My wife went with one of her friends to pick blueberries on Saturday. She came home with five delicious pounds. After many agonizing nanoseconds of inner reflection, we came to the grueling decision to have blueberry waffles Sunday morning.
Waffles can be kind of tricky if you haven’t made them before. Below I list some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned while making blueberry waffles so they come out right every time.
Know your waffle iron. We use an inexpensive stove-top waffle iron for a number of reasons. First, it fits in the cabinet for the rest of the time it’s not in use. Second, it’s easy to clean because there are no electrical parts and third, it has a non-stick surface. Yes, you could go traditional and use a cast iron griddle, but when you’re making your own waffles on Sunday morning, it should be fun – not a chore. So non-stick it is. There are a lot of inexpensive electric waffle irons that are often given as wedding or house-warming gifts, but if you want durability and usefulness on both gas and electric stoves, why not go with something more flexible? Hence, the simple belgian waffle iron. If you already have an electric waffle iron that you are ready to defend, I grant you it’s probably a high-end professional model. That’s great too! So long as you know the limits of your waffle iron, you’re good to go.
I used sorghum flour for its cakiness. It adds a fluffy pastry texture to the interior of the waffle. I added the arrowroot starch to lend crispiness to the golden-brown exterior. In the three-minute resting period after it comes out of the griddle, the water from the exterior evaporates. If you cannot find arrowroot, you can substitute with cornstarch, but the results are marginally less spectacular. I used glutinous rice flour for its ability to hold moisture without becoming too heavy. Some may think that two tablespoons of baking powder is overkill, but this comes from years of experience with this recipe at about 1000ft above sea level. There are a lot of eggs in this dish, but when you parse it out, there will be four full griddles (sixteen squares) of waffles. Portion it so that everyone gets two, and you have enough for eight people or several mornings. They freeze and retoast nicely. Why the almond and vanilla flavoring? The vanilla complements the flavor of the whipped cream and maple syrup. The almond complements the blueberries. Avoid using too much or you’ll overpower the blueberries.
Update August 15, 2010: I notice that I left out the milk component. That’s fixed. I made them again today, but I substituted frozen instead of fresh blueberries. Don’t do this. You may end up with mushy waffles that stick to the griddle. The waffle batter also turns blue the more you stir it. Freezing breaks the cell walls, causing the blueberries to leak their color. Fresh blueberries will not leak as much, so the batter stays the right color.
It wasn’t entirely disastrous, but fresh blueberries do yield the best results. If you have a choice of blueberry size, go for the smaller rabbit-eye blueberries, not the large highbush. Rabbit-eye blueberries are also tastier, higher in pH and slightly drier than highbush.
Make sure your griddle is clean and just a tick below the baking temp range or your first waffle may stick.
1. Use a metal pan that has no non-stick surface. You will have to heat the pan beyond the safe heating point for non-stick pans, causing the pan’s surface to outgas and deteriorate. The consequences are bad for your food, your pan and your health.
2. It’s best to be sure the bowl is free of any oil or oil residues, as this will hamper the egg-whites becoming light and fluffy. Room-temperature eggs work better than cold eggs. You can leave them out overnight if you decide to prepare that far ahead for more consistent results.
3. Mixing the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients is a key concept in pastry-style baking. There is a window of time during which the egg-whites will be ideal for adding to the dry ingredients. Wait too long, and they’ll start to break. Mixing pastry ingredients should happen swiftly and efficiently, but gently.