Like anyone, I love a good crispy waffle. Unfortunately, waffles have been a sort of kryptonite for me, in that I’ve tried so many recipes and have never found one I liked. My waffles were immediately crispy and fluffy, and then upon cooling, quickly became floppy, soggy, or both. Even folding in the most impossibly fluffy egg whites or a melting a whole stick of crispy butter didn’t save them. I’ve used coconut oil, regular oil, buttermilk, no milk. Never any good. What was I doing wrong?
Finally, I decided to investigate the trick that adding seltzer water to waffles made them impossibly crispy and delicious. This was something I could barely fathom, although the I knew it was used for this purpose elsewhere (think tempura batter…) but for some reason I had always chalked this up to myth. Well, as it turns out, not so! These waffles were by far the crispiest and most delicious waffles I have ever made: they held on to that crispness long after cooling, and they were the perfect blend of many things I love. Those things are sweet with savory, breakfast, and cheese. I love cheese.
Just in time for Valentines Day, these waffles are enough work to be special without being very laborious. They are delicious drizzled with sweet maple syrup and the leftovers are great to make as sandwiches later, perhaps with a romantic picnic. I’m just fantasizing now because it’s literally a gorgeous sunny day with a thermometer reading of -8 degrees with a -31 degree windchill, not optimal picnic weather.
For these waffles, I used my favorite brand of grocery store cheddar, Old Croc. Those Australians know their cheese!
I always feel like I’m betraying nearby Vermont cheddar when I buy it, but I love them both equally so it’s okay. I’m an equal opportunity cheese-ist.
A few other classic ingredients like butter and cornmeal really give these waffles that extra crunch! The batter was thick and I cooked it in my no-peak Cephalon waffle maker on medium/dark until bubbly hissing goodness emanated from within. Pure magic.
Next, I’ll have to work on making a well shaped waffle. Right now, I’m all about the taste. Priorities…
Cheddar Thyme Cornmeal Waffles:
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 5 Tbsp melted unsalted butter (1/3 cup)
- 1.5 cups Greek yogurt (or buttermilk)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup seltzer water
- 1 cup grated cheddar
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- Combine first five dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the chopped thyme and stir.
- In a separate bowl, or using a stand mixer, whip together the eggs and yogurt. Melt the butter until just warm, and slowly add to the eggs and yogurt as they are being whipped together. It is best to use room temperature ingredients so the butter doesn’t seize when you add it to the eggs and yogurt, but if it does that’s okay.
- Next, add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients while slowly mixing by hand, or on “stir” using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. At this stage, add the seltzer water, stirring until just combined.
- Lastly, add the grated cheddar and mix until just combined. The batter will be very thick, this is good!
- Cook about one cup of batter at a time in a pre-heated waffle iron until medium dark, transfer to a cooling rack until ready to eat.
Makes 4 medium sized waffles. Enjoy with warm maple syrup.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!