Christmas may not be our holiday, but we're hunkering down for winter vacation nonetheless. I'm wrapped in a thick blanket, my feet tucked into cozy slippers, and there's bergamot tea on hand. To go with the tea, I made a second batch of teeny tiny cookies, which I'll tell you about soon. But first things first: let's talk about breakfast.
I did a quick scan of the archives this morning and discovered that we've never discussed waffles, which seems like a moderate injustice considering how many great waffles this kitchen has seen. The wait ends now; these gingerbread waffles were too good not to share. And if, like us, your table could use just a bit more gingerbread stuff (the gingerbread, ginger snaps, and gingerbread flavored tea apparently aren't enough), waffles will do the trick.
I made them this morning, as a preview to the next few days of actual vacation. One of us was ambitiously dressing for work; I was still in gym clothes, plotting my day of errands and meal delivery and other very non-work things. The batter looked definitively like nothing special, but when it hit the iron and started to steam, the house filled with that wintery, spicy smell that says "December!" and also, "You don't have to work today." I was just listening to the waffles.
As pretty as a dusting of powdered sugar would look on these guys, I implore you: do not skip the maple syrup. No waffles have ever befitted that topping more. And I might spring for a pad of salted butter, too. You've got 31 days in January to hit the gym and work them off.
Happy holidays, friends. Stay warm and cuddly, full and fulfilled. I'll see you back here in a little while.
Update 12/26/13: It occurred to me during an exchange in the comments that you could definitely take this batter recipe and make it as pancakes. If you don't have a waffle iron, don't let that deter you! If you try it, let us know how it turns out.
Update #2: The second time I made this, I swapped out 1/4 cup each of the white flour and buttermilk, and added 1/2 cup of leftover sourdough starter. Result: awesome. I bet you could substitute up to 1 cup total, so double what I tried. As always: if you try it, report back.
Gingerbread Oat Waffles Adapted from Chowhound Makes 8 large (4-section) Belgian waffles, or up to 12 thinner round (4-section) waffles; serves 4-6
These waffles call for buttermilk, but they work with regular milk as well. If you use regular milk, but be sure to trade that teaspoon of baking soda for another teaspoon of baking powder.
2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour 1 cup (100 grams) oat flour (made by grinding oats in a food processor or spice mill until fine) 1/4 cup packed (60 grams) dark brown sugar (light brown works, too) 1 tablespoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 rounded teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 large eggs 3 cups well-shaken buttermilk 2 sticks (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted 1/3 cup molasses (any will do, but dark works especially well here) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Warm maple syrup and salted butter, for serving (optional, but not really)
In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, ginger, baking soda and/or powder, salt, and spices. Whisk to break up any lumps.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, molasses, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and use a fork to mix together in decisive, brisk strokes, just until the dry ingredients disappear.
Heat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions. (I use the "crisp exterior, soft interior" setting.) Fill the waffle iron with about 1/3, close the lid, and cook until the steam starts to diminish or your waffle iron beeps telling you the waffle is done. Serve waffles immediately to very hungry, very grateful guests; alternatively, waffles will hold in a 250-degree oven for 10 minutes or so while you finish making them.
Serve hot, with warm maple syrup and salted butter.