Can’t recall the last time I’ve eaten waffles, let alone made some. Have I been missing out all these years? How can it be that I’m just now discovering waffles?
Should I invest in a waffle iron?? Really don’t have room for another kitchen gadget. On the other hand, they’re rather small, and I could manage to find space…as I’m typing “best waffle irons” into Google. To help with the decision, I’ve borrowed a waffle iron to play around with for a few weeks.
Waffles are a blank canvas. They’re accommodating to a host of flavors, sweet and savory. These beautiful, freshly-picked, intensely red strawberries (aren’t they stunning?) made my decision quite easy. Beyond their alluring appearance, it’s all about how a strawberry tastes, and they taste, well, like a good strawberry should taste. Even better, stacked on warm, freshly made waffles, a dollop of thick, creamy Greek yogurt, all drizzled with some pure rich, maple syrup (Grade B) — need I say more.
Didn’t want a traditional all-purpose flour waffle; was imagining something a little bit different. Polenta waffles are what I had in mind. The creamy polenta adds tenderness to the inside of the waffle while promoting a crispy exterior.
Tossed a handful of raw cocao nibs and mesquite powder into the batter for an added twist. Mesquite flour/powder comes from the pods of the mesquite tree. The pods are dried and ground into a powder, which has a sweet, earthy flavor with hints of caramel, molasses, and cinnamon. If you come across mesquite powder, it’s an added bonus; if not, don’t sweat it. These waffles have plenty of flavor with or without it.
Although I am no connoisseur when it comes to waffles, I think they turned out well — crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with the cacao nibs adding a pleasant textural element.
What’s the consensus, should I get a waffle iron? I see more waffles in the near future. Envisioning savory waffles next time around. Am actually imaging all sorts of varieties of waffles.
Until next time, enjoy…and eat more waffles!
Gotta love freshly picked strawberries…this particular variety is called Earliglow. After sampling several varieties, this was the hands down winner.
Waffles, Cacao Nibs, and Sweet Strawberries
makes 4 large waffles
1/2 cup polenta such as this
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat or white wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons cocao nibs
2 tablespoons mesquite powder (optional)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Strawberries, thinly sliced
sprig of fresh mint for garnish
plenty of pure, maple syrup
Cooking the Polenta. Add the polenta and 2 cups water to a pot and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the first starch takes hold, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the grains are soft and hold their shape on a spoon, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add the butter and milk to the polenta, and whisk to combine (alternatively, you can brown the butter, which imparts a really nice nutty flavor, and then add to the polenta). Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients — flour, salt, baking powder, cacao nibs, mesquite powder, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the polenta. Mix gently to combine.
Whisk the egg and add into the batter.
Preheat your waffle iron and lightly butter. Ladle the batter into the waffle iron and cook 3 1/2 to 4 minutes for crispy waffles.
Serve with sliced strawberries, yogurt, fresh mint, and plenty of pure maple syrup.