Spring is here!!! Well... at least that is what I keep telling myself. Truth be told, this week I've considered packing up, leaving this frigid San Diego and moving myself somewhere tropical and steaming with hot humidity.
Yes, San Diegan's are somewhat, shall we say, "sissified"? Dip those daytime highs into the 50's and out come the jackets, hats and gloves. Throw on a scarf and you might stay warm. Something called a "cold front" has blasted through my little coastal surf town, and as a girlfriend and I faced the gale force (30-40 MPH) winds for our beach walk yesterday, that nagging thought of moving tropical was looking more and more like a better option.
This morning's early morning temps left frozen grass in the front yard and two chilly Maltese pups snuggling close together in their bed with no desire to head outside to freeze their tender little paws. Cranking the heat and wrapping my scarf (yes... in the house) just a tad tighter, I set to encourage the Spring Gods as best I could.
Pulling out my Christmas Gift, a bright and shiny new Double Belgian-Waffle Maker, the kids rose to aromas of freshly baked waffles. Having experimented over the last few weeks, I've discovered that my usual waffle recipes don't pair well with the Belgian maker, and a higher fat content seems to be key to crispiness along with a very thin batter.
With this new successful recipe under our belt, we soon found ourselves topping our perfectly crisped waffles with berries, syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar (representing snow...), and spring almost seemed a glimmer. Either that or the heat in the house was finally warming us up.
Crispy Belgian Waffles
The Belgian Waffles we know today, are in reality an American creation, though they do have roots in Brussles. Belgian Waffle Makers feature deep grids which in turn create deep pockets in the crispy finished product. Belgian Waffles are noted for their golden, crispy outside and creamy-like, moist interior. The Belgian version typically uses yeast in place of baking powder, making it necessary (but OH, so worth it!) to plan ahead. We whisk up our batter the night before, and in the morning with the batter already prepared our waffles are done in no time.
Adapting numerous recipes into our version below, we've added whole wheat or spelt flour to increase fiber and protein, replaced whole milk or cream with skim or rice milk (for our lactose intolerant family member), and decreased the amount of oil or butter to reduce saturated fats, all while still maintaining the ever popular and traditional golden, crispy crust. Toss a few berries or bananas and nuts on top of your waffle and you have a decent start to your day.
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cups whole wheat or spelt (we prefer spelt for its light, nutty flavor)
2 Tbs ground flax meal (optional, but healthy and tasty!)
1 pkg yeast - 2 1/4 tsp (we use Red Star Active Dry Yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter (or melted butter substitute like Earth Balance)
2 Tbs brown sugar (add an additional Tbs or two if you like sweet!)
3 cups room temperature low-fat or skim milk (we sometimes use rice milk)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (we made our own!)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, flax (if using), yeast and salt, whisk to combine.
In a medium bowl, add the oil or butter, sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk vigorously to blend.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, whisking vigorously again to combine thoroughly. I give it a good 1-2 minute whisk (it's good for your arms!), or use a hand mixer to combine. Note: Your batter should be thin. Add a bit more milk if too thick.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours to overnight.
When ready to use, remove from fridge. Heat up waffle maker and follow waffle maker directions.
Top with fruit, nuts or a simple pat of butter along with syrup and powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!
|One VERY cold and empty San Diego beach... winds at nearly 40 MPH sent sand stinging across the face and a chill directly to my bones!|