Brinner, anyone? Yeasted Waffles for Dinner
Brinner, maybe dinfast? I’m not really sure what to call our family’s breakfast for dinner habit. But having some hearty scrambled eggs and crisp waffles for dinner is not only easy—it’s very satisfying.
So the next time your scrambling (forgive the pun) to come up with a dinner idea, grab some eggs and flour and make this tasty meal.
First, a word on waffles. Waffles can be flat and tasteless if you use a mix or throw together a quick batch. I’m not saying quick waffles can’t be good. In fact, I have a great recipe here for making a fast batch. If you plan just a little bit ahead—in the morning—you can make these super-crisp, oohs and ahhs-inspiring variety. The secret is yeast. By adding a little yeast to the batter and letting it sit out for a few hours, the waffles have a more complex flavor—and a flakier texture. The first time I made these I thought their closest comparison was the funnel cakes you get at the carnival—they’re that good (but not as sweet or greasy). You can definitely play around with the flavor of the waffles. Add a little whole wheat flour to the batter, orange zest or even almond extract. And of course, you shouldn’t forget to top off your waffles with some good, high-quality Michigan-made maple syrup. One additional tip: keep the cooked waffles warm by heating the oven to about 200 degrees and storing finished waffles on a baking sheet until all the waffles are ready.
While your waffles are cooking, whip up some scrambled eggs to complete your meal. Bag the whisk and use a hand mixer for fluffier eggs. Thoroughly blend the eggs first and then add some fixins’. I make my eggs more filling by adding grated sharp cheddar cheese and smoked ham during the last moments of blending. If I’ve got some handy, I also add just a little bit of minced onion (no more than a tablespoon). The kids never notice the onion but it gives the eggs a little bit of zing. The other key for really good scrambled eggs is to make sure that you add at least a tablespoon of butter or margarine to your skillet and bring it up to a medium-high heat before you add your egg batter. After you’ve added the eggs, go ahead and let them cook for a couple minutes before you start stirring them. Cook only until just barely cooked then turn off the heat and let the eggs finish cooking off heat. By using a few tweaks and tips, your eggs will be extra fluffy—and tasty.
Ready for some dinner-breakfast? Me too!
Quick, Hearty Waffles
This recipe is my version of a favorite from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. The original recipe calls for buttermilk, which I never seem to have on hand. As a substitute, I add a tablespoon of white, distilled vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for at least ten minutes or until it starts to look slightly chunky. If I have a lemon on hand, I’ll use a tablespoon of fresh squeezed juice to sour the milk instead of vinegar. Either way, the soured milk makes for a tangier waffle.
2 cups all-purpose flour (I usually use 1 ½ flour, ½ whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons cornmeal (fine ground or masa if you have it)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, separated
4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 ¾ cups soured milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
You’ll need three bowls to make these waffles—but don’t worry, they’re easy to clean up afterwards. In one small bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients. In the large bowl crack your eggs, being careful to separate the yolks from the whites. The yolks go into the larger bowl, while the whites should go into a smaller bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until they become just barely stiff. You can add a pinch of cream of tartar to help this process along, but I’m usually just fine without it.
Add the wet ingredients to your yolk bowl. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the dry ingredients into the yolk batter. Warm the waffle iron. Finally, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter. Cook the waffles.
Crisp, Yeasted Waffles
This recipe comes from one of my all-time favorite recipe books, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. If you don’t have a copy, I highly recommend it. I’ve even been known to give a copy—along with a baking dish—as wedding gifts. This recipe requires you to plan ahead, but just a little. And the results are well worth it!
½ teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups flour (I often use 1 ½ cups all-purpose, ½ cup whole wheat)
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
8 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)
2 eggs, separated
In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients then add in the milk, along with the butter and vanilla, if you’re using it. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for at least six hours. You could mix this before you head to work or at the same time as you’re putting together your kids’ school lunches.
When you’re ready for dinner, heat the waffle iron. Separate the eggs and stir the yolks into the batter. In another bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until soft, stiff peaks form. Gently stir the whipped egg whites into the yolk/milk batter. Bake the waffles and serve warm.