International Waffle Day is March 25th
All About Waffles with history and recipes from all over the world!
March 25 is International Waffle Day. Amazingly enough, this day has been connected to waffles for several hundred years thanks to our friends the Swedes.
Why did International Waffle Day begin in Sweden?
March 25 is the Christian holiday of the Annunciation, when Jesus' mother Mary was told that she would bear a son, nine months before Christmas. The Swedes began the tradition of eating waffles on this day some time after the late 1600s. For more history, and the confusion between the holiday name and waffles, see the history section below. This day is also the day when Swedes celebrate the beginning of spring.
What should I put on my international waffle?
You could eat it with maple syrup or whatever other topping you are accustomed to. But why not try something else? This page will introduce you to other options that are popular all around the world. Willing to take a chance? How about Waffles Hong Kong style with sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter?
The original Swedish waffle recipe is below (notice it has cardamon, the popular Scandinavian spice), along with a healthy oatmeal waffle recipe from the US. There are also links to waffle sites around the world so you can see and try the local variations.
Happy International Waffle Day to you!
photo by elynmac
And just so you are clear...
National Waffle Day in the US is on August 24th. The end of the summer is a great time to get the waffle iron out again and make the national favorite, waffles with butter and maple syrup!
The Origin of International Waffle Day: The Feast of the Annunciation * Our Lady Day
The holiday that was the start of International Waffle Day is the Feast of the Annunciation, the day the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would be mother to Jesus, the Son of God. The festival day was always celebrated nine months before Christmas, on the 25th of March.
In Swedish, Annunciation Day is called Varfurdagen (Day of Our Lady), and the word for "waffle" is incredibly similar: Vaffeldagen. (Waffle day). And so the custom of eating waffles began on Annunciation Day in Sweden, where the similarity of the two words provided a wonderful excuse to celebrate the holiday with delicious waffles.
It is amazing to discover that the origin of International Waffle Day has deep history in the Christian church and a linguistic tongue twister!
Do you like non-sweet waffles? There are some good ideas here.
Sweden and Scandinavia
Birthplace of International Waffle Day
This recipe and photo is from The Wanderings of a Swede website.
- 3 eggs
- beaten with:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Mix the dry ingredients and add:
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Add in: 2/3 cup sour cream
- Fold in: 3 Tablespoons melted butter
- Make sure that your waffle iron is fully heated before you begin. Brush it with melted butter, and pour in enough batter so the iron is 2/3 to 3/4 covered in batter, then close the iron.
- Follow the instructions for your waffle maker. You can watch the edges, and look for the steam to begin to stop coming out of the iron if you have no instructions. If you time them, you will soon know how much your waffle iron takes at a certain setting, and can use a timer to cook them if you want to be precise.
- For traditional Swedish waffles, serve with real whipped cream and jam - cloudberry if you can find it!
Want to hear about it in Swedish?
You get to hear a waffle-eater explain it in Swedish! The proper pronunciation comes at the beginning of the video - listen carefully.
In Sweden they don't eat waffles with syrup. They eat them with Cloudberry jam. Isn't that a wonderful name? Cloudberries are a bit like blackberries. Strawberry or raspberry jam is good too, and comes in a close second, along with fresh strawberries. Yum. Don't you want some?
What is a cloudberry?
Rubus chamaemorus, a fruit that grows in arctic areas - way up north!
Maybe they should be called "ice and snow berries" because they grow in such a cold part of the world!
What do they look like and where are they found?
They look like raspberries and blackberries, but the green part of the plant does not look the same, as you can see. These beautiful berries - shining with the color of the clouds at dawn - grow in bogs, wet meadows, and marshes in the northern latitudes such as Scandinavia and northern Canada. Norwegians are so fond of them that they now cultivate them all over Norway.
What do they taste like?
They are tart, like a lot of wild berries, very juicy, and are described as being "delicate" in taste.
Do these berries have nutritional benefits like other berries?
They have lots of vitamin C, and also, interestingly enough, benzoic acid, which is a preservative. The leaves of the cloudberry plant are used as herbal medicine to treat urinary tract infections.
How are they used?
On top of ice-cream, on top of waffles, in tarts, in juices, in liqueurs, and in Canada they use them to flavor beer.
That elusive Cloudberry Jam
This is the real thing, if you want to be a purist.
Um, do you remember the Swedish Chef on the Muppets? - He made flapjacks - the cousin of the waffle
I couldn't bear to leave this out. It will make your day.
