Friday, March 23, 2012

Savory & Sweet Waffles

When I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Bon Appetit I was literally transfixed with the idea of making a batch. What had me so drawn to it, other than the fact that it was a recipe for Waffles filled with salty goodness, was that I knew it would be a perfect 'Breakfast for Dinner' meal. Of course, when I started making a batch and realized just how rich, salty and butter-loaded they were, I decided they would make a great once-a-year 'Breakfast for Dinner' option.
We do have a family waffle batter recipe, although I'm not the one who usually uses it. In our house - waffles are my husband's domain. We have a very antique waffle iron, which I believe he found at his parents house and quite frankly, I'm usually intimidated by the idea of using it. Plus, we store it in a spot that's not at all easy to access and it requires too much clean up for me to ever bother with. So, I'm perfectly fine with the waffles being his thing.
However, this recipe motivated me to lug out the dinosaur iron and get to work making some savory {yet sweet} waffles. Our standard waffle recipe does contain about half the butter this recipe does - but I'm also fairly certain it makes about half as many waffles.
The thing is, there's a reason waffles use so much butter {or oil} - when compared to let's say, pancake batter. Aside from the fact that it makes them taste so mind-blowingly delicious, it also helps the waffles puff up light and airy inside and crispy on the outside.
Some changes I made to the original recipe, which I will share with you should you decide to do the same are...
I didn't have any buttermilk so I whipped up an at home substitution. If you ever find yourself in the same predicament, combine 1 tablespoon white vinegar {or lemon juice} with 1 cup of milk. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before using, then measure out the quantity you need for the recipe.
I also decided to omit the sugar from the original recipe...mostly because I wanted to see what 'savory' waffles would be like and I knew that serving these waffles with maple syrup would make them plenty sweet enough. In my opinion, they were perfect without it. 
One thing I love about adding the flavor additions in at the end {instead of adding them into the batter itself} is that I have control over what I add to each person's batch or whether I add anything at all. So, for folks who may have a picky eater at home, you can easily make a batch of plain waffles for them. I did this for one of my boys and they were perfectly sweet enough using just the maple syrup.
I also didn't bother with measuring the savory additions {in this case, I used sliced & diced 'black forest smoked' ham and shredded cheddar cheese}. I used yellow cheese because that's what I had on hand and honestly, there's not enough of a difference between the two to warrant a trip to the store.
I thought the smoked ham was perfection and the cheese adds a little touch of creamy saltiness. In fact, I would call these waffles insanely good and I hope you'll try a batch next time you want to show people just want an amazing cook you are! Enjoy!
Some other breakfast or 'Breakfast for Dinner' options you might like - Ricotta Pancakes | Ham & Asparagus Strata | Penne Frittata | Skillet Eggs & Potatoes

Ham & Cheese Waffles

Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine, March 2012
Serves 6, or more {depending on size of your waffle iron - mine yielded 20 waffles}
[printable version]
This recipe is extremely indulgent - the kind of treat you might make for a special occasion, like breakfast in bed on a loved one's birthday or an Easter brunch. You can experiment with the savory ingredients - like trying different cheeses or adding some crumbled cooked bacon in place of the ham. For those of you that might be feeding picky eaters, this waffle batter works well without the added ingredients and simply served with maple syrup.

1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs {whites & yolks separated}
2 sticks butter, melted & cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 seltzer water
3-4 thin slices of smoked ham, diced
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
maple syrup, for serving

special equipment: a waffle iron

Preheat your waffle iron and begin melting the butter while you prepare the other ingredients.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Beat the 3 egg whites in a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer until medium-soft peaks form {when the mixer is lifted away from the bowl, the peaks will droop over slightly - it helps to let the egg whites sit out of the counter for about 20 minutes before beating}.

Add the 3 egg yolks, melted butter, buttermilk, and seltzer water to another medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine well. Gradually add this mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients while whisking to combine. Fold in the egg whites until incorporated.

If necessary, coat your waffle iron with some non-stick cooking spray. Ladle a layer of batter onto the waffle iron. Spread the batter out to the edges using a butter knife, or spatula. Sprinkle a few pinches of diced ham and shredded cheese over the top, close the waffle iron, and cook until golden brown. Serve with warm maple syrup.

Notes: I've given approximate quantities for the ham and cheese because you can use as much, or as little as you'd like. Just try your best to sprinkle them evenly over the surface so that every bite has a little saltiness to it. If you'd like to serve the entire batch of waffles all at once versus serving them as they're hot out of the waffle iron, you can keep them warm in a 300 degree oven as you cook.


Joanne said...

I love sweet and salty ALWAYs but mostly at breakfast. I've always been a fan of smearing syrup all over my salted butter and eggs. So these...are kinda like love. Once-a-year-kinda love. But still love.

Bree said...

Love the idea of savory waffles-yum!

Kristin said...

In the 13 years I've lived in Ireland, I've only ever seen a waffle iron once - and I'm still kicking myself that I didn't buy it. Whenever I go back home for a visit, I always have a big breakfast out and order waffles. We have pancakes every Saturday morning for breakfast, and like your husband with the waffles, the pancakes are my husband's thing. These savoury ones sound SO good.

AquĆ­ said...

these look so yummy! I love the combination of savory and sweet!

Lauren Brown said...

These look great! We love breakfast for dinner!

Anonymous said...

Do you think these would work with half the butter? That amount of butter does seem over the top; but I have leftover smoked ham sitting in the fridge, our favorite grade B maple syrup and a waffle maker that is seriously underused! Your waffles look beautiful... Thanks for the post, Eileen

Ben said...

If you cut the butter in half, you'd probably want to add 1/2 - 1 cup more milk. As far as puffing up light goes, I've found yeast is the best way to go--I posted a recipe at that might work and has half the butter. I might try with the ham/cheese addition as I have both in the fridge. Crumbled bacon in waffles could be really good, too.

katie said...

Eileen -
Yes, I agree with you that all that butter seems a bit excessive. I'd have to say as good as these waffles were, I can't see myself making them more often than a special occasion here or there.

With that said - the standard waffle recipe we use in our house uses 1 stick of butter, which is half the amount used in these, but it yields about half as many it's all relative.
This recipe made 20 individual waffles, which is more than we'd ever need in our house. So when I do make these again, I would half the batter.

I think they would probably be just as good with less butter - and I don't think you'll need to adjust the other ingredients much either. Maybe bump up the flour just a tad.
If you do try, please let me know how they turn out because I'd be curious.

Ben - Thanks for the tips. I actually said to my husband that we should add some bacon in next time we make them. That would be so good!

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