This is one of those recipes that seems a little strange at first — cornmeal in waffles? — but after you try it, you find yourself going back to it again and again. In fact, I’ve already made this recipe three times. Well, actually I’ve made the batter three times but have only baked the waffles twice. Let me explain.
Back in September, before we got to the Yeast-Risen Specialties section in the Modern Baker Challenge, I was in the mood for waffles. I don’t make waffles very often; in fact, it had been at least a year or two since I had made them at home. I order them out sometimes, but we just don’t do them at home. But I decided to make them one weekend, and I knew there was a waffle recipe coming up in the next section of The Modern Baker, so I thought I would give it a try.
This is a simple recipe, which takes only a little bit of planning, as the batter has to be mixed up the night before you plan to bake the waffles. To make the batter, I mixed yeast into warm milk in a mixing cup. Then I combined flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. In another bowl, I beat eggs, melted butter, and buttermilk. (I had the buttermilk in the freezer from the last time I made cultured butter. Since I found out that buttermilk can be frozen, I almost always have it on hand.)
I combined the wet and dry ingredients, mixed it well, and put the batter in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, I got the batter out of the refrigerator and stirred it down. It had just about doubled in volume and had a sweet, tangy taste. I was the first one up, and I thought I would surprise the rest of the family with fresh, hot waffles when they got up.
I checked the cupboard for the waffle iron but didn’t find it. I figured it must be in the basement, where I store kitchen supplies and equipment that I don’t use very often. I dug around downstairs but couldn’t find it there, either. I went back and forth between the kitchen and basement, looking everywhere I could think of, but I never did find it. So, I didn’t surprise anyone with breakfast that morning. In fact, I ended up throwing away the batter.
Fast forward to last week. I was talking to two of my co-workers at the office. I asked Margy if she had a waffle iron. She did, so I told her if she would bring it in Friday morning, and Mark would bring syrup, I’d supply the waffle batter so we could have breakfast. They were both a little leery of the idea of cornmeal in waffles, but my reputation as a baker and chef meant they would give me the benefit of the doubt and try these waffles.
So that evening, I mixed up another batter, put it in a lidded pitcher, and chilled it overnight. The next day, we set up our waffle station in the kitchen area at work and started baking. The waffles came out very thin, which I think was mostly a function of Margy’s ancient, and very heavy, waffle iron. We all agreed: these were great waffles. The cornmeal gave them just a bit of crunch and a nice, slightly nutty flavor. Mark and Margy told me about their misgivings, but both said these were delicious and very flavorful waffles.
That was Friday. On Saturday the girls and I went to the outlet mall to do some shopping. As always, I snuck away to Le Gourmet Chef “just to browse”. I was wandering the aisles, when this caught my eye:
Now, I know my old waffle iron is around the house somewhere. But this is a Belgian waffle maker. And it’s the kind like they have in hotels that flips over. How cool is that? Needless to say, it found its way into my shopping bag, along with some K-cups, a nutmeg grinder, a set of conventional and odd-sized measuring cups and spoons, and a roasting pan for the Thanksgiving turkey.
I, of course, had to justify buying another waffle iron, so I made another batch of batter Saturday night, and we had waffles for breakfast on Sunday morning.
I was surprised at how light and fluffy these waffles came out compared to the ones we made at work. They puffed up just like you would expect a Belgian waffle to do.
They were as good on Sunday as they had been on Friday. I may not make always make these when I want waffles, but this is definitely a recipe I will make many times in days to come.
They were certainly worth the expense of a new waffle iron – as if I needed an excuse to buy something new for the kitchen.