Syrup traps of love

Andreae Prozesky says it with waffles.

I suppose that when if think about it there’s nothing particularly sexy about waffles. The word “waffle” itself isn’t so great. It rhymes with “awful,” for one thing. It’s actually more silly than anything else. Then again, “waffle” is also the name for the weave of toasty winter underthings, which do have a certain northern hotness factor. Maybe that’s why I find waffles so very alluring.

Or maybe it’s just because I have a crush on my waffle iron. It’s so shiny. And pretty. And hot. The perfectly arranged squares within their quarter-circle sections, all working together to transform dollops of bubble-dotted batter into bronze discs. Beautiful bronze discs made up of thumbprint-sized indentations for butter and syrup, or for whipped cream and fruit, or for whatever adornments I might find fitting at the time. The waffle is not just a food item, it’s architecture.

Many years ago, in the kitchens of medieval Europe, cooks made waffles by heating iron plates emblazoned with a family’s coat of arms and pouring batter onto them. Oh, if only my waffle iron were able to play dress-up — with customizable pictures and messages! I could make waffles that said things like “you’re hot” or “Play The Clash” or “Dana Cooper for Mayor” or something. But alas!

But why rely on written messages when the waffles say all that needs to be said?

“Good morning,” they say. “Have some breakfast.”

Now, you could say this to a friend using just about any kind of food – a bowl of corn flakes, half a turkey-and-dressing sandwich, some chilly triangles of last night’s pizza – but waffles have an added subtext:

“I appreciate you enough to have dirtied a few bowls and plugged in an appliance.”

Now, I’m not suggesting that you need a waffle iron in order to have a good time. But if there is one lurking in your kitchen, dust it off, and if you’re thinking of buying one, you ahead and do it, because they’re great. Waffles aren’t at all difficult to make, they look impressive as hell, and they can actually be pretty good for you when you know what’s in them. The recipe below is for wheat-germ molasses waffles, but you can adjust them to suit your interests. Try replacing the wheat germ with ground flax seeds and the molasses with honey. Or swap the whole-wheat flour with a combo of oat flour and buckwheat flour and the wheat germ for cornmeal and you have something more crunchy and multi-grain-ish.

Use your waffle-making skills to whisper sweet words like “I love you and I want you to eat more Omega-3 fatty acids, so I put flax seeds in your waffles.” Or maybe something more to the point, like “let’s eat these and go back to bed.”

Send your questions, comments, suggestions and messages of love to dreae@thescope.ca

TOASTY WAFFLES OF PURE LOVE

¾ cup unbleached white flour
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup toasted wheat germ
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/8 cup molasses
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 large eggs, separated

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another very clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk, yogurt, molasses, butter, and egg yolks.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine. Gently fold in egg whites. The batter will still be a little streaky, and that’s just fine. Lazy mixing makes fluffy waffles.

Spoon about ½ cup batter onto your hot waffle iron, and cook according to your particular model’s instructions. The number of waffles will vary according to the size of your waffle iron; I get 6 Belgian-sized waffles from this recipe.

Note for the non-waffler: this recipe makes dandy pancakes, too. If you’re making pancakes you needn’t bother with separating your eggs, either. Just add the yolks and whites together to the milk mixture and proceed.

CHRIS PICCO’S FRUIT TOPPING

Singer-songwriter Chris Picco dropped by the Food Nerd Laboratory to demonstrate his breakfast mastery and cook up some fantastic Caramelized Fruit Topping to accompany some of my waffles (although Chris himself does not have a waffle iron and usually matches up said sautéed fruit with French toast).  He sliced up a couple ripe bananas and a couple red Anjou pears and threw them into a pan with some butter (two or three tablespoons, I’d wager), where they stewed down with a handful of blueberries into for about ten or fifteen minutes over medium-low heat. The result was a stunning, glossy lavender sauce, which looked oh-my-god gorgeous atop a waffle with a big spoonful of yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup. This Food Nerd particularly appreciated the contrast of the satiny bananas with the sandy graininess of the pears, and the multidimensional-ness of a folk-rock musician who enjoys making a good breakfast at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon.

You can watch a video of the waffly, saucy magic at thescope.ca. Chris Picco’s music can be heard on his myspace page.