What you really need to make waffles is a good waffle iron. Waffle irons aren't terribly expensive and you can find some multi-taskers that switch plates to become sandwich presses. To get the best possible waffle iron, look for a unit that is made of cast iron materials and has a dial to control the temperature.
There are tons of batter recipes, each with their own unique twist on the classic waffle. Some recipes call for whole-wheat flour for a more earthy and rich grain flavor. Others use all-purpose flour, which provides more of a blank canvas if the focus of your waffles is the topping.
All of the batter ingredients should be mixed at room temperature—buttermilk and butter included.
Mix the batter just enough so that all of the ingredients are blended together with a few lumps. Leaving the lumps in will give you a fluffier and more tender waffle in the long run. A good mixture will have the consistency of pancake batter or honey—not so thick and clumpy that it's clinging to your whisk or so runny that it's essentially water.
You can premake the batter and store it in the fridge covered in plastic wrap or with a moistened paper towel covering the top of the batter container. Batter can survive about 3 days (possibly more, depending on how cool you have your refrigerator set).
Bringing the Heat
Before you get started on your waffles, check the waffle iron manual for how hot the iron needs to be pre-heated and how much batter you should use per waffle. Otherwise you’ll get crunchy or runny waffles—a real breakfast bummer.
Ladle your batter onto the iron and close it. Monitor your first waffles carefully until you are consistently getting a finished waffle that is golden or brown on both sides—depending on personal preferences. Once you have that down, it's smart to set the waffle iron's timer. One less thing to think about first thing in the morning is always good.
Storing and Serving
Once your waffles are completely baked, serve immediately. If you have some time on your hands before breakfast starts, pop them on a baking sheet in a 200 degree F oven to keep them hot until everyone's ready to eat.
One of the cool things about waffles is that they store very well in the freezer—great for people on the go. Prepare your waffles as normal, but leave them more on the golden side. Place them in a freezer bag and store. Then, when that waffle craving hits, just pull a waffle out of the freezer and drop it in the toaster to heat it.
Topping It Off
Waffles, like other fluffy breakfast cakes, are blank slates. Syrups of all kinds are the most popular and easiest topping choices since there are so many to choose from. Other options include fresh fruit and cream placed on top. Yogurt, cream cheese, honey, or peanut butter are also tasty. Get a couple of favorites going and switch it up a bit to keep your morning waffle interesting.
Got any waffle preferences?