Waffles in my kitchen and around the world


Time For Waffles

The sun rises and a new day begins. I open my eyes and sniff the air and I’m galvanized into action. Waffles! I smell waffles, fresh, aromatic waffles wafting up from the kitchen. Of course, it is Sunday and my mother is in her element, making up a batch of waffles for the hungry hordes that are going to descend in to the kitchen. She also used to make pancakes on Sundays until she realized that waffles had more takers. It is now a tradition for us to have waffles for breakfast every Sunday. All three generations in our family now take it for granted.

What makes waffles so especial? Why does it give this nice, warm tingly feeling that all is right with the world? It is a comfort food that none of us are willing to sacrifice. As each one of us gets married and moves away the tradition continues in our new homes. However, nothing quite matches up to coming home to mothers waffles. We use the same recipes and put in the same effort, but mother’s waffles are in a league of their own. We still haven’t quite figured what she does that is different from our attempts at waffle making.

And yet, the waffle isn’t exactly a gourmet dish. It is basically a batter based cake (or would you call it a dough based bread?) that is cooked in a waffle iron which gives it a distinctive pattern. There are so many variations in different European countries being cooked in different types of waffle irons. The recipes vary and the shapes differ based on the waffle iron, and yet new converts are born every day. You have to try it just once and you are a slave to the waffle forever.

Waffle recipes abound and the names keep changing. You have the Liege waffle from Belgium which is much sweeter, denser and chewier than most. These have caramelized chunks of pearl sugar on the surface. The rectangular Brussles waffles are thicker, crisper and lighter, and have larger pockets. These are served with chocolate, whipped cream, fruits or ice cream and are sinfully fattening.

TIP: Loads of waffle recipes are available on http://www.waffle-recipe.com/

American waffles are based on the Brussels waffles but are made with baking soda rather than yeast. They are not only served for breakfast but are also used for a variety of savory dishes such as kidney stew.

Waffles in Hong Kong are also referred to as ‘grid cakes’. They are large and round, and eaten divided in to four quarters. They are eaten sweet and contain sugar, egg and evaporated milk, and are quite soft. Different colors and flavors are added for variety.

Stroopwafels are from the Netherlands. Thin, with a syrup filling, the stiff batter is made from flour, butter, yeast, milk, brown sugar and eggs. The warm waffles are cut into halves. The filling made of butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and syrup is spread between the two halves and helps to glue them together.

There are many more varieties of waffles to please the palate. It is really up to you to decide on your favorite. Alternatively, you can try all of them and make waffles a way of life!

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