Saturday Morning, something amazing happened. Despite getting to bed at an ungodly hour, I rose, bright and early, full of energy, and with only one thing on my mind.
Shocking, I know.
After the cast iron pan, this is one of the top Christmas wins this year. This cookbook, updated from the original home cook’s bible, The Gourmet Cookbook, is essentially an anthology of anything and everything one could desire to create in their home kitchen. From cocktails to casseroles, five course dinners to puff pastry, Gourmet Today has it all.
And that includes one hell of a breakfast section.
As kids, Saturday mornings spelt leisurely hours passed by watching the best cartoons that TV had to offer, staying in your pajamas way too long, and eating the “good” breakfasts. No frosted flakes and chocolate milk on weekends - no, Saturdays meant chocolate chip pancakes, french toast, fried eggs and bacon. Stuff that took way too long for mom and dad to whip up before school on a Wednesday. And so this Saturday, as I lay in bed, meandering through pages filled with Ricotta Cornmeal Crepes and Deep-Fried Poached Eggs, my mind wandered back to those good ol’ days.
Then I stopped. I had come across a recipe for crispy belgian waffles, and I couldn’t look away. Thoughts of powdered sugar and maple syrup filled my mind, and I sighed – we didn’t have a waffle iron. But then, I remembered a small device I had spotted in the back of our closet a few months earlier while digging for Christmas decorations. It’s probably a panini press, I thought. But on a whim, I got up to check, and sure enough, it was an old, dusty, cracked waffle maker from Cara’s college days.
One quick trip to the market downstairs and an aggressive scrub of the waffle maker later, I plated up these puppies for the guests in my apartment. They are fluffy, sweet, and have a crunchy crust on the outside. The homemade syrup was an on-the-fly creating that can be made with nearly any type of berry, and proved to be a delicious addition. And don’t be deterred by the use of seltzer, the “secret ingredient” – the effervescence is what you can thank for that crisp shell and fluffy inside, having the same effect as beer used in beer battered anything.
Belgian Waffles with Sweet Blackberry Sauce
This recipe takes about 25 minutes, makes about ten 4-inch Belgian waffles, and requires the following:
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Slightly rounded 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups seltzer or club soda (a new bottle)
- And, of course, a waffle iron
- 2 cups of berries (blackberries, preferably)
- 1 rounded tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
To make the waffles, preheat the waffle iron, and at the same time, preheat the oven to 200 degrees – you’ll store the cooked waffles in here to keep them warm while the others cook up.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and eggs and whisk until smooth. Then add the seltzer, and stir well until combined. Be careful not to over-mix, however, or the seltzer will flatten.
Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil or spray with some non-stick cooking spray. Spoon the batter into the iron, using about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter for each 4 inch waffle. Cook until light golden brown, then transfer to the rack in the over to keep warm.
While your waffles are cooking, or after they’re made, you can make the berry sauce. This is very simple – you just add the berries, white and brown sugar to a small saucepan, and add enough water to cover the berries about halfway . Let this simmer over low heat until the berries start to break down. If you want the berries to maintain their shape, you can remove them once they start to soften (blackberries will turn from black to red as they cook; once they are red, you can remove them). If you want the berries to break down completely, creating a thicker sauce, leave them in the pan. Then, allow the remaining liquid to simmer, stirring often, until it thickens into more of a sauce or syrup. Add the berries back in, and spoon the entire mixture over your waffles. Serve with powdered sugar, and if you really feel like going the extra mile, a little more butter can’t hurt.
What better way to start your day? There’s a reason why they say breakfast is the most important meal…