New year, new waffle iron. This was something I was asking for for a long time and I finally got one for Christmas. My friend Chris used to make these yeasted waffles when we were younger and I couldn’t wait to make them for the kids and see whether they were as good as I remembered. It wouldn’t be the same without Ms Mary Jane or Ms Buttersworth at the breakfast table, but surely I could try.
The good news is that they were a massive hit and tasted just like I remembered them. The bad news is that they are crazy indulgent, really filling, and not something I can eat every week. Or should I?
Right before recieving the iron, I listened to author Jim Collins recount the following about his partner Bill Lazier:
On the day after we turned in the manuscript, Bill had a heart attack and he had a quintuple bypass surgery. And we used to have these waffle fests at the Peninsula Creamery. And we would meet there on Saturday mornings so we’d have waffles and, a few weeks or months, I can’t remember the exact time length, we’re having one of our waffle fests after Bill had his heart attack. We sit down and just before he pulls out all this butter and he starts putting butter on his waffles and putting syrup all over the butter and creating that marvelous mixture of syrup and butter, creating that marvelous mixture of yum stuff on your waffles.
And I said, “Bill what are you doing? You had a quintuple bypass surgery. You are putting all this butter on your waffles.” And Bill just continued to pour the butter on his waffles. And then he looked up at me and he had this most marvelous expression. It was like, that was sort of a smile, but it was this. It’s hard to explain what it is. It reminds me of that line in Seneca’s, right? On the shortness of life, this is a wise person who knows how to meet death with a firm step. And Bill told me the story of going into the operating room. He said, “I bet they saw a smile on my face, because I’m going into the operating room. And I all of a sudden knew. I mean, I knew without question, that if this was the end, I’m okay with that. Dorothy and I’ve had a great run. I’ve lived my life the way I wanted to live it. I have so many people in my life who I have loved and I love. I have already had a great life, and nothing can take that away. And so I decided coming out of it, everything from here is gravy and I’m going to lead my life and I’m putting the butter on my waffles.”
Bill never confused a long life with a great life.
Don’t confuse a long life with a great life. Here’s to many waffles in the new year.
Recipe from Cooks Illustrated
- 1 ¾ cups whole milk, or low-fat milk, or skim milk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat milk and butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat until butter is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool milk/butter mixture until warm to touch. Meanwhile, whisk flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in large bowl to combine. Gradually whisk warm milk/butter mixture into flour mixture; continue to whisk until batter is smooth. In small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla until combined, then add egg mixture to batter and whisk until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, heat waffle iron; remove waffle batter from refrigerator when waffle iron is hot (batter will be foamy and doubled in size). Whisk batter to recombine (batter will deflate). Bake waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions (use about ½ cup for 7-inch round iron and about 1 cup for 9-inch square iron). Serve waffles immediately or hold in low temperature oven (see above note).