When waffling over what to make for breakfast, consider the humble waffle. While these foods require special equipment to make, they do not require much more effort than pancakes or eggs, and once prepared, waffles freeze well, which allows you to take out your homemade waffles and toast them for an instant breakfast or snack at any time.
The Foodtimeline notes that the ancient Greeks implemented a method for cooking bread between two hot iron plates. These were flat in the ancient world, but by the 13th century, the now-familiar honeycomb shape of the waffle irons was introduced. Waffles were a popular treat for the early American colonists who would often hold parties featuring them. The pilgrims likely picked up their love for waffles when they came through the Netherlands, where they were called wafel, on their way to Plymouth. Even Thomas Jefferson owned a waffle iron.
Today, restaurants such as Waffle House and Houston’s own The Breakfast Klub both feature waffles on their menus, but for the freshest taste, it is simple to make your own at home. Unlike pancakes which are best eaten immediately after cooking, waffles freeze well for faster, tastier breakfasts than commercial toaster waffles. Frozen homemade waffles simply require a reheating in the toaster or 30 seconds in the microwave. With your own homemade waffles, you can be assured that the ingredients are safe, and your waffles will not be recalled as some Eggo products have been recently.
When making waffles, there will be Belgian waffle recipes requiring yeast to lift higher in their specialty Belgian waffle irons. Other recipes make simple American waffles using baking soda or baking powder and buttermilk for leavening. Another means to leaven the batter in American waffles is to separate the egg yolks from the whites. By whipping the egg whites and folding them into the batter after the other ingredients have been mixed. The air beaten into the egg whites helps to lift the batter.
Waffles essentially cook by frying themselves inside the waffle iron. It is critical that the appropriate amount of oil or melted butter is used in the recipe. Melted butter will make the waffles crispy and more flavorful. During cooking, the waffles made with melted butter will steam longer as the water from the butter is cooked out of the waffle. Another problem encountered with those who skimp on the butter or oil find that even in a non-stick waffle iron, the waffles will stick. More fat in the batter will solve this problem.
To make basic waffles: Mix together the dry ingredients in one bowl. Separate the eggs, and mix the egg yolks into the wet ingredients. Stir the wet and dry together. Beat the egg whites in a clean, metal bowl with a whisk or an electric mixer until stiff peaks have formed. You can add ¼ tsp. to the egg whites during beating to help stabilize the whites. Fold the egg whites into the rest of the ingredients with a spatula. Do not overmix. Plug in the waffle iron and wait for the ready light to come on. Pour ¼ to ½ cup of batter into your waffle iron and close the lid. Steam will come out from the sides of the waffle iron, but this is normal and expected. Do not open the waffle iron until the ready light turns on or the cooking light goes out. Serve the waffles immediately, or freeze, individually between wax paper, sealed in freezer bags until ready to thaw and use.
Read more waffle cooking tips from Mr. Breakfast.
Be sure to have some warm maple syrup, honey, fresh fruit, whipped cream, or molasses to top your waffles.
Here are some basic waffle recipes to try:
The Greatest Waffle Recipe Ever from Serious Eats
Alton Brown’s Basic Waffle Recipe