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Wonderful waffles: not just a quick toaster breakfast anymore, waffles are making a dent as a couture brunch favorite.

An American diner icon, Waffle House still holds a dish near to my heart--their famous Pecan Waffle. While in college, there was something very satisfying and nostalgic about those waffles, and it remained the same in every town. The ham and cheese omelet was very good as well, and I usually had both dishes to overcome the sweet-savory dilemma.

The best waffles are crisp and browned on the outside and have a moist, fluffy interior. The secret to the light crunch on the outside is using buttermilk in your recipe. Making your own batter may take a minute more than using a mix, but the extra effort is well worth it. Crispy squares to hold delicious syrup is what it is all about! If you are making fried chicken and waffle appetizers, be sure to use a recipe that will hold up and not get soggy on a platter. The same goes for a Waffle and Egg BLT.

Fresh berries are in season, and the variations are endless. Peach, strawberry, and blueberry waffles are simple to make, and with the addition of ice cream or whipped cream, you have a quick dessert. Keep waffles on hand using all of your batter. Undercook the extra waffles a bit, then wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use. Pop them into the toaster to serve as homemade waffles in a snap. Of course, my favorite recipe would have to be the Ham and Cheese Waffles with Pure Maple Syrup, simply because it conquers my sweet and savory dilemma in every bite.

BLUEBERRY CORNMEAL WAFFLES
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Blueberry syrup


Heat waffle iron to high heat Sift together dry ingredients. Mix together buttermilk, egg yolks, and butter with dry ingredients. With mixer, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, and fold into batter. When waffle iron is hot, spray with non-stick cooking spray, then pour enough batter onto griddle to almost cover edges. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of berries onto waffle and close the iron. Cook until waffle is golden brown. Repeat this process until batter is gone. Serve with warm blueberry syrup and garnish with extra blueberries.

Yield: 8-10 waffles

HAM AND CHEESE WAFFLES WITH PURE MAPLE SYRUP

What a difference pure maple syrup makes when combined with smoky ham and sharp cheese!

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1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 eggs, separated
2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup soda water
Vegetable oil
6 slices thinly sliced ham, chopped
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Pure maple syrup


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Turn waffle iron to high. In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together egg yolks, melted butter, buttermilk, and soda water; set aside. With mixer, beat egg whites until medium-soft peaks form and gently fold into liquid mixture. Whisk dry ingredients into wet, until combined, being careful not to deflate batter. Coat waffle iron with vegetable oil and pour batter onto iron, approximately 1/2 to 1 cup, depending on size of iron. Lightly scatter chopped ham and cheese over batter and close lid. Cook until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a cookie sheet and keep warm in oven until all batter has been used. Serve immediately with melted butter and pure maple syrup.

Yield: 12 waffles

FRIED CHICKEN AND WAFFLE APPETIZERS

Well, why not? This waffle recipe is from the 1963 edition of the Inverness Cook-book which has been a favorite of mine for years. It calls for oil in place of butter, so it holds up nicely with the chicken and spicy syrup.

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3 cups cake flour
Generous pinch kosher salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Tabasco hot sauce
Fried chicken, cut into bite-size pieces


Heat waffle iron to high heat. Sift dry ingredients together 3 times. Add milk, oil, and egg yolks; beat well. With a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold whites into batter. Oil or spray waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mixture onto iron and cook until golden brown. When batter is cooked, cut waffles into fourths. Keep warm until ready to serve. For Tobasco syrup, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in syrup and hot sauce. Remove from heat. Use fried chicken bites of your choice and skewer a piece on top of each waffle. Drizzle with Tabasco syrup.

Yield: 30-40 appetizer servings

SOUR CREAM WAFFLES WITH APPLE SYRUP

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5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 Granny Smith apple, seeded and chopped Pinch cinnamon
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup milk 1 cup pure maple syrup

Confectioners' sugar for dusting


In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add chopped apples and cinnamon. Stir until apples barely begin to soften, and add syrup. Lower heat and keep warm. In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks, sour cream, milk, and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Add this to dry mix and blend. With mixer, beat egg whites until stiff, and fold into mixture gently, without deflating batter. Oil or spray waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter onto hot iron and cook each waffle until golden brown. Serve immediately with apple syrup, and dust each plate with confectioners' sugar.

Yield: 6-8 waffles

SAVORY CHEDDAR WAFFLE AND EGG BLT

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
WAFFLES:

12 slices thick-cut bacon
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese

SANDWICH:

3 tablespoons butter
6 eggs

Salt & pepper to taste

Mayonnaise

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
12 romaine lettuce leaves


Heat 5-inch square waffle iron until hot Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place bacon on rack on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil. Heat in oven for about 20 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven, and reduce heat to 200 degrees. Drain bacon, and pour bacon fat into measuring cup. Add butter to make 1/2 cup; set aside. Whisk dry ingredients together; set aside. In large bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Slowly add milk and bacon fat, whisking constantly until combined. Add cheese and mix well. Oil or spray waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Fill waffle iron with batter and cook each waffle until golden brown. Keep warm in oven until ready to assemble. In a medium frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter until bubbly. Add 3 eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until whites are no longer translucent Remove eggs with a slotted spatula and place on a platter. Repeat with remaining butter and eggs.

ASSEMBLY:

Spread mayonnaise on half of waffles and top with lettuce, tomato slice, egg, and bacon. Top each sandwich with remaining waffles.

Yield: 6 sandwiches

PECAN WAFFLES WITH TOASTED PECAN SYRUP

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1 cup flour
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 stick butter, melted
1 large ex beaten
Maple syrup


Heat waffle iron until very hot. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and 1/2 cup pecans; set aside. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, butter, and egg. Gently blend mixtures together. Oil or spray waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour 1/2 cup of batter onto iron and close lid. Cook each waffle until golden brown. Warm maple syrup and stir in remaining 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Pour syrup over waffles.

Yield: 6-8 waffles

RELATED ARTICLE: tasty toppings

Dupree's Farms of Taylorsville

Pure Cane Syrup 601.782.4784

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Beelicious Honey

pricing and local retailers listed online, beelicioushoney.com

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French Camp 11 Sorghum Molasses

pint $8, quart $12, sold by French Camp Historic District, frenchcamp.org

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Pennington Farms Mississippi Wildflower Honey

local retailers listed online, mississippihoney.com

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by emily hines burgess

photography by bonnie dickerson
COPYRIGHT 2013 Downhome Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:Burgess, Emily Hines
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 2013
Words:1425
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