Apr 29, 2010

Marion Cunningham’s Raised Waffles

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Oh, my God, you guys. Guess what I’m doing this weekend? Going away, with just the husband. Like, away from this house while Little C frolicks here with her visiting Gramma. During this weekend, I will be in a magical land called Napa wherein my towels, sheets and dishes will be washed by other people. I will also be eating only at restaurants (one extra fancy) and drinking lots of delicious alcohol in the name of “wine tasting”. I am so pumped. Please don’t hate me. I mean, I’d hate me, if it wasn’t…me.

Know what I did last weekend? I did laundry. And cleaned. And went to Fairyland. And made and cleaned up after about 100 meals. All well and good. But I’m thinking that even if there is a massive natural disaster, this Napa weekend will totally top last weekend. Except for the waffles I made on Sunday. They were ethereal, transcendent, these waffles. So even if you won’t be getting away for the weekend, whipping up a batch of these waffles will transport you, if only for breakfast time.

I give you Marion Cunningham’s storied Raised Waffles, people. And I mean the culinary goddess Marion Cunningham, not the mom from Happy Days. And someday I’ll tell you how many years I lived not realizing they were two separate people.

But ohhhh, these waffles. So light, so crisp, so not at all sweet as to perfect balance with a good dose of maple syrup. The yeast flavor is so unexpectedly delicious, like the best parts of waffles and brioche having a baby.

And the very best part is you start the batter the night before. All you have to do in the a.m. is whisk in some eggs and baking soda–super easy, even with just one with one eye open and one tiny person clinging to your PJ pants. Who will not be accompanying us this weekend as we eat lots of beautiful food and imbibe in one of the most gorgeous places in the planet. Okay, now I’m just sort of bragging.

Marion Cunningham’s Raised Waffles
Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible

There are a few blog posts out there that have less than raves about this recipe, but for me, I found my experience with them to be completely awesome and I’ll pass along what worked for me. First, follow the instructions to the letter. Don’t short the rise time on the counter–start these the night before or pick another waffle recipe if you can’t. The magic of these waffles is because of a long, overnight rise for crazy lightness and tons of flavor.

Know that these waffles do have a yeasty flavor and are not sweet at all, so don’t expect an Eggo. Also, I found a lot of people online complaining about how rich with butter these waffles were, so for fun, I cut the butter down to 5 tablespoons instead of a whole stick. They turned out beautifully. It also seems that those who have a Belgian-style waffle iron don’t have as much success–mine is a standard waffle iron, the kind with lots of little squares rather than a few larger wells. Make a full batch; the waffles freeze and reheat in the toaster beautifully.

Serves 6 to 8

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm milk ((I think anything but skim would be fine here)
1/2 cup melted butter (I cut this amount down to 5 tablespoons, no problem)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

In the biggest mixing bowl you own (the batter will rise to double its original volume) sprinkle in the yeast over the warm water. Let stand to dissolve for 10 minutes. Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour and stir to blend. Give it a blast with a handheld mixer on a low speed for just a moment to really smooth it out–you don’t want any lumps. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

The next morning, just before cooking the waffles, whisk in the eggs and the baking soda–the batter will be very thin. Depending on the size of your waffle iron, pour about 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter onto the hot iron (use a light hand at first and check your progress–this waffle batter expands rather impressively. Bake until golden and crisp. This batter will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

  • Mmmmm, I love it when you can taste the yeast in waffles. Those photos have me drooling. Have fun in Napa!

  • I'm seriously jealous of all of it!! i haven't been away with my husband since before my nearly 3 year old was born. And wine tasting? Not while pregnant 🙂 But the worst part is that I can't even make these waffles because I don't have a waffle maker…oh wait, I could go buy one…yeah I think I'll do that!

  • They look absolutely delicious!!! I will be trying them this weekend.
    Enjoy Napa , and I don't think anyone with kids will hate you for it!! -want to be in your shoes? most likely:-)

  • hmmmm…..looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    Take the Cake Personality Tset and find out which cake are you like. I have enjoyed a lot while taking the test. Hope you too will enjoy it. Have Fun!!

  • Oh I'm making this tonight! 🙂

  • these waffles look like perfection!
    Have an awesome trip!

  • These look so good!! I can't wait to try them…and I am super jealous of your Napa weekend.

  • I don't think a waffle has ever looked better! Goodbye Eggos, hello raised waffles.

  • Glad you got to go away with the hubby! Getting away is always great. I'm making pancakes tomorrow! It's breakfast all around!!

  • I think we have the same waffle maker.

    Napa is lovely. You will really maybe not want to come home at all, that is unless you miss the wee lass, and well, you'd have to choose between someone doing your laundry, lots of wine and great food, and a tiny person clinging to your pant leg crying 'cuz you left them. All weekend.

    That won't be too hard, will it?? 😉

  • those look absolutely divine!

  • Have a wonderful weekend! Those waffles look seriously delicious–I like the fact that they aren't too sweet. If and when I ever get a waffle maker, I'll be giving this recipe a try!

  • We tried these this morning, and they were delicious. Love the texture!

    My questions is this: In the morning, is your batter kind gunky looking, especially at the top, until you whisk in the eggs and baking soda? I’ve never set batter out overnight – especially batter that includes milk – so I was anxious about it. And the batter being not-so-pretty had me concerned. (But not concerned enough to not eat them!) Anyway, just making sure that’s how it was supposed to look.

    Thanks to you!

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