You can use skim, 1%, 2% or whole milk in the waf­fle bat­ter. Same for the Greek yo­gurt — 0% or whole milk yo­gurt work well here. No plain Greek yo­gurt? Sub­sti­tute sour cream or but­ter­milk (or re­con­sti­tuted dried but­ter­milk).

I rec­om­mend us­ing veg­etable oil suited for high-heat cook­ing, such as saf­flower oil, sun­flower oil or ex­peller-pressed canola oil, in the waf­fle bat­ter and for coat­ing the waf­fle iron. These oils can take the heat of the waf­fle iron with­out smok­ing, re­sult­ing in bet­ter-tast­ing waf­fles.

Serve the waf­fles as soon as they are baked; don’t stack them on top of each other for any length of time (un­less you’re pour­ing on the syrup to eat), or they’ll get soggy. If not eat­ing right away, pop them di­rectly onto the rack of a 200 de­gree oven to stay crisp while you bake more. To make waf­fles in ad­vance, cool them com­pletely on a wire rack be­fore stack­ing into a con­tainer for re­frig­er­a­tion or freez­ing. Re­heat them to great crisp­ness in a toaster.

Pure maple syrup and salted but­ter taste de­li­cious on these crunchy waf­fles, so does a mix­ture of crushed fresh berries with a fruit syrup. Our family is par­tial to blue­berry syrup from our favourite Michi­gan blue­berry farms. For this hol­i­day, I’m sim­mer­ing or­anges in sugar to soften them be­fore adding diced fresh pineap­ple and mar­malade for a re­fresh­ing top­ping. Serve the waf­fles with an in­ter­est­ing flavour of chicken sausage, browned in a skil­let un­til hot, then thinly sliced.

Ba­nana malted milk makes a fine start to any day. I blend in a bit of peanut but­ter when it’s our sus­te­nance be­fore a morn­ing walk in the woods. If it’s an af­ter­noon treat, I never ob­ject to the ad­di­tion of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, specif­i­cally on spe­cial oc­ca­sions.

CRISPY CORN­MEAL WAF­FLES

Prep: 30 min­utes

Cook: 15 to 20 min­utes

Makes: 4 serv­ings (four 4-square waf­fles)

This recipe dou­bles nicely.

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Bak­ing Flour makes a fine sub­sti­tute for all-pur­pose flour.

Cooled, leftover waf­fles freeze well.

Re­heat in the toaster to re­crisp.

11/4 cups flour 1/4 cup blue, yel­low or white corn­meal (or semolina flour or whole wheat flour)

3 to 4 ta­ble­spoons sugar 2 tea­spoons bak­ing pow­der

3/4 tea­spoon bak­ing soda

1/2 tea­spoon salt

Saf­flower or ex­peller-pressed canola oil or non-stick cook­ing spray for high heat

3 large eggs

1 cup plain Greek yo­gurt, sour cream or but­ter­milk

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup sun­flower, saf­flower oil or high-heat ex­peller-pressed canola oil

1/3 cup melted but­ter For serv­ing:

Plain or vanilla Greek yo­gurt or mas­car­pone cheese or cot­tage cheese

Pineap­ple-or­ange com­pote, see recipe, re­heated if nec­es­sary

1. Whisk to­gether flour, corn­meal, sugar, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda and salt in a large bowl. (This can be done sev­eral days in ad­vance and stored, cov­ered.)

2. Heat oven to 200 de­grees. Heat waf­fle iron ac­cord­ing to man­u­fac­turer’s di­rec­tions. When iron is heated, use a pas­try brush to coat waf­fle iron with oil or spray with non-stick cook­ing spray. (Oil or spray waf­fle iron as needed be­tween waf­fles.)

3. Whisk to­gether eggs in a bowl. Whisk in yo­gurt, 1/2 cup milk, oil and melted but­ter. Gen­tly whisk egg mix­ture into the flour mix­ture just un­til com­bined. Do not over­mix. Bat­ter should flow from a spoon, not plop; add small dol­lops of milk if needed to thin bat­ter.

