It’s easy to forget the level of greatness that waffles can reach. Not the kind of waffles you toss in the toaster after pulling them out of a cardboard box, not the kind that flop over on themselves when you pick up a bite on your fork, and certainly not the kind that are dry, stiff, and tasteless. We’re talking crisp and flavorful and light and moist and fluffy with deep crannies, or as we like to call them, Syrup Buckets, and that good chew when you take a bite—the kind of chew that you can only get when yeast gets involved. That’s right: yeast. Yeast is the reason bread and glazed doughnuts and pizza dough and so many of the universe’s greatest inventions have the taste and texture that they do. It gives them that pull, that faint tanginess, that wonderful, soulful aroma—all of which happen to go stupidly well with maple syrup and fruit. There’s nothing like it. So why would you make waffles any other way? Aside from yeast, you’ll notice another ingredient swirling around in our batter that you don’t find in regular old waffles: cornstarch. We’re here to tell you, adding cornstarch seals the deal. (Whatever kind of deal you’re looking to make, serve up these waffles and you’ve got it made.) It gives the waffles tender insides and that ideal waffley crispiness on the outside. Done and done. We’re pretty sure we could run for political office on a “Don’t Waffle on Waffles”(t-shirt slogan gold!) platform so long as we passed out these particular waffles. When our amazing friend Stephanie Denzer read our post, she made THIS for us because she’s talented and lovely and as crazy about food as we are:
What a lady. We adore her. When we make our Midnight Waffles, we make a bunch. Why make just a few when you can make a festival? They don’t stick around for long, but if there are any extras, we freeze them in case of Waffle Emergencies (which are, obviously, inevitable). They freeze perfectly and are SO much better than store-bought frozen waffles, which means you can have weekend-brunch-worthy food on a non-weekend-brunch morning—like, say, tomorrow. (You might even have everything you need to make these already waiting at home for you!) If you’d rather make a smaller batch, though, feel free to cut the recipe right in half. Some recipes don’t work as well when you do that, but not this one—supremely unfussy and easy.
There’s one more fantastic fact about these waffles: we call them Midnight Waffles because you make them the night before—and at our house, it’s frequently midnight when we’re getting the batter in the fridge. Some of you might have a more reasonable bedtime (something we’re hopelessly unsuccessful at, no matter what we do), so know that the batter can be made anytime the night before you’ll be cooking these up. We love recipes like this. And we love brunch. But if there’s one thing we love more than brunch, it’s brunch shortcuts. When we wake up, we’re hungry, so anything we can do to speed up the cooking process is great news. With this batter, all you have to do is tuck it in at night (really, the night-before part is a snap), take it out of the fridge the next morning, whisk in the eggs and baking soda, and pour into your waffle iron. The whole thing takes the same or less time than regular waffle recipes AND you don’t have to wake up early to do it. When you add all this to the fact that the recipe makes a whole mess of waffles—22 of them!—it’s perfect for a crowd (or stocking up for the week ahead). It’s no-stress cooking at its best. Plus, nothing puts a smile on faces like a pile of waffles on the table. They’re our go-to when we have visitors or are hosting brunch. We like to serve our waffles with fresh fruit—whatever looks good, whatever’s in season, whatever we’re in the mood for—and, of course, we always add warm maple syrup. We love maple syrup. We’ve considered carrying it with us at all times, Buddy The Elf style, just in case the occasion calls for it. (Truly.) Lee and her friends even used to make maple syrup sandwiches (used to? …or still do…), which is a tricky proposition since you have to get them from the counter to your mouth without all of the syrup streaming out and running down your hands/arms/clothes. Fortunately or unfortunately, the only workable strategy with a 100% success rate: eating the whole thing in one bite. But. The heart wants what it wants. And in our case, it wants maple syrup. One of our favorite things about waffles is that you can pretty much put anything on them and it will be delicious. One of our new favorite waffleisms: the waffle sandwich, eaten at and perfected by the incredible Buvette in New York. We can’t even properly express just how good theirs is, but we can tell you that if you use our waffle recipe to recreate it, you’ll be one happy, syrup-smeared kid. All you need is waffles, eggs, bacon, and maple syrup. So go for it—top these guys with any and all things that your heart desires. (And um oh yeah, they make the most ridiculous base to an ice cream sundae—that’s right, a WAFFLE SUNDAE, so… food for thought.) And by the way, this is our 50th blog post! We can’t believe it. Thanks for reading!
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Makes 22 waffles
Notes: The amount of waffles this recipe makes will differ a bit depending on your waffle iron. We have a double waffle iron that makes two 4 ½ x 4 ½ inch waffles at a time. As always, when we have a choice, we will use organic, non-GMO ingredients.
– 3 cups flour
– 1 cup cornstarch
– 4 cups milk or buttermilk at room temperature
– 1 cup water, warmed to 105 °F–110°F to proof the yeast
– 2 tsp granulated sugar
– 2 packets (¼ oz. each) active dry yeast
– 6 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
– Pinch of salt
– 4 eggs at room temperature
– ½ tsp baking soda * Add the warm water to a small bowl and gently stir in the yeast. Let stand about 5 minutes until the mixture foams.
* Mix cornstarch, flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl.
* Add the milk or buttermilk, melted butter, and yeast to the flour mixture and whisk just until combined and smooth.
* Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
* In the morning, remove the batter from the refrigerator.
* In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the baking soda, then whisk the mixture into the batter.
* Preheat your waffle iron.
* Follow your waffle iron instructions and pour in the batter. Cook until crisp and golden brown on the outside.
* Serve waffles as they’re made or place in a single layer on a rack in a warm oven as they are done until all of the batter is used up.