Saturday, January 21, 2012

Waffle Woes

Its an "Oh woe is me" sort of week in the kitchen. That's what I get for branching out, I suppose. Or, just another "learning" day here in the house of little ol' me.

I found a tempting recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod for Honey Yogurt Waffles. They sounded divine. So I decided to try them, seeing as how Santa brought me a new Belgian waffle maker for Christmas. I've been thinking about these waffles since I found the recipe last night. I was planning to make them in my sleep. Planning in my sleep, though, not making waffles in my sleep.

Usually, I can barely make it to through the morning routine of I-potty-then-dog-potty-then-coffee before I'm ready to hit the couch again for a while of zombie-ing until I wake up. This morning was different. I got out of bed with a purpose.

We all know that your first waffle is like your first boyfriend  pancake - a mistake. It was uber limp and greasy. I gave 1/4 of it to Grainne. She sniffed at in her bowl for a few minutes. As soon as she began to nibble on the corner of it, she realized I was watching her and tucked her tail and looked over her shoulder at me. I told her it was "OK" (which she understands is "ok to eat"), and she turned and gobbled it up in one hunk. So, not poison. Although I'd never truly test poison theories on my dog, I have found things she oddly refuses to eat. And that's a clue for me too.

Waffle #2: I cranked up the heat looking for that steam. Still not much of it. So I convinced myself I was smarter than the instructions that came with the waffle maker and decided that the real key to when they are done has nothing to do with steam, but rather when they stop sizzling. Right. Next!
Burned. Holey. And yet limp. Only crispy on the inside burned parts.

Waffle #3 was to be the charm. I put the heat back down on ".." (which I suppose in my waffle maker's Medium in polka-dot speak). Nicely colored, golden but not burned yet still limp. Where are the crispy waffles I've been craving? I'm starting to understand why they cost as much as a cheeseburger in a restaurant.

Waffle #4: This time I used only three scoops of batter into the center of the waffle maker. No overflow. And I put the heat down to the middle of ".." and ".". It's been almost an hour in the kitchen now. This includes opening, cleaning and seasoning the waffle maker for the first time, dividing ingredients and photographing everything that has transpired so far today. Its almost 1pm (Yes, I slept in) and I havn't eaten a thing. So what I'm trying to tell you is that as soon you get a new kitchen appliance, you should take it home, wash it and season it (or otherwise set it up for use) even if you don't intend to use it, because waiting until you wake up starving on a Saturday morning is not the time to do it. In addition, if you are going to try a new recipe (and especially if you are trying a new recipe AND a new appliance at the same time) you should eat breakfast before you begin to cook your breakfast.

So I call my mother, aka Santa, to ask if this is the same waffle maker she has at home. Does it work for her? No, its not the same as hers. Her advice? "It's not like cooking pancakes where it just takes a couple minutes on each side. Cooking waffles is kind of like baking a cake - it takes a while." Well, Santa, I don't want to bake a cake. I want to eat a waffle. A crispy one. If you wanted me to bake a wafflecake, you should have sent me a cake pan with bumps in it. I find your gift deceptive.

Waffle number four has been in the waffle maker for fifteen minutes somewhere between ".." and "." and I'm going to add some !@#$@#!$! to it in a minute. I turned up the heat a little bit, back to "..". After thirty minutes, it came worse than its predecessors. I still have more batter.

I do not blame the recipe (They smell dee-lish, which is making this process so much harder). In reality, I do not blame the waffle maker. Of course, I don't blame myself either. Circumstance? That doesn't really fit here. Nor does coincidence. I'm looking for another scapegoat.

Waffle number five is in now. I've decided to put number three in the toaster to heat it up and see if that crisps it a bit too. I have to eat or I'm going to gnaw off my arm. Since they are too big for the toaster, I'm actually cutting in half and trying it that way. Now, my toaster is also a toaster oven (basically just a toaster oven with one long trap door on top and an arm that holds bread upright, side by side) and is perfectly long enough to accommodate the diameter of the waffle. Limp waffles, however, get stuck in your toaster no matter how its organized. Just sayin'.

The toaster browned it perfectly, but it was still soft. I don't care anymore. I'm eating it. With butter and honey on top. It's f*ing beautiful. It really does have the best flavor of any waffle I've ever had. And I'm thinking that the soft consistency of it would make great "bread" for an egg and bacon sandwich. Or a good bread pudding. Oh the opportunities.

Number five came out a little better. Perhaps this waffle maker needed a few rounds to "warm up" so to speak. Number six is in now, and I think it may cook best if I just put in there and fa-ged-a-boud-et. I may just unplug it and let it sit there for a while. It will be a nice surprise come dinner time.

I know I promised pictures. But I deleted them all. I don't when, or why, but they are gone. You'll just have to imagine. Like reading a book. Its probably funnier that way anyway. Especially if you are my mom. She thinks everything is hilarious. That's why she gives people wafflecake bakers when you really wanted something else.

Total prep/cook/complain time: 2 hours.
Recipe makes 6 Belgian waffles. Sort of. But it tastes incredible.

Update: I have made this my go-to waffle recipe because they are hands-down THE BEST waffles I have ever had. They are, however, soft waffles by nature of their ingredients. So if you are expecting crunchy crispy waffles like you get in restaurants, look elsewhere. I promise you will not regret trying these. And really, once you try them you will find crunchy waffles simply offensive.