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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waffles for a Rainy Sunday Morning......or Father's Day!

Pouring rain on Sunday morning was the reason for my baseball game's cancellation.  (GO CARDINALS!!  I couldn't possibly have foreseen that this year's team, with EIGHT rookies, and only ONE third-year player, would have secured a bye through the first round of playoff games.  AND a win in our first game of bracket play.)

What did I do with a leisurely Sunday morning?  I made Belgian waffles!  Waffles, strawberry sauce and whipped cream all made from scratch.  Time consuming, yes, but sooooo worth it!  Would also make a perfect Father's Day breakfast.

This recipe is an easy last-minute go-to recipe because none of the ingredients are so unusual that you wouldn't have them on hand.   Well, I suppose fresh strawberries would be something that you might not have on hand, but it's easy to keep a bag of frozen strawberries in your freezer "just in case." 

I actually prefer to use frozen strawberries for this recipe, because you will be cooking them for the syrup. Once they are cooked, it's pretty hard to tell whether the berries are fresh or frozen.  Why waste your lovely fresh strawberries on a syrup that's going to taste great no matter what?  Save your fresh berries for snacking!  Frozen berries are definitely not for snacking.  Unless you like soft, mushy strawberries.  Hmmmm, I think I've beaten this point to death.  I will stop rambling now.

Belgian Waffles with Strawberry Sauce and Whipped Cream

For the Strawberry Syrup:
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries or thawed frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
For the waffles:
  • 2 cups pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
    4 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

If you are using frozen strawberries, remember to thaw them overnight in your refrigerator.

If my rant about cooking fresh strawberries didn't scare you and you are using fresh strawberries, hull (remove the leafy tops from) your strawberries.

The leafy tops have already been removed from these frozen strawberries.  One more reason to use frozen strawberries: easier prep.  I rest my case.  From this point on, fresh and frozen strawberries are interchangeable.

Roughly chop or dice your strawberries.

In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar and orange juice.  Disclosure:  that is not anemic orange juice in the picture.  I did not have orange juice on hand.  I used pineapple juice.  Okay, you got me, it was Dole PINA COLADA juice.  As long as you add a sweet liquid so the strawberries and sugar can get syrupy, you will be fine. 

If you do not have orange juice, use WHATEVER type of juice that you have.  Fruit juice.  Not tomato juice, or kool-aid or Gatorade.  Hope I've made this clear.

Lots of rambling from me today.

Bring the strawberries to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. 

 Simmer for about 20 minutes, to allow the strawberries to soften, the syrup to thicken and the liquid to reduce.

While the syrup simmers, prepare your waffle batter.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.

If you don't have pastry flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour.  I prefer pastry flour, because it makes a much lighter, fluffier waffle, but all-purpose flour is still going to give you a decent waffle.

Place the egg yolks and sugar into a separate bowl.

You are not seeing double, I am making a double batch of waffles.  It takes minimal time to mix and cook the additional waffles, and the leftovers are much appreciated in the following days by my family.  Especially by my son.

 And since I didn't make double the strawberry syrup and whipped cream, he had to use maple syrup.  Which didn't stop him in the least.  I say "he had to" and "didn't stop him," using the past tense because--you guessed it--he already finished the leftovers.  And he polished off the maple syrup, too.

Okay, back to our egg yolks and sugar.  Beat them until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs are a creamier, paler yellow color.

Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla and whisk together.

Add the flour mixture to your egg mixture.

Whisk together, just until blended.  Do not over mix; the less you mix it, the fluffier your waffles will be.

By now, your strawberries should be done.  Turn off the heat, and allow them to cool while you finish your preparations.

Now is the time to preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.  I preheat my waffle iron to a medium-high setting.

In a medium bowl, beat your egg whites (using an electric mixer) until soft peaks form.

Gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter.  Be careful not to over mix, you want the eggs to be incorporated yet still maintain their volume.

Let the batter rest for a few minutes while your waffle iron heats up and you make the whipped cream.

Place the cream, confectioners sugar and vanilla into a medium bowl.  Using your electric mixer (with the whisk attachment if you have one), beat on "high" until the cream is whipped and fluffy.

Lightly spray the waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, if necessary, and pour enough batter into the iron to just cover the bottom. 

Close the top and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions, or until golden brown.  The waffles should be crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside.  In other words, totally fabulous.

Repeat with the remaining batter.

Immediately serve, covered with strawberry syrup and whipped cream.

Actually, I think I covered it with strawberry syrup, whipped cream and more strawberry syrup.
Toppings are good.


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