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Wednesday 4 June 2014

Best customized Belgium waffle recipes... eggnog, lemon ricotta, carrot cake, fruit and more Part 3 of Breakfast and brunch series!

So far in the Breakfast and Brunch series, we've covered...
Part one:  how to poach eggs and make Hollandaise sauce to make killer Eggs Benedict!
Part two: how to make the best customized pancakes! From chocolate, banana bread, carrot cake, lemon ricotta, tasty healthy and high fibre pancakes and more!

Its onwards and upwards with the Breakfast and Brunch series.. in this part 3, we're going to cover how to make the best customized waffles.. specifically Belgium waffles that are nice and fluffy on the inside but have a nice crisp exterior.  While this isn't a yeast based recipe that needs to sit overnight, this version you can whip up easily in the morning when you have a craving for waffles... or want to spoil your family or that special someone.  As for toppings and add-in's and flavor twists, from syrups to fruit to savory and sweet.. I've included a huge list of add-ons to the basic buttermilk waffle recipe so you can make churro'ed waffles, pumpkin pie waffles, chocolate waffles, coconut waffles...

Tips for making awesome crispy Belgium waffles
1) Fluffy and light:
Sift the dry ingredients to eliminate lumps… while the actual batter should be a bit lumpy (over working it makes a tough waffle… no sense in leaving huge chunks of flour in at the start!

While you can be lazy and mix the eggs straight in, separating them and whipping the egg whites and sugar together, and then folding it gently into the batter makes for a much fluffier, light waffle... rather than a dense brick… lookit all them bubbles!!!

2) Crispy!  Noone likes a soft soggy waffle, especially after all the work you put into making it... so
-add cornstarch to the recipe... cornstarch allows more moisture to be trapped in the waffle as it cooks so it doesn't all steam out and leave you with a soggy limp waffle.  If you don't have cornstarch, sub out the all purpose flour with cake flour... same idea... the additional stuff added to cake flour will make a crispier unsoggy waffle.
-keep completed waffles in a single layer on a cookie pan in a preheated 200F oven to keep them warm and crispy while you work on making more waffles (especially if you're making a lot of waffles!)
3) Sugar - while tradition calls for pearl sugar - it crystalizes nicely so you get little bits of sweetness when you bite into the waffle, you can use regular white or brown or cane sugar... whatever you have in your kitchen.
4) Vegetable oil vs butter: technically, vegetable oil makes the crispier waffle, but since I love the taste of butter, that's what I use in the recipe.  You can have best of both world by using 1/2 oil, 1/2 butter.

5) Buy a half decent waffle maker to save yourself some grief.  Ones that you can flip half way are awesome as they ensure the batter coats both sides of the waffle maker and cooks it more evenly.  I invested in this Cuisinart Belgium waffle maker that flips easily and its holding up well!
6) Don't beat yourself up if your first waffle is looks super ugly... it make take a few tries before you get the hang of your own waffle maker and have it pop out a perfectly lightly browned all the way to toasted crunchy crunchy brown and crisp cooked waffle!
(Leave waffles in one layer in oven to keep crisp - I just stacked for picture to show levels of doneness!)
7) Customize your waffles to what you're craving by adding in the optional flavor and fibre twists below:
Apple cinnamon filled waffles with a dollop of Chantilly cream and ground cinnamon

Waffle toppings
-Maple syrup
-peanut or nut butters
-Chantilly cream recipe here!
-chocolate chips
-whatever your heart desires!

Ingredients for Buttermilk waffles Makes 4-6 waffles (+/- depending on your waffle machine size)
2 eggs, separated
2 cups whole buttermilk
5 tablespoons or 1/3 cup melted  butter
1 tbsp liqueur (amaretto, hazelnut) or 1 tsp vanilla extract or contents of 1 vanilla bean pod scraped
1 ½  cups all-purpose flour
½  cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons sugar

How to:
1) Separate the egg yolks and whites, and in a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter and liqueur/extract to combine (and any optional wet ingredients)
2) Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl (and any optional dry ingredients)
3) With a mixer (or a whisk if you want/have crazy arm muscles), dump in the leftover egg whites with the sugar, and whip to stiff peaks - the egg white should stand up on its own when you scoop some out with a spoon
4) Stir the buttermilk liquid into the flour mixture (make sure the batter is still a little lumpy), then gently fold in the egg whites - careful not to deflate the whites.. you want to keep the fluffy bubbles!
5) Pour the batter (Start with about 1/2 cup of batter for the smallest irons and 2/3 cup for bigger ones... the amount of batter depends on the size of your waffle maker); increase as necessary to fill out waffle  into a preheated waffle maker and cook according to waffle iron manufacture’s directions (usually 4-6 minutes).
6) Once each waffle has been cooked, immediately transfer to a wire cooling rack and transfer cooling rack to preheated 200F oven to rest while remaining waffles are being prepared. Serve immediately with maple syrup or other topping of choice.

Optional Sweet flavorings/twists:
-Banana bread waffles: replace 1 cup of buttermilk with 1 cup of mashed bananas, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon,  ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ginger
-Carrot cake waffles: replace 3/4 cup of buttermilk with 3/4 cup of shredded carrots, add 1 tablespoon cinnamon, add total of 2 eggs, replace white sugar with ¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar
-Cinnamon awesome: Add extra 2 teaspoons cinnamon,  ½ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ginger
-Chocolate chai latte: Add 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder, 3 Tablespoons chai powder or chai syrup
-Chocolate chip: Add 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (chocolate chips buuuuuuurns so don't bother)
-Churro style: dunk finished waffles in ½ cup melted butter, then sprinkle with mixture of ¾ cup sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon
-Coconut: replace ½ cup buttermilk with ½ cup coconut milk, add ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
-Dried fruit: add in ½ cup coarsely chopped cranberries, mangos, pineapple, candied ginger
-Eggnog: replace buttermilk with eggnog, add in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
-Fresh fruit: add in 1 cup blueberries, raspberries, cubes of peach, apricot, apples, pears, nectarines, mango, papaya, pineapple
-Lemon Poppyseed - add in zest of one lemon and 1/2 cup poppyseeds
-Lemon Ricotta - replace 1/2 cup of buttermilk with 1 cup ricotta, add in zest of one lemon
-Nuts: add in ½ cup coarsely chopped nuts: pecans, walnuts, almonds, macadamia nut
-Pumpkin spice: Replace out ½ cup buttermilk with ½ cup pumpkin puree, add 1 Tablespoon pumpkin spice

Optional Savory flavorings/twists:
-Mashed potato and cheese waffles: Reduce buttermilk to 1 cup, reduce flour to 1/4 cup, add 1.5 cups mashed potatoes, ½ cup cheese (parmesan, aged cheddar etc), replace cinnamon with1 teaspoon fresh minced sage, basil or rosemary – use ½ teaspoon dried herbs if you don’t’ have fresh

Optional Healthy flavorings/twists:
-Fibre boost: add in 3 tablespoons chia seed or flax seeds
-Gluten free: replace AP flour with gluten free flour mix
-Vegan version: add 3 tablespoons chia seed or flax seed, replace buttermilk with 1 ½ cup almond milk, replace butter with coconut oil or vegetable oil
-whole wheat – sub out AP flour with WW flour

Optional indulgent twists - apart from drowning them in syrup and whipped cream and butter
-slather with lemon curd! Recipe for easy peasy lemon curd here
-go big or go home.. make Chantilly cream top top these babies off.. Chantilly cream recipe here!
-drizzle with butter caramel sauce... scratch butter caramel rum recipe here!

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