An electric waffle maker - no need for the blunderbuss!
The Belgian Waffle Maker - these are the ones with deep craters so you can put lots of topping on it. The deeper the crater, the bigger the excuse for putting on lots of topping.
Asia - Home of Unique Flavors
Hong Kong Waffles - Add sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter on top!
You can buy waffles in the street stalls in Hong Kong, and children like them for a snack on the way home from school - not just on weekends or International Waffle Day! What do they put on top? Sweetened condensed milk and probably some peanut butter too. You might want to give it a try. This photo is from christinesrecipes.com, where there is a recipe for Hong Kong Waffles. They use evaporated milk instead of real milk - the end result? A creamier texture.
Pandan Waffles from Vietnam
Yes, they are green!
Pandan Waffles are one of the favorite foods to buy from street stalls in Vietnam. They are made with Pandan fruit and coconut milk, and although they carry the greenish color of Pandan, the flavor is more of coconut. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, they are usually eaten without any extra sugar or syrup. So if you are ever in Asia and see a green colored waffle, make sure you try it. The photo is from www.vietworldkitchen.com, and you can visit them if you need a recipe.
Japanese Waffles - They look like a fish and are filled with red bean paste!
In Japan waffles are often sold in food stalls around temples and other bustling places where people need a quick hot snack. You can also buy them in boxes to take home for your family. The dough taste like waffle dough, but stuffed in-between the waffle sandwich is a layer of red bean paste. Asian people are not so crazy about ultra sweet foods, so this is a nice middle way - both nutritious as well as slightly sweet. I love these Japanese fish waffles straight out of the waffle irons. The link is listed below in the links section.
I have friends that don't like red bean paste. When my husband first went to Japan to study Japanese years ago he saw an ice cream sundae in wax form in the window of a cafe (they have lots of wax food models so you you can see what your food will look like) and went in to order one. He was a poor student, so this was a big splurge. Imagine his dismay when an ice cream sundae with red bean paste on top was brought to his table. He ate the ice cream and left the red beans and never did that again. Still, once you eat red bean paste a few times, it grows on you. I actually like it now!
You don't have to go to Japan to get a Japanese fish shaped waffle maker! You can just order them on Amazon.
Europe - Where waffles originated
Stroopwafels -the Dutch cookie version of the waffle - A small waffle sandwich with carmel in the middle
Stroop is "syrup" and "wafel" is how they spell "waffle" in the Netherlands. " The English word "waffle" comes from the Dutch, which has its origins in Middle Low German.
These cookie-wafels are outrageous. They are especially good if you heat them up in the toaster or frying pan, which melts the carmel into a molten state and heats the waffle to fragrant perfection. These can be found in gourmet shops in the US, and are worth trying if you have never had the good fortune to eat one in the past.
If you live in the Netherlands, you will be able to buy these in the markets and enjoy their fragrance right after they are made. Lucky Dutch!
photo by elynmac
Which came first, the waffle cookie or the plain waffle? - No one knows. But here are some gorgeous plain waffle cookies from the Netherlands
The origin of the word waffle:
From the Dutch wafel, also the source of the word wafer. The earliest time it was used in print in English was approximately 1744, when used to describe a social function called a wafel-frolic. What were they up to? It was an evening devoted to making and eating waffles.
The Liege Waffle from Belgium
With a crispy layer of caramelized sugar - no syrup needed
When we hear the word "Belgian" put together with the word "waffle" we instantly think of the deep-cratered waffle that was popularized during the world's fair in New York City during the 1960s that was served with strawberries and whipped cream. I can tell you how good they were because I ate quite a few of them on my visits to the fair. But this one is different - a Belgian Waffle, but from the town of Liege, where some genius cook came up with this version of waffles many years ago.
Check out the caramelized sugar coating... it is cook onto the waffle, so timing and temperature are critical for cooking this beauty. Link to the best recipe is below in the links section.
Dutch Waffles - disappearing in a cloud of whipped cream!
Dutch waffles that you can buy on the street have a different texture than the ones you can find in the US. They are more chewy, and have an almost caramel taste to them. Usually eaten with plain confectioner's sugar sprinkled on top, they can also be drowned in whipped cream. Or even more outrageous, with whipped cream and cherry sauce, similar to a Belgian waffle. Yes, I had a latte too!
