Waffles On The Deck

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A Treat Any Time Of The Year

Those familiar with the Central Valley of California know that it is very hot in the summer—and on into early fall. Most days the temperature lies in the 90s, and many days it will climb up over 100 degrees. That kind of heat requires careful planning. Any sort of outdoor activity—gardening, for example—must be done in the cool and lovely hours of the morning, before about 10 am, after which the heat becomes too strong.

In my family, summer was the season for two of our most cherished outdoor activities—the hand churning of ice cream, and Waffles On The Deck.

Waffles On The Deck was a simple but elaborate affair. For the aforementioned reason, everyone in the household had to get up very early in the morning. This was not too difficult, even for me, as there was always a great hubbub of activity and noise. The backyard table had to be positioned in the shade of the giant old mulberry tree (planted before I was born); extra chairs were rounded up; multiple waffle irons were plugged in via extension cords; trays of plates and glasses, syrups and jams, napkins and silverware were carried out; a giant bowl of batter was mixed up; eggs fried; orange juice freshly squeezed.

While there are many delicious and exotic variations to the standard waffle recipe, some of which I offer here, my family is composed of purists. We never vary from the basic recipe—no frou-frou flavorings for us—and simply adorn our waffles with melted butter, maple syrup, or homemade boysenberry or apricot jam.

A perfectly cooked waffle is a treat any time of the year, but to me they will always taste best in the cool morning hours of a hot summer day, in the shade of a giant old tree, surrounded by parents, siblings, kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews—and maybe a hungry dog or two.

BASIC WAFFLES

MAKES ABOUT 8 WAFFLES

  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2/3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vegetable oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Stir together the wet and the dry ingredients, whisking to combine until the batter is smooth.

Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup of batter (depending on the size of your waffle iron) into the center of a heated and greased waffle iron, and cook according to your waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions (generally about 2-3 minutes per waffle).

PrintWHOLE WHEAT WAFFLES

MAKES ABOUT 6-8 WAFFLES

  • 2 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vegetable oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Stir together the wet and the dry ingredients, whisking to combine until the batter is smooth.

Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup of batter (depending on the size of your waffle iron) into the center of a heated and greased waffle iron, and cook the batter according to your waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions (generally about 2-3 minutes per waffle).

AVOIDING AN AWFUL WAFFLE

Waffle irons vary greatly in terms of size, the thickness of the waffle they produce, and the cooking temperature. You’ll need a certain amount of experimentation—and patience—to figure out what works best in your particular waffle iron.

Don’t be afraid to add a little milk to thin the batter if it is too thick, and a little flour and/or baking powder if it is too thin.

Many waffle irons allow you to regulate the temperature, which is helpful when cooking for a large group. For example, I like my waffles toasted lightly golden and just a little crisp outside, but soft inside—while other members of my family prefer a darker golden waffle that is crispy all the way through.

Don’t become impatient and open the iron too early, as the waffle won’t finish cooking properly once the iron has been opened. If this happens to you, however, don’t despair—even an imperfect waffle tastes good with butter and maple syrup on it!

PUMPKIN SPICE WAFFLES

These waffles have the flavor of a pumpkin pie or custard.

MAKES ABOUT 6-8 WAFFLES

  • 2 eggs – separated
  • 1-1/3 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 4 tablespoons butter – melted
  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar – packed
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, pumpkin and melted butter. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Stir together the wet and the dry ingredients, whisking to combine until the batter is smooth.

Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, and gently fold them into the pumpkin batter.

Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup of batter (depending on the size of your waffle iron) into the center of a heated and greased waffle iron, and cook the batter according to your waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions.

COOK’S NOTE: I have found that, because of the dense pumpkin, these waffles take longer to cook all the way through than do waffles made using a standard waffle batter —and be careful, because, if the pumpkin is not fully cooked, it will be very hot!

POTATO WAFFLES

These are a lot like potato pancakes, or latkes, but in the form of a crispy waffle—and not fried in oil! They can be served as a side to meat dishes, and topped with cheese and green onions.

SERVES 4

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup onion – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic – minced
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes (leftover or packaged)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • salt, to taste

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the onion and the garlic until they are limp and fragrant.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the onion and garlic mixture, mashed potatoes, flour, eggs, baking powder, salt and pepper and stir to combine. [COOK’S NOTE: My mashed potatoes were dry, so I added 1/4 cup of milk to the batter to thin it.]

Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup of batter (depending on the size of your waffle iron) into the center of a heated and greased waffle iron, and cook the batter according to your waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions.

COOK’S NOTE: I have found that, because of the dense mashed potatoes, these waffles take longer to cook all the way through than do waffles made using a standard waffle batter.

Cecily Ross

Cecily Ross has worked in magazine publishing as a copy editor, production manager and managing editor for automotive, racing and food magazines. She loves words, art, literature and, of course, food! She lives in Dayton, Tennessee, with her husband and several rescue dogs.

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