It doesn't take much for me to pounce on breakfast. I'm more than happy to scramble an egg or two, fry some mushrooms or whip up some pancakes. And as anyone who meets me in Toronto, or comes out here knows, my first restaurant suggestion is usually one of a handful of favourite breakfast or brunch specialists.
So when Dear Friend agreed to come over yesterday to alleviate me of my wireless woes (hence the reason I'm posting this today, and not yesterday), I knew what we'd have for supper.
I know, I know, most people go for Pancakes on Pancake Tuesday, but not me, not this time. Don't get me wrong--I'm a happy flapjack-flippin' fiend--but this time, waffles beckoned. Not just any waffle, but gingerbread waffles.
I grew up only knowing toaster waffles--frozen, cardboard-like discs studded with the remnants of freezerburned, deccicated blueberries. Sure they were a bit thin and tasted of petroleum byproducts, but that woven pattern--with all those valleys just waiting to cup a few drops of maple syrup or honey or some freshly melted butter were just bliss to the seven-year old I was.
Later I discovered what I thought of as restaurant-styled waffles: light, crispy...and unlike toaster waffles, their sheer size meant that one usually sufficed. If I was blissful with my grocer's freezer's offerings, I was in sheer ecstasy over real waffles.
I don't know what possessed my parents to buy a waffle iron, when I was in university. I can only guess at a happy combination of my father's love affair with all things gadgetty, and my mother's obsession with many things kitchenny. I'm only happy my father didn't try and build one, sight unseen.
So, there we were with a waffle iron...and no recipes--the instrument must have come with some, but for whatever reason, we didn't try them. My mum tried using pancake batter, and then variants of that batter (including one that used chopped bacon) but they didn't work out well...we were stumped. I'd told them of the waffles I'd had at restaurants and they wanted to try their hands at making some.
Back then--before the time of blogs, before the Web was more than a single silken thread, and when Usenet was the place to be (well...for some of us), I posted a request for waffle recipes; a wonderful person named Linda helped me out.
Her Gingerbread Waffles are to me, the perfect waffle--not too sweet and lightly spiced, and they fill the kitchen with a wonderful, almost Christmassy aroma. They are quite popular with everyone who's tried them--no one says no to these. Heck, I even had a marriage proposal because of them (of course I said "no"...he was only interested in my baked goods).
I prefer them pooled in sticky, smoky maple syrup with little rivulets of melted butter, but they are equally good with dollops of whipped cream or warmed caramelised apple slices.
260g plain flour
1 dspn (2tsp) baking powder
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground cloves
3 egg yolks
125ml melted butter
375ml whole milk
3 egg whites
Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. Mix together the yolks, butter and milk. Add the milky yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Set aside while you beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the batter and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Truth be told, I usually make the batter the night before and let it sit in the fridge, tightly wrapped.