4. For each waf­fle, spoon a gen­er­ous cup of the bat­ter into the heated waf­fle iron, close the iron and bake un­til waf­fle is crisped and per­fectly golden. Trans­fer the baked waf­fle to the oven di­rectly on the oven rack while you bake the re­main­ing waf­fles.

5. To serve, pile a cou­ple of hot waf­fle squares on heated plates. Top with a dol­lop of yo­gurt. Spoon the warm com­pote over it all.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 631 calo­ries, 41 g fat, 15 g sat­u­rated fat, 189 mg choles­terol, 52 g car­bo­hy­drates, 14 g sugar, 16 g pro­tein, 861 mg sodium, 1 g fi­bre

PINEAP­PLE-OR­ANGE COM­POTE

Prep: 20 min­utes

Cook: 35 min­utes

Makes: about 4 cups

In ad­di­tion to serv­ing this com­pote warm over waf­fles and pan­cakes, try it su­per­cold la­dled over vanilla ice cream or plain yo­gurt.

2 navel or­anges, scrubbed clean

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 of a fresh pineap­ple, cut into {-inch dice, about 2 cups (or sub­sti­tute frozen)

1/2 cup or­ange mar­malade or honey to taste Pinch salt

1. Use a sharp par­ing knife to score the rind of the or­anges from stem to navel at 1-inch in­ter­vals and about [-inch deep. Put or­anges into a deep saucepan; add wa­ter to cover. Heat to a boil and re­duce heat to a low sim­mer. Cook, stir­ring of­ten, un­til rind feels soft, about 15 min­utes. Drain. When cool enough to han­dle, slice off the ends of each or­ange. Then cut in half. Cut each half into 5 or 6 thin wedges. Cut wedges into { inch pieces.

2. Put diced or­anges, sugar and { cup wa­ter into a saucepan. Heat to a sim­mer and stir to dis­solve sugar. Cook, cov­ered, stir­ring of­ten, over medium heat un­til or­anges are ten­der, about 15 min­utes. Re­move from heat. Stir in pineap­ple, or­ange mar­malade and salt.

3. Re­frig­er­ate cov­ered up to sev­eral days. Re­heat to serve warm over waf­fles or pan­cakes.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per \ cup serv­ing: 75 calo­ries, 0 g fat, 0 g sat­u­rated fat, 0 mg choles­terol, 20 g car­bo­hy­drates, 18 g sugar, 0 g pro­tein, 15 mg sodium, 1 g fi­bre

Ba­nana malted milk

Prep: 5 min­utes

Makes: 2 or 3 serv­ings

Creamy peanut but­ter gives this drink a lovely, rich body even when you’re us­ing skim milk. Malted milk pow­der by King Arthur Flour or Car­na­tion are both de­li­cious here. In a pinch, you could use malted milk balls; a pow­er­ful blender will crush them eas­ily into the drink and add a lit­tle choco­late bonus.

1 large or 2 small ripe ba­nanas

1 1/2 cups milk (dairy milk, oat milk, macadamia nut milk, rice milk, etc.)

1/4 cup malted milk pow­der

1/4 cup smooth peanut but­ter or 3 ta­ble­spoons peanut but­ter pow­der, op­tional

4 to 6 ice cubes

Put all in­gre­di­ents into a blender. Process un­til smooth. Serve cold.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing ( for 3 serv­ings, with peanut but­ter): 262 calo­ries, 14 g fat, 4 g sat­u­rated fat, 10 mg choles­terol, 26 g car­bo­hy­drates, 18 g sugar, 11 g pro­tein, 195 mg sodium, 2 g fi­bre

ABEL URIBE CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

Serve the corn­meal waf­fles with the pineap­ple or­ange com­pote, or use fresh berries and blue­berry syrup. Chicken break­fast sausages, a grape­fruit and sparkling rose mi­mosa, and plenty of cof­fee round out the meal.

ABEL URIBE CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

Or­ange and pineap­ple com­pote is del­cious warm over crispy waf­fles, but it also makes a fine top­ping cold over ice cream or yo­gurt.

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