Waffles and Sunshine
It is 8am on a Sunday morning. Coffee is brewing, the lazy dog is snoozing in a chair. The sun is shining - it’s going up to 50 degrees today. Life is good.
It’s also the middle of February.
Is anyone else torn between the joy of sunshine and balmy temperatures, and the disappointment that all blustery snowstorms have thus evaded us this winter? I’m weird that way - I like snowy days where I’m able to hibernate in front of the fire, but I also love to be outside in the nice weather.
There is a part of me that fears all this mild winter weather is the portent of a blistering summer. It seems to go that way around here - arctic winters yield mild summers while mild winters tend to send triple digit summers our way.
But, I will take my cake, as it were, and enjoy the mild weather and sun. As my thoughts turn to all the things I can do in this weather, I realize that I need to feed the crew before they too head out to their own longed-for mild weather projects around the farm.
But what to make? If it were frigid, a nice frittata in the oven or some fluffy omelettes would warm everyone up. We just had pancakes yesterday, and my crowd aren’t much for eggs plain. I glance over at my poor waffle iron gathering dust and inspiration strikes. Waffles! Crispy and golden on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside. The kiddos have always seen them as vehicles for sugar - whether it’s the fresh maple syrup we order from a lovely family-run farm in Vermont, or with the peach topping I make when peaches are in season at the farmer’s market. Occasionally they’ll do butter and cinnamon-sugar or freshly made jam with some whipped cream on top, but the preference is for "the stickier the better".
I stopped buying pre-made waffle mixes long ago. Instead I make my own dry mix and keep it on a shelf in the pantry. I stumbled upon the recipe when I was out of pre-made mix and I had the crew in full waffle-mania mode. After them asking what I had done to the waffle mix this time and declaring how tasty they were, I gave up buying mixes. I save quite a bit, as gluten free mixes tend to cost double or even triple what a “normal” mix does. Over the years I have played with the mixture - some days I add flax and use ground chia seeds and water instead of eggs, some times I’ll add cardamom and nutmeg and top them with lingonberry jam for a more Swedish vibe to our breakfasts. The possibilities are endless, and every once in a while we will halve the baking powder and spread the mix thinly on the iron to make waffle cones for ice cream.
This recipe yields about 8-12 squares in a 4-square iron, depending on how thick you make the batter and how good you are at getting a complete cover on the iron grids. I usually end up with 3/4 squares because I tend to under fill the iron. We freeze the leftover waffles (I usually make a double batch) and reheat them in the toaster oven for school morning hot breakfasts.
The waffles came out perfectly (and square this time), and the crew and I headed out to work on the farm. My project is repotting all the houseplants and gathering my gardening supplies to start my seeds in a few weeks. The sunshine feels amazing after so many dark, cloudy days, and my plants are happy to get pure sun instead of being filtered through the window glass. I swear I can see and hear them stretching for the light, soaking up as much as possible before the rain returns tomorrow (and lasts all week). I am also moving and soaking up the sun, savoring this winter gift, yet longing for a blizzard instead of rain.
Gluten free waffles (makes 8-12):
2c gluten free AP flour
2c milk (depending on flour, may need more)
1T cooking oil (I prefer safflower)
2T baking powder
1T honey (or sweetener of your choice)
1tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat waffle iron and coat with oil
2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients until combined.
3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together milk, oil, egg, honey and vanilla
4. Add wet ingredients slowly to the dry, stirring between each addition
5. Stir batter to combine thoroughly. There should be minimal lumps and the consistency should be thick.
6. Spoon batter onto waffle iron and cook until waffles are golden in color and crispy on the outside.
* This recipe can be made with fruit as well - I usually fold in the fruit right before I pour it onto the iron. We’ve found blueberries, peaches and apples all work well with this recipe. You can also add 2tsp of cinnamon to the batter if adding fruit.