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Attack of the Killer Waffle Batter

Just in case you were wondering... yes. The rumors are true. Our Bee Sweet Bake Sale for Earth Day last week was a sweet success (probably one of our biggest in-office bake sales to date) with a menu consisting of such treats as:

Honey Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
Banana Bread with Honeyed Cream Cheese
Chocolate-Honey Mini Cupcakes
Spicy Ginger Brownies (honey-free)
Honey Peanut Butter Cookies
Whole-Wheat Honey Fruit Squares
Honeyed Hot Masala Chai

...and an ambitious (and delicious) Spicy Caramelized Onion and Fontina Cheese Pizza on Wheat-Free Teff Crust with Kalamata Olive & Honey Glaze (it was delightful).

Bee Sweet Bake Sale

My contribution came in the form of Honey Sourdough Waffles with butter, powdered sugar and a homemade Honey-Berry Syrup. And I'm going to tell you right now, the waffles turned out to be light, crisp and quite tasty, but they scared the hell out of me.

Let me tell you a little waffle story, then I'll give you the recipe to try... if you dare.

Based on the wild success of freshly cooked waffles at previous bake sales, I figured I'd bring out the waffle iron once again for this bake sale.

This time I thought I'd let the batter go overnight to give it extra flavor and y'know... personality. Well, this waffle batter had personality to spare.

When I woke up and opened the refrigerator door, there was a batter fountain flowing down the side of the refrigerator and across all the food below. Wow. That's not the nicest way to wake up.

After a 25-minute clean-up job, the batter was still bubbling, still threatening to erupt across the kitchen... but it was all worth it, right? Delicious, no?

Actually, no. I had a little sample and it tasted terrible. Simply horrid. Like spoiled milk. I wanted to cry.

I took it to work anyway. What was I supposed to do? I had a bake sale to support. And I had this irrational thought that cooking it might make it taste better. In waffle form, maybe it'd shape up and taste tangy and delicious. But I really didn't have much faith.

In any case, I stirred it up to keep the burbling growth at bay, put the lid back on it and carted it to work, terrified it would explode in a sticky, globby mess on the way.

Erupting Waffle Batter
Even at the office, it's threatening to spill over the edge of the jar...

Then at work, well... I wish you could have been there, because it was a waffle miracle. I fired up the iron. I ladled the batter. There was sizzling and steaming. And wonder of wonders — it tasted fine. Better than fine. It tasted terrific. Airy, crisp and full of yeasty flavor. A delight with melted butter.

Dozens and dozens of waffles were made. Money was donated. People were happy.

Would I do it again? Yes, but I'd either increase the size of the jar or halve the recipe.

And I'll give you the warning I should've given myself: if you let the batter burble overnight, you must give it the opportunity to triple in size. My jar was 3/4 full when it went into the fridge and that was a big, dumb, messy mistake.

So this recipe isn't officially sourdough, since it's not made with a sourdough starter, but since the batter is awfully sour, I'm calling it sourdough and nobody is going to stop me.

If you're paying close attention, you'll notice it's loosely based on the "My Mother's Waffles" recipe by Ruth Van Waerebeek that I posted a couple of years ago.

Honey "Sourdough" Waffles (Makes about 20)

2 packages active dry yeast
4 cups milk, warmed to 100°F
3 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1/2 cup honey
Pinch of salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 large egg whites

To Serve (choose one or more)
Fresh whipped cream
Berries or cut fruit
Powdered sugar
Butter
Maple Syrup

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in one cup of the milk.
2. In a large, rooomy mixing bowl (the dough will double or triple in volume), whisk the egg yolks, melted butter, yeast mixture, honey and salt.
3. Gradually sift the flour into the batter. Alternate additions of flour with the remaining milk, stirring the batter after each addition.
4. Loosely cover and let the mixture develop overnight in the refrigerator.
5. The next morning, stir the batter, adding a splash of water if it seems too thick.
6. Beat the egg whites into soft peaks, then fold the egg whites into the batter.
7. Heat the waffle iron and bake your waffles according to the manufacturers' instructions. I use a ladle to portion the batter, but some recommend transferring the batter to a pitcher and pouring it into the waffle iron.
8. Immediately serve baked waffles with butter and powdered sugar or whipped cream and fresh fruit. To store leftover waffles, make sure you cool them completely before wrapping well and freezing.


Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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4.29.2009

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