Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's Fall Back Brunch Time Again

It’s that weekend when the clocks are turned back and somehow you get an extra hour.   No one in the household knows whether its time for breakfast or lunch. It is the perfect Sunday for an impromptu brunch. 

With the extra time, you can leisurely put together a waffle batter while you sip on some tea or coffee.  Fluffy waffles topped with fruit, syrup, compound butters or yogurt and fortified with a slice of bacon or a sausage patty are easier than you'd think, especially if everyone dresses their own.  

Since it is autumn, try some buckwheat waffles.  They may look like hearty wholewheat health fare, but this surprisingly soft flour creates a mild cake that takes any topping beautifully.  It's fun to have a little waffle toppings bar set out as the waffles pop off the iron.

I learned to make buckwheat waffles after experimenting with buckwheat crepes.  The crepe recipe requires a bit of regular flour but the waffles are 100% buckwheat flour.  This recipe is adapted from the excellent Simply Recipes version that also uses an all buckwheat flour base.

I use 3 eggs instead of their suggested '2 eggs plus extra egg whites.' The additional yolk adds extra moistness and tenderness and 3 whites are plenty to help with the waffles' stability and structure.  Also, the original recipe uses butter which can result in a heavier waffle.  I use vegetable oil instead of butter but you can use half and half.   

A really fun topping to put out with these waffles is an 'all in one' butter made with maple syrup and fruit, Maple Cinnamon Cranberry Butter.  Fresh cranberries are in grocery stores (and on sale) right now and they are easy to rinse and cook down with maple syrup and a touch of cinnamon.  Folded into softened butter, this waffle butter keeps well in the fridge for a week and is good on toast too. (See below for more interesting uses.)

If you are up really early and want to get a jump on the morning, make the waffles and keep them in a preheated oven (under 200˚F) on a flat cookie sheet lightly covered with foil.  They freeze well too.  Place sheet of wax paper between each and store in a resealable freezer bag.

Buckwheat Waffles with Maple Cinnamon Cranberry Butter
Makes 8 waffles

1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
baking powder
baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
1 cup yogurt
1 cup milk
3 eggs, seperated
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola, for example)
1-2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Combine dry ingredients (buckwheat flour through salt) in a medium bowl.
  2. Combine yogurt, milk egg yolks and oil in a small bowl or pitcher.  Stir to break up the egg yolks.
  3. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.  Sprinkle on sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.  (This small amount of egg whites can be whipped quickly and easily with a whisk but you can also use a hand mixer.)
  4. Pour the yogurt milk mixture into dry ingredients and combine so that all ingredients are moistened.  
  5. Stir into the batter a large spoonful of egg whites.  This will lighten the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the egg whites trying to pour down one side of the bowl so that most of the egg whites remain puffy.  Using a rubber spatula or large spoon, fold the egg whites into the batter by drawing the spatula through the mixture and pulling batter and egg whites up from the bottom.  When the egg wites are nicely incorporated into the batter, you are ready to eat the waffle iron. 
  7. Waffle irons very in size.  Follow the manufacturers instructions on preheating.  Place a little cooking oil or spray oil on the cooking surface and pour about 1/2- 2/3 cup batter onto iron. 
  8. Close and  cook about 3 minutes (more or less depending on your appliance, ours likes 3 minutes).
  9. Use a rubber spatula to help lift the waffle from the iron onto a waiting plate or a platter (that can go in a low oven to keep the waffles warm). 
Serve with your favorite topping including our new favorite, Maple Cinnamon Cranberry Butter.  This lightly sweetened fruit butter goes beautifully on waffles and pancakes.  If you have any leftovers, try a spoonful with roasted acorn squash.  Good on turkey or roast pork sandwiches too.

Maple Cinnamon Cranberry Butter
Makes 2/3 cup

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons softened butter

  1. Pick over cranberries and discard any soft berries and stems.
  2. Place cranberries and water in a small, heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat until berries burst and water is almost cooked out.  As the berries break down, they will release their pectin and create a thick sauce.  
  3. Lower heat and add maple syrup and cinnamon.  Cook 1-2 minutes more until the jewel red sauce is quite thick.  Remove pot from the heat and allow cranberry mixture to cool. (Hint: you have just made a simple cranberry sauce from scratch).
  4. When the sauce is room temperature, whip the softened butter - 1 tablespoon at a time- intot he mixture. 
  5. Serve immediately or store in a covered bowl.  When chilled, Maple Cinnamon Cranberry Butter will harden.  It can be rolled and sliced for serving.