January 27th, 2010
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Winter weekends sure can be a mixed blessing. You’ve got an entire day spread out in front of you with endless possibilities; time on your hands and hours to make just the way you want, and yet, if you’re like those of us in Minnesota, you often wake on those long days to crackling cold air and sunshine thats full of promise but delivers nothing in warmth.
Those are the days that just require waffles.
There’s something about a crisp and aromatic waffle that deems it a culinary perfection for a chilly winter morning. A morning that you know needs to lead to a productive day. A morning where the coffee pot seems to be endlessly working, where your pajamas are often more desirable than a pair of blue jeans, mornings such as one that finds you casually sipping your brew, and noticing that the bright sunshine has highlighted your neglect of the vacuum cleaner, the dustmop and a Swiffer cloth or two.
I’m sure others can relate, right?
I grew up with Sunday morning waffles. It was eagerly anticipated to come down the stairs to the pungent scent of the percolator on the stove as it bubbled away, competing with the creaky old waffle iron, hissing emphatically, cranking out perfect rectangles of golden hued delectable treats. I do love pancakes, especially ones that stray off the beaten track of breakfast food; pancakes with shredded apples and yogurt in them, bananas and pecans in a whole wheat pancake, chocolate chip flecked ovals cooked to soft perfection and then topped with summer cherry sauce. Pancakes even spread with peanut butter and eaten out of hand. Oh, do we know about pancakes in this house, yes we do. But waffles, why there is really no other means needed to enjoy them other than good butter and syrup, because the waffle, in all it’s dented glory is the perfect palate to top with a few slices of cold butter and then drizzle warm maple syrup over to run through tunnels, cubes and edges to dress them in sweet buttery delight. Those edges crunch, the syrup absorbs and the bites come together in the mouth, a marriage to linger over, knife and fork in hand, coffee to the side. I’ll eat pancakes for dinner, and often we do, but waffles are strictly breakfast, and best on the weekends when their sturdy personality buoys you up for the long day ahead.
And who wouldn’t love the crunchy and wholesome addition of some cornmeal to the waffle?
I’ve made cornmeal studded pancakes before, and really, they’re pretty good and all, but there’s something about the added crunch of cornmeal on batter placed in the waffle iron that just sort of gets me right there. I don’t know how to describe it any more than that. And when I came across the recipe for these crunchy beauties on Kristin’s lovely blog, somehow I knew I would adore them like a treasured memory so I put together a double batch. People, I made waffles for hours, it seems. Hours. Did I care? Oh no, not at all. You see, after I made the first one and dressed it appropriately, I consumed it with gusto. My tummy, loving the introduction of it, politely asked for another. And I complied. The batter seemed endless, but I stockpiled waffles for the next few days and two packs to go into the freezer. We are happily away in waffle ecstasy. Don’t bother to look for us, ok? We’ll be fine, really and I will come back when they’re gone and do it all over again.
Oh yeah, and after I ate that delicious breakfast, it spurred me on to clean my house from top to bottom and boy, did it look nice in the dazzling but cold winter sunshine then. All thanks to a perfect little cornmeal waffle.
Buttermilk Cornmeal Waffles
(from Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Recipes, slightly adapted from Gourmet magazine)
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stoneground
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
6 tablespoons vegetable oil plus additional oil for brushing waffle iron
Into a large bowl sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Repeat sifting 2 more times.
In another large bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Add flour mixture all at once and whisk just until combined.
Preheat a waffle iron and preheat oven to 200 °F.
Brush waffle iron lightly with additional oil. Spoon batter into waffle iron, using 1/4 cup batter for each 4-inch-square standard waffle and spreading batter evenly, and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm, uncovered, in middle of oven. Make more waffles with remaining batter in same manner, brushing waffle iron with more oil before adding each batch.
Serve waffles with syrup.
