I acquired a waffle iron last week. As you can imagine, there have been a few waffles consumed at Chez Morgan since then. Not Belgian or Liege waffles, but straight up, Eggo-style waffles. As a kid, I consumed waffles on a regular basis. So much so that my grandfather used to call me the “Waffle Kid.” As an adult, waffles are an infrequent occurrence. Every once in a while I pick up a box from the frozen section at the store and gleefully indulge in a few days of waffle bliss, but if going sweet for breakfast, tend to opt for pancakes. Probably because I didn’t have a waffle iron.
Well, now I have an iron and am loving it. I was an early adopter of whole grain waffles and find that I like waffles with some whole wheat flour in them, to give them a bit of heft. Waffles with only white flour tend to be too sweet for me and make me feel like I’m eating some fluffy bit of nonsense. Whole wheat flour helps make a hearty waffle that grounds the sugary heights of syrup.
Having contemplated this whole savory-sweet issue while making straight up buttermilk waffles, it occurred to me to try making some with other savory elements. Cheese, clearly, should be a part of this, because cheese is lovely. So I started with some cheddar, then added in some walnuts and thyme; a little black pepper too. Lastly, I swapped out some of the buttermilk in favor of ale. As I spooned batter onto the hot iron, I contemplated what topping should adorn these savory rounds of goodness. Syrup, I decided. Stick with syrup, but with a little something…a little…, well, when in doubt, I reach for bourbon. So bourbon maple syrup it was to be. And so it was that Cheddar-Thyme Waffles with Bourbon Syrup came to be.
And now, a few opinions about waffles:
1. I’m having a devil of a time getting them to brown evenly. The middle cooks darker than the edges, because the batter starts in the middle and seeps out to fill the whole iron. So if you have an suggestions, I’m open to them.
2. Butter. Non-negotiable. For me, if you’re having syrup on a waffle, you need butter too. Something about the way the butter and the syrup mingle gives the whole thing depth. Plus, you know, butter.
3. Syrup. This may surprise you, but I’m not a stickler for real maple syrup. I grew up eating waffles with Aunt Jemima syrup, so that is the flavor I associate with everyday waffles. I typically have both Aunt Jemima and real maple syrup on hand and am generally happy with either.
4. Salt. I use unsalted butter for most everything. This means that I feel free to add salt to things as I feel fit. In the case of waffles, I’m a little obsessed with sprinkling a wee bit of kosher salt over the syrup. I dare you to try it. You’ll never go back.
5. Crispiness. Waffles straight off of the iron are hot and crispy and lovely. Unfortunately, waffles that sit for any period tend to lose that lovely edge and soften. (You have no idea how much restraint I’m using to keep from making an off-color joke about that last sentence.) I find that a short stint in the toaster helps crisp them up again.
6. Leftovers. If there are leftovers, and I generally make enough to ensure there are leftovers, I’m a big fan of freezing them. Just slip pieces of parchment between the waffles and them put the whole pile in a ziptop bag before freezing.
- 6½ oz All Purpose Flour
- 3 oz Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 oz Walnuts, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
- 1¼ tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp ground Black Pepper
- 2 oz Butter, melted
- 3 Eggs, large
- 1½ C Buttermilk
- ½ C Light Ale
- 4 oz Cheddar Cheese, grated or shredded
- 1¼ tsp minced Thyme, fresh
- Bourbon Maple Syrup
- 1 C Real Maple Syrup
- 3 Tbsp Bourbon
- ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
- Combine the flour, whole wheat flour, walnuts, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and black pepper. Whisk until combined.
- Lightly beat the eggs and then slowly stream in the melted butter, whisking all the while. Stir in the buttermilk and ale and then stir in the cheese and thyme.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed. It's okay if some lumps and whatnot remain.
- Set the bowl aside for 5 to 10 minutes and heat the waffle iron.
- If waffles tend to stick to your iron, lightly coat the iron with non-stick spray before each waffle.
- Add the batter to the iron ½ C at a time, using the back of a spoon to help spread the batter before closing the iron.
- Cook until brown and crispy. Serve immediately with butter, bourbon maple syrup and, if feeling particularly decadent, a sprinkle of sel gris (or other fancy salt) over the top.
- Bourbon Maple Syrup
- Combine the maple syrup, bourbon and salt in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, stirring every so often to make sure the salt and bourbon are incorporated into the syrup.
- Let the syrup simmer for about 1 minute, then remove it from the heat and let cool.
If this makes your iron smoke, you may want to press the issue with these recipes:
Leige Waffles | Peaches Please
Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLTs | Joy the Baker
Savory Pumpkin Cornbread Waffles | Minimalist Baker
Bacon and Cheddar Waffles with Caramelized Apples | In Sock Monkey Slippers