A few months ago, I introduced my wife to Eggos. Once a staple of my childhood, I hadn’t had one in years. My wife, a recent immigrant, never had one. They simply were not one of the foods the grocery stores in the Middle East imported from America. Not a stranger to waffles, she enjoyed the crunchy waffle-like experience offered by the Eggo but told me it wasn’t the “perfect waffle.”
Hurt as I was by this rejection of American consumerism, I begrudgingly agreed. There is something different about an amazing homemade waffle and an Eggo. It’s like the way that sometimes you want pizza and sometimes, you want Dominoes.
In my quest to be a better human, husband, and contributor, I explored ways to bring the ideal waffle experience to my home kitchen and impress my wife.
A really good waffle recipe
After many trials and errors, I’ve settled on my go-to perfect waffle recipe that brings joy to my wife’s face.
If you are in a pinch, feel free to use it.
Like many fabulous baking confections, the ingredients for waffles are simple:
- Baking powder
- Butter (melted)
- Vanilla Extract
From here, it’s really a question of what you do with them that makes them waffles.
My research taught me that in Medieval Europe, waffles were not the sweet breakfast treat we know them as today. Made with various spices and flavors that altered the outcomes, it was not uncommon to find recipes that added cloves, nutmeg, lemon zest, or even port. It wasn’t until the 19th century, and their introduction to America, did syrup end up atop a waffle.
Do I need a waffle iron?
My opinion: yes.
Unlike other breakfast options—cereal, eggs, pancakes— waffles are best prepared with a special tool. Try as hard as I did, it’s nearly impossible to create waffles without a waffle iron, or at least a waffle pan sheet.
Waffle historians proudly explain that waffle irons existed way back in Ancient Greece. Next time you think about Aristotle, Sophocles or Socrates, just imagine them walking with a waffle in hand. For our purpose, though, Cornelius Swartwout patented the waffle iron in 1869. Easy to turn and less likely to cause burning (of waffle or hand), this design allowed for premium waffle consumption (and led to the creation of the most famous running shoe of all time, but that’s a different story for another day).
How do I make them fluffy and crispy?
In a large bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients. Depending on how many you’re trying to make, quantities will vary. Next, add in the wet ingredients. Using a whisk, mix the two sets together. It is critical during this stage to whisk and not beat the ingredients. Whisking involves adding air into the batter. This is where the fluffiness will come from. If you are not pleased with your outcome, next time, whisk more.
Helpful Tips for the Perfect Waffle
The crispiness is a bit tougher to achieve. It’s been trial and error for me. Still, here are some tips that might help.
1. Use stiff egg whites instead of just “eggs.”
This happens by using a mixer to mix egg whites until peaks form. Then flip the mixer to high to solidify the peaks.
2. Substitute a fourth of the flour called for in the recipe with corn starch.
This prevents some gluten from forming, which will make the waffles crispier.
3. Warm up the oven
Heat your oven to approximately 250 F and place done waffles directly on the rack while you complete the batch. This ensures that you are serving warm, crispy waffles.
Are these waffles or Belgian Waffles?
That mostly depends on the depth of the waffle iron you’re using. If you are using an iron with deep grids, then chances are, you are making Belgian waffles. There are a few other distinctions, such as leavening agents, but mostly, it’s a difference in the iron.
Serving the waffles
Once you’ve completed baking all the waffles, it’s time to eat. This comes down to personal preference, but for my money, the best waffle addition is freshly cut strawberries, some whipped cream, and maple syrup.
The combinations are infinite. From savory options like cheddar, eggs, and chive, to decadent selections like M&Ms, whipped cream, and sprinkles, you truly can make your waffles any way you choose.
In my experience, if you use what I’ve presented here, you’ll be able to create waffles that scratch that Eggo itch without having to deal with the freezer burn. Enjoy!