Do you love waffles, but the ones you cook at home are...well...blah and tasteless? Do your waffles turn out limp and chewy? Help is on the way. You can make great waffles. All you need is a good recipe (pretty simple, actually) and a few tips on waffle making procedures.
Most all waffle recipes contain the same basic ingredients. Flour (or pancake/waffle mix), sugar, salt, milk, eggs. The many varieties of waffles comes from the additives to the batter, or toppings added when served. Other than that, they are basically the same.
So what makes some waffles bad, some good...and others great? Technique and a few little secrets. There are only a few tips you need to know. But, they will make a difference in your waffles.
Tip 1: Many recipes call for a little oil in the batter. Some do not. You should always put about 1/2 tablespoon of oil (cooking oil/vegetable oil) in your batter. It helps develop the outer crust. It does not matter if you make your waffles crisp and crunchy or if you like them soft like pancakes, the oil is needed.
Tip 2: Do Not Beat The Batter Vigorously! This make tough, chewy waffles. Gently stir the batter only long enough to thoroughly moisten the dry ingredients. Do not worry about small lumps in the batter. You will never know they were there after the waffles are cooked.
Your Waffle Iron (Griddle):
Tip 1: This may seem to be a "no brainer", but I have seen so many people pour their batter in a waffle iron that they turned on 2 minutes earlier. The batter will not rise properly in an iron that is not fully up to temp. You will get heavy, flat waffles. So, always turn on your waffle iron before you start making your batter. Allow at least 10 minutes before you pour in the batter. I once saw the cook at a restaurant (know for it's great waffles) do exactly this. It was right after opening and he chose to serve flat waffles rather than wait for the griddle to get hot).
Tip 2: Do not use cooking spray on your waffle iron. Yes, I know it is so convenient and it seems to work well to prevent sticking, but every manufacturer of waffle irons I have checked with advises against it. They maintain that it will ruin the non-stick surface of your griddle over time. Instead, you should use a vegetable oil (solid Crisco works best). Just take a basting brush or a paper towel and cover the surface lightly with oil. Your waffle iron will last much longer, and, in the end, you will have less problems with sticking. Also, I believe it produces a better crust on the waffle.
Vanilla and Sugar:
Tip 1: Unless you are making some exotic jalapeno, salsa sauce waffle, always add a touch of sugar and a little vanilla to your batter. Many recipes do not list sugar or vanilla in their ingredients. But it will add that little extra "something" you can not identify...and it is so good.
Tip 2: No matter what kind of waffles you are making, always add beaten egg whites. You can add the yolks or not, but beaten egg whites are essential to light waffles. The egg whites should be beaten until stiff (like whipped cream). Then gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Your goal is to incorporate the eggs without deflating them.
Here's a simple, basic recipe that will produce good waffles. You can, of course, add ingredients to make blueberry, pecan (like Waffle House), strawberry, peanut butter or a dozen others.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, plus additional as needed
3 egg yokes, beaten
3 egg whites beaten stiff
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1. Heat waffle iron and grease liberally with cooking oil (Crisco).
2. Combine all other ingredients except eggs. Mix well.
3. Beat egg yolks and pour into flour mix.
4. Beat egg white in separate bowl until stiff peaks form (looks like whipped cream).
5. Gently fold beaten egg white into flour mixture. Do NOT over mix.
6. Add additional milk, as needed, to obtain proper thickness of batter. Should pour easily, but not be watery. About like syrup except a little thicker.
7. Pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter into center of hot waffle iron and bake until steam stops coming from edges of iron. Amount of batter depends on the size of your waffle iron (you will have to experiment).
Makes 6 nine inch waffles.
Use these tips and watch you're family rave about your great waffles.
Ken Miller writes for http://www.olsouthrecipes.com, where you can grab the best, free, Southern recipes including real, authentic Southern cornbread.
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