Friday, December 12, 2008

Waffle weekend

I was in a better humor on the first snow day of the school year, Oct. 28, when I started this post. I had nothing planned that day, unlike today when I am supposed to be working like a regular person in a city with adults and lunching with a dear friend. But enough about my troubles. The day I was in a good mood I made my daughter and her cousin waffles from-scratch because I had the time and inclination and patience... with the children and circumstances ... not the waffle-making process. Actually homemade waffles are not all that hard to make. Consider treating your family or just yourself this cold, snowy weekend.

And if there is just one of you, freeze the extras and pop them in the toaster on the "defrost" setting on weekday mornings. This is where a vacuum sealer comes in handy. I own a Reynolds Handi-Vac and I will review it at the end of this blog and give you the recipe I use for "regular" waffles that you can add blueberries or other mix-ins to or just serve them as-is.

The third part of my post will be a different kind of waffle that I tried by slightly modifying a quick bread recipe.

Back on Oct. 28, because it was just a few days before Halloween and I wanted to treat the kids, I tried to make a jack-o'-lantern face on the waffle with chocolate chips.



Cute in theory but it was hard to make out the face on the baked waffle.



PUMPKIN WAFFLES
1 1/2 sticks butter (not margarine)
3 cups flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
1/8 teaspoon each salt and fresh ground pepper
3 eggs
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree from a 16-ounce can
2 1/2 cups milk

Melt butter and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, put flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Blend well with wire whip. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat eggs with brown sugar. Add the pumpkin and milk and blend well. Add cooled butter and blend well.

Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and stir just until ingredients are moist. Do not overbeat. Bake in waffle iron, about 7 minutes each. Keep warm until serving in a 200-degree oven. Place directly on oven racks. Leave door ajar. Makes about 7 8-inch waffles. Mix chocolate chips into the batter or serve plain waffles with apple butter or orange walnut butter (recipe follows) and maple syrup.

ORANGE WALNUT BUTTER
From Taste of Home Simple & Delicious magazine
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

In a small bowl, combine the butter, walnuts and orange peel until blended. Serve on waffles.

I actually served it not on pumpkin waffles but on a little experiment of mine: Zucchini Waffles, made from my mom's recipe for the quick bread. I think I added more flour to the recipe to make it more like waffle batter. I assumed there was enough oil in the recipe to keep it from sticking. I was wrong. It really gummed up my waffle iron, even though I oiled it in between every waffle, which is unusual. Maybe melted butter is the way to go. Definitely I think I should cut the sugar.



This is the usual recipe I use for "plain" waffles.

CRISP & GOLDEN WAFFLES
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional mix-ins: blueberries or granola or chocolate chips
In medium bowl, beat egg until frothy. Add remaining ingredients; mix until smooth. Add 2/3 cup batter to pre-heated waffle maker and spread evenly with rubber spatula. Close waffle maker and bake until light goes out. Carefully remove waffle (lightly re-oil if sticking occurs.) Repeat with remaining batter.

I made a lot of blueberry waffles this summer from the berries in the yard and froze them with the help of the Reynolds Handi-Vac vacuum sealer. I bought it as sort of a vacuum sealer training wheels, instead of committing to the larger expensive machine.

You place food below a line marked on the special zipper-top bags and lightly press the battery-powered sealer to the bag's air valve. Press the button on the sealer and it sucks out the air. You have to do it gingerly because you don't want to mash the air valve shut and air-lock the process. It takes a short time to suck out the air. I have sealed pancakes, waffles and a piece of meat or two. In the case of waffles, you have to stop sealing when the bag lightly conforms to the food...suck too much air out and you'll compress the airy waffles and they will come out misshapen. I like this product just fine. I don't feel compelled to buy a full-size vacuum sealer just yet because I don't do much of my own freezing and I have a small house and kitchen.


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