September 30th, 2009
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You’re not a potato, my chalky tuber. You are not even really considered a yam, by the true means of the word. But to avoid confusion and misunderstanding, you are required to carry the moniker ‘Sweet Potato’. You are golden, bright orange, pale yellow and the color of a sunrise, at once starchy and dry, as well as moist and tender. You make amazing oven fries, stunning side dishes, distinct risottos and perfect pies. You have that multiple personality trait down to a science, don’t you? Who would have thought that you were distantly related to gorgeous Morning Glory flowers? And aren’t you the healthy one? Rich in antioxidants like beta carotene and Vitamin A, complex carbs and fiber, you rank awfully high on the nutritional value chart, giving us iron and calcium to boot. Oprah is a big fan of you, lucky spud. That pretty much guarantees you’ll be the talk of the town, doesn’t it? We can come by you quite inexpensively too, although no one can call you cheap- you are a class act, my friend. You hold up well to storage too. And thankfully, you are in great supply, for our demand for you is high and you’re readily available all year round. And if we choose to cook you, mash you and store you in the freezer, you never complain. And patiently you wait for us to bring you back out and make something wonderful from you.
Like these muffins. Thanks for offering up all your golden glory to a humble breakfast and snack food.
You and I, though, we haven’t always been friends, and I’m sorry I ignored you all those years. Think of the fun we would have had! But no matter. We’re tight now, and that’s all that counts. I love it hanging out with you, and am so glad I introduced you to my good pal oatmeal. The two of you make quite a pair in this delicious and stout muffin, don’t you?
I’m not at all jealous that you get along so well, in fact, I really like it when my friends find something good about each other, something they enjoy that has little to do with me. I was happy to introduce you two; it seems to be a match made in heaven, and how easy is it to get you two to hang out? Really, it takes little effort, and for my gain I get delightful and simple muffins that speak poetically of Fall, warm with cinnamon and nutmeg and the hearty toothsome bite of whole oats. Not to mention that sweet tender tang of you, my tuberous pal. I’m so glad I gave you more than a passing glance. We’re great friends for life, yes we are.
Oh by the way, have you met another good friend of mine, her name is sweet cream butter?
Oatmeal Sweet Potato Muffins
from the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission
1 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 c. flour (AP or Whole Wheat, or both)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1 T. ground flaxseed
1 c. cooked and mashed sweet potato
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. canola oil
1/4 c. skim milk
1 large egg
1 t. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400°. Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk oatmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and flaxseed. In another small bowl, combine sweet potato, brown sugar, oil, egg, milk and vanilla, whisking to blend well. Pour over dry ingredients and stir to combine. Mix until just moistened. Scoop into muffin tins and back for 15-20 minutes. Check at the 15 minute mark- these bake up quickly.
This recipe doubles really easily. I doubled it using both AP and whole wheat flour and the result was nice and firm. You can substitute pumpkin for the sweet potato, or use garnet yams. Be sure that the vegetable is cooked and mashed well. I used soy milk in mine and it works just fine. For one batch of these, I added 1/2 c. of flaked coconut, and I think chopped and toasted pecans would be wonderful in these.
For an extra level of flavor, you can top these with a crumb topping made from 1/4 c. oats, 1/4 c. flour, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1-2 T. softened butter and 1 t. vanilla extract. Combine these well and sprinkle over the muffins before baking. I have not used it, but imagine it would be excellent.
September 29th, 2008
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Overnight Apple-Date Muesli
By Robin Asbell, The New Whole Grains Cookbook
1/2 c. slivered almonds
2 medium apples
1 1/2 c. nut milk, or other milk
2 T. maple syrup
1 1/2 c. thick rolled oats
1/4 c. soy protein powder (optional)
1/2 c. pitted dates
Preheat oven to 325 and spread almonds on a baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool.
Get out a large storage tub or bowl with a lid. Quarter the apples and core, then shred right into the bowl, skin and all. Add remaining ingredients, including almonds, and stir well to combine. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, stir thoroughly. Spoon desired amount into individual bowls and serve cold, or warm in the microwave for up to 2 minutes per bowl.
I tried this the first time with the protein powder and decided I didn’t care for it, but that’s just me. I always, always, always add in about 2-3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to this, regardless. I double it and we enjoy it for several days. It will get softer and a bit less flavorful the longer it sits, but if you’re like us, it rarely lasts that long.
