Friday, October 9, 2009

Belgian Waffles

The quest for the perfect waffle began about five years ago when Jim gave me a Belgian waffle iron for my birthday. Mom had a waffle iron when we were growing up, and I loved eating waffles on the weekends. Truthfully, who out there without a gluten intolerance doesn't? The first batch I made in the new gadget was this sweet potato waffle recipe I had recently watched on tv. While it was extremely tasty (grated orange rind is amazing in there!) a 'standard' waffle recipe still needed to be found. I eschew most mixes and prepackaged food around here, especially for something like waffles. Store-bought mixes contain basic ingredients (though sometime you can get a little something extra, like salmonella) so making from scratch barely adds any additional time.

Even though a waffle only contains simple ingredients - flour, sugar, salt, eggs, etc., the various recipes out there are not created equal. So began the quest. We had a morning of cake-y waffles. A few weeks later we had dough-y waffles. Then followed waffles that tasted like pancakes. Truthfully, I was starting to think I didn't want this new kitchen toy after all. It made terrible waffles! But then, at last, I found it! The perfect waffle recipe. It was light, buttery, with a slight crispy texture on the outside. I knew this was the right recipe before I even made the batter, as the editor talked about discovering Belgian waffles at the 1964 World's Fair in NY. My mom worked at the World's Fair that summer as a teenager, and said that was where she too first tried them. So, I felt confident that the recipe I grew up loving would be contained within. It did not disappoint! And since then, this is the only waffle recipe we have used.

As Jim's Euro week continued into Brussels, it seemed most fitting that we have Belgian waffles for dinner. Complete with strawberries and whipped crean, of course! Charlotte was a bit skeptical after being sprayed by the whipped cream (white dots on arm) but she got over herself in a hurry!

Belgian Waffles
Perfect batter recipe from Belgian Buttermilk Waffles

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs
Vegetable oil for waffle iron

Put oven rack in middle position and put a large metal cooling rack directly on it. Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs in another bowl, then whisk into flour mixture until just combined.

Brush hot waffle iron lightly with vegetable oil and pour a slightly rounded 1/2 cup* of batter into each waffle mold. Cook waffles according to manufacturer's instructions until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer as cooked to rack in oven to keep warm, keeping waffles in 1 layer to stay crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

*Note: all waffle irons are not the same. This recipe was listed as yielding 8 waffles, but on a good day I get 6. Use measured scoops to experiment and see how much batter to put in your waffle iron.


  1. I'm a pancake kind of gal and was thinking about getting a waffle maker. Is there a brand you'd recommend?

  2. I can only comment about the one I own, which is a Waring WMK300 (link above) and works fantastic. In consulting my copy of Alton Brown's "Gear for your Kitchen" he lists the following features as important:

    - even and sufficient heating, the waffle maker should get up close to 400F
    - fast heat recovery between batches
    - perimeter runoff area
    - cool-touch exterior
    - wide range of doneness settings
    - preheating 'ready' light or tone
    - 'done' light or tone
    - lid latch

    My Waring satisfies all of these requirements. Alton specifically lists the Villaware Professional Classic 3000 as his favorite, and adds that Cuisinart also makes a very nice Belgian waffle maker. I recall from watching an episode of Good Eats, he further specified that round is a superior shape to avoid uneven heating near corners (first requirement listed.)

  3. Thank you very much. I love Cuisinart's other products (mini food processor, brew and grind and the immersion blender) so maybe I'll get one of those.