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Monday, June 27, 2011

waffle my world: the classic waffle part 2.

Welcome back to WMW: Waffle my World! This is part 2 already so if you've not seen part 1, you can read about it here. I used a recipe from epicurious.com and while it seemed to go down pretty well, it wasn't quite there yet, so the hunt for the perfect waffle recipe continues.

I'm so sorry for the poor photo quality. It seems that I find great solace in feasting on waffles when the sky is a midnight blue. As such, I have to resort to using my kitchen's horrid florescent light or my dining room's ghastly tungsten. My white balance did its best, and iphoto editing was roped in, but you know, it's just not right and I'm sorry once again. But everyone loves waffles for dinner, and I know you do too, so please don't balk at these. And I'm afraid that many more waffle photos will be photographed in this, er-hem, less than appetizing light.

This recipe from Pamela Anderson uses a method that deviates slightly from the previous one, and it is not such a well-kept secret anymore because many people know and love this- whipped egg whites. They lighten up the batter, contributing to an airy texture we seek in a good waffle. But Pamela also changed up a few extra stuff to make sure that the waffles are really light and crisp, just like the recipe's title.

She uses cornstarch and a mix of buttermilk and milk. The cornstarch is that component that makes a waffle crisp on the outside, yet tender on the inside. Instead of adding the sugar into the dry ingredients, it is added to the egg whites after being beaten to soft peaks to stabilize them. The mix of buttermilk and milk stems from the reason that buttermilk is more flavorful, but thick, which weighs down the waffle. The addition of milk thins the buttermilk down, ensuring that the resulting waffle is still flavorful but crisp. Her recipe calls for vegetable oil because, she says, liquid fat rather than solid fat (butter) delivers a better crispness. But I went with butter instead, and I also reduced it from 6 tablespoons to 4 tablespoons.

For more explanation on the role of ingredients, read on here.

my waffle maker is a batter guzzler- i can't seem to make enough for perfectly round ones
I think there's no harm in reducing the amount of fat in a waffle but you have to be careful- too little fat and the waffle will stick to the iron, sometimes splitting the waffle in half when you lift the handle up. 4 tablespoons for 2 cups of liquid (buttermilk, milk) seems to be the limit.

1 banana + 1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon brown sugar + pecans + heat = yum
Now for the moment of truth.

These waffles kick butt. They definitely bested the previous ones. Not only was the texture light and crisp, the hint of vanilla balanced out the egginess that I dislike. But I can't tell if they are the one yet because I set the dial too high, resulting in waffles that browned way too much for my liking. Next time I'll go with a 2.5 or 3, just until lightly browned so that I can make a better judgement. For now though, the extra step of whipping the egg whites is a little troublesome but, this is a recipe you should definitely try.

And don't forget the buttered-banana-pecans!

Light, Crisp Waffles
by Pamela Anderson, from Finecooking.com

3-1/2 oz. (3/4 cup) bleached all-purpose flour 
1 oz. (1/4 cup) cornstarch 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1/4 tsp. baking soda 
3/4 cup buttermilk 
1/4 cup milk 
6 Tbs. vegetable oil *I used butter, and reduced it to 4 tablespoons
1 large egg, separated 
1 Tbs. sugar 
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
Heat the oven to 200°F and heat the waffle iron. Mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Measure the buttermilk, milk, and vegetable oil in a Pyrex measuring cup; mix in the egg yolk and set aside. 
In another bowl, beat the egg white almost to soft peaks. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue to beat until the peaks are firm and glossy. Beat in the vanilla. 
Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until just mixed. Drop the whipped egg white onto the batter in dollops and fold in with a spatula until just incorporated.
Pour the batter onto the hot waffle iron and cook until the waffle is crisp and nutty brown (follow the manufacturer's instructions for timing at first and then adjust to your liking). Set the waffle directly on the oven rack to keep it warm and crisp. Repeat with the remaining batter, holding the waffles in the oven (don't stack them). When all the waffles are cooked, serve immediately.

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