I am not a fan of dates but I. Love. Figs. so I chop those up into it instead. The variations on this, like I said, are infinite. Use raisins, currants, dried cherries, craisins, dried apricots or any type of dried fruit you like in any combination; vary the apple flavor by going tart or sweet; add in a multitude of nuts, use other cereal flakes, like barley. Skip the maple syrup or use an alternative, like raw or maple sugar sprinkled over the top before you eat it. Give it your own fingerprint and I’m sure it will also become a favorite for you.
January 1st, 2007
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Blueberry Bran Muffins
Mix in bowl until blended: 1 ½ c. buttermilk; 2 large eggs; 2 T. butter, melted; ¼ c. oil; ¼ c. real maple syrup
Add: 1 ½ c. All Bran cereal
Mix to combine and allow to sit at room temp. for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add in: 1/3 c. minced dried apricot, mango OR peaches (I used peaches this time)
In separate bowl, sift together 1 ½ c. AP flour; ½ whole oats, or packaged 7-Grain cereal (like Bob’s Red Mill), ¼ c. brown sugar, 1 t. EACH baking powder and baking soda, ¼ t. salt.
Add in wet ingredients, blend only until incorporated; stir in 1 c. frozen blueberries
Scoop into muffin tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with paper cups. Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes until tops are firm and slightly browned. Cool 5 min. in pan and remove to cooling rack.
October 3rd, 2006
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Pumpkin Maple Muffins
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk these ingredients together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute any whole wheat flour)
1/2 C. pecan meal (1.5 oz. pecans, ground)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
In a separate bowl, whisk together these ingredients:
1/3 C. maple syrup
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 C. pumpkin puree (I use canned)
1/2 C. buttermilk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 C. butter, melted
1/3 C. raisins
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
- Immediately spoon batter into a greased 12-cup muffin tin.
- Place in the center of a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Check muffins after 20 minutes, muffins are done when you lightly touch the top of one of the muffins and it springs back.
- Let cool for five minutes in the pan and then remove muffins and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Here’s what I did differently. I had no pecans, and I am not a huge fan of them (my mother was the Pecan Queen in a previous life, and then she became my mom and made everything with pecans….I, however, have a choice now) but I did have almonds so I ground up those and used those instead. I had no real buttermilk, so I did the milk/vinegar trick. I used 2 tbsp. of butter instead of 4, and subbed in some unsweetened applesauce and of course, since I am a flaxseed freak, I ground 2 tbsp. of those little beauties and added them too. I skipped the raisins.
FABULOUS…moist, earthy, wholesome, grain-goodness and so flavorful.
And the best part, naturally, Griffin took one bite of a ‘warm from the oven’ specimen and fell over on the carpet, rolling around moaning. He is following his Mom’s footsteps in his passionnate love for anything food. Plus, he really doesn’t like pecans.
recipe from Nicole, of Pinch My Salt food blog
September 3rd, 2006
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Sunrise Whole Grain Waffles
Mix together: 1 c. flour, 1 c. oat flour, 2 T. ground flaxseed, 1/3 c. rye flour, 1/3 c. cornmeal, 4 t. baking powder, 1 T. sugar and 1/2 t. salt.
Stir together: 2 eggs, 2 c. liquid (i have used buttermilk, straight milk and a milk/water combo- all are great) 2 T. canola oil and 1 t. vanilla extract.
Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.
September 1st, 2006
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Everyone knows that more whole grain is always a good thing to eat. I love granola, as does Mike and yet I won’t spend the abhorrent amounts of money asked for in a store to buy a 10-oz bag of granola that will disappear in one sitting in my house. I found the origin of this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine and embellished it to include more grain and flavor. It makes a big batch all on it’s own, but I double it because we can eat it on so many things.
In a large bowl combine 2 c. regular oats, 2 c. barley flakes, 1 c. oat bran, 1/3 c. ground flaxseed, 1/4 c. chopped almonds, 1 t. ground cinnamon and 1/2 t. nutmeg. In a small saucepan stir together 1/3 c. orange juice, 1/3 c. honey, 1/4 c. packed brown sugar and 2 t. canola oil. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in 2 t. vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to coat. Spread on two cookie sheets coated with non-stick spray and bake at 300 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10-15. Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with dried cranberries and/or dried blueberries to taste. Allow to cool and store in airtight container.