French Gaufrettes Waffle Cookies - Just a little naughty
In the North of France you can find a waffle cookie called Gaufrettes Amusantes, which are waffles with a sense of humor. The waffles have funny phrases stamped on the cookie that will give you a good laugh. What do they say? Things like: "Allo Cheri" - "Hello Darling" or the one shown here: "Cha n'vaut pas un pet d'lapin" (it's not worth a rabbit fart). Now that's a sense of humor to get you laughing during tea time!
Pizelle - The Italian Waffle cookie
One of the earliest waffle creations
Pizzelle are a traditional Italian waffle cookie that can be either hard and crisp, or else can be soft and chewy, depending on the ingredients and where the cookie recipe originated in Italy. The traditional flavors are lemon peel, anise, or vanilla. The cookie part is stamped with a pattern which is very beautiful, and they are often covered with sifted confectioner's sugar, which makes them a great cookie for Christmastime.
Pizzelles can be rolled up to make cannoli tubes, or sandwiched together with hazelnut or cannoli cream in the middle. When I was a kid I didn't think these had much taste. At least not the ones in my neighborhood! But with older tastebuds, I am getting to like them a lot. And if you add cannoli cream? Wow. They are awesome.
North American Waffles
Healthy and Light Oatmeal Waffle
Crispy and Chewy
This is my favorite recipe. We live in China, and for years it was impossible to get maple syrup. We discovered that jam was a wonderful substitute, and love all kinds - raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, apricot, plum, and peach. If you add some whipped cream, the fragrance and flavor deepens and you might not be able to stop...
- Put to soak in a bowl:
- 2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
- 4 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 egg yolks (save whites to add in at the end).
- 3/4 cup oil
- Assemble Dry ingredients:
- 2 cups flour
- half whole wheat works well.
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- Mix the dry with the wet
- stirring until barely mixed. Then fold in:
- 4 egg whites
- beaten until stiff.
- 1. Put all the liquid ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes to soften the oatmeal.
- 2. Assemble the dry ingredients and fold them in to the wet until just barely mixed.
- 3. Beat the 4 egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the batter.
- 4. You are ready to cook them in your waffle maker in the usual way.
- You can serve them whole, or cut them into hearts for the people you love.
Cheddar and Bacon Cornmeal Waffles
International Waffel Day was brought to Canada by their Swedish settlers, and has adapted to the frosty northern environment and cuisine. When it's cold, you need some real protein, and this is the result. Eggs Benedict with Cheddar sauce on Bacon Waffles. This recipe will keep you feeling full for hours! The photo and recipe are from Canadian Living, where you will find full instructions for this waffle.
A waffle joke
What do you get if you cross a dog and a waffle?
More fun waffle recipes from around the world!
This is the recipe which recommends sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter. Maybe it would be tasty? Think peanut butter cookies? Or you could add some chocolate syrup...
These fish shaped waffles are sold in street stalls near temples and other bustling places. They are delicious hot out of the waffle iron, and are good cold too. The traditional recipe has red bean paste in the middle, but this recipe called for an apple raisin filling, which I thought might be a more familiar taste for most people.
The salt in the caramel sauce takes away the ultra sweet taste. This is a classic European flavor, similar to Dutch Stroopwafels.
These waffles are listed as being light and airy, with Italian Prosciutto ham baked into them. No need for sausage or bacon here!
Traditional Liege Waffles This is THE recipe if you want to make the traditional Liege waffle. It is made with yeast, and the outside has caramelized sugar. Absolutely gorgeous, but not easy to make.
It could be that stroopwafels are the earliest form of waffle with their Dutch heritage. In my mind they fall under the category of gooey cookie, but this is probably the mother of all wafels, so who am I to say what is cookie and what is waffle?
Pizzelle means "small, flat, and round" in Italian. They have a long history and have been popular in Italy since the 700s. This recipe came from an Italian grandmother - you will like it. A pizzelle iron is necessary to make them, but they are available on Amazon and in gourmet shops.
US and CANADA
Really? Yes indeed. It is a popular soul food for Americans in the south, according to Emeril Lagasse. This is waffles topped with fried chicken and sloshed in butter and maple syrup. Chef Lagasse adds creole seasoning to spice it up!
So many people are concerned about their health these days, that these whole grain waffles have been reviewed by 400 plus people and are very popular on Allrecipes.com.
An American invention, these are the cozy Sunday morning version for sweet potato lovers.