Fluffy Fig & Toasted Coconut Waffles

When friends come to town, fabulous brunch offerings are always in order. It’s great to have a handy recipe that is easy to scale up, and I ended up reaching for a trusty waffle recipe, that is easily customizable. While I kept it plain for my guests because everyone has different tastes (and there’s no limit to what you can pile on top!) I found myself yearning some fluffy fig waffles from a few weeks before, that I’m sharing now.

This recipe is a variation from The Joy of Cooking, my very first cookbook, and where I first learned to experiment with breakfast foods. Their pancake recipe was the first thing I ever made, but somehow they never turned out to be the fluffy puffy pillows that the recipe promised, and instead they were always thin and almost crepe-like. My Dad joked they were “Swede-ish  pancakes” because he loved actual Swedish pancakes a lot, and they quickly became my Dad’s favorite breakfast treat. It wasn’t until many years later I realized I had been misreading “tbsp” for “tsp” every single time I went to add the baking powder. No wonder they were always so flat!

I love how the Joy of Cooking encourages you to customize and tweak recipes, and their waffle recipe is no exception. It recommends anywhere from a quarter to two sticks of butter, with the latter promising to deliver the crispiest most delicious waffle ever. I couldn’t bring myself to use quite that much butter, and settled on a balance between butter and coconut oil for the perfect light crispiness.

When I noticed some gorgeous fresh figs calling to me at the market, I absolutely had to put them in something. I already had a coconut waffle planned (I’m just IN LOVE with all things coconut) so I thought, why not throw them in? Boy am I glad I did.



I used two kinds of coconut for this recipe: lightly toasting some sweetened shredded coconut in the oven to include in the waffle itself, and using whole toasted coconut chips that I have been putting on everything lately, for topping.



I found these coconut chips at Whole Foods, and I put them in everything from pancakes and waffles, to on top of my yogurt for breakfast in the mornings. The last time I stopped in at WF I couldn’t find these exact ones, so hopefully they haven’t discontinued them (OH TRAGEDY)! I will just have to keep stopping in…like I need another excuse to go!




These waffles are super fluffy on the inside, with a crispiness that is totally adjustable and 100% delicious. Who needs to separate whites and yolks, and beat the crap out of them? I’ve never found that this makes a difference so noticeable that it justifies the extra work. While my mix-ins are fresh figs and toasted coconut, you can add anything that appeals: other fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, banana) or dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips…endless and delicious possibilities await!

Fluffy Fig & Toasted Coconut Waffles:

  • 1 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten and at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup milk at room temperature
  • 6 oz fresh figs, roughly chopped (optional: save a few for topping)
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted (Reserve 1/4 cup for topping)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup toasted coconut chips, for topping

Note: Joy of Cooking says you can use up to 1 cup of butter/oil (while here I used only 1/2 cup of both total) so feel free to increase the butter or oil if you don’t mind that, for the crispiness of dreams. With the ratio I use above, I like the balance of crispy to fluffy, but ultimately, it’s down to personal taste. As a scientist, I fully condone experimentation!

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the shredded coconut on a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper and toast in the oven for 8 total minutes, checking in 4-5 minutes to stir. The coconut should become fragrant and start to lightly brown. The degree of browning can change drastically, so keep an eye!
  3. Mix all dry ingredients.
  4. Pre-heat your waffle iron: I prefer my waffles medium-dark.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients together, then add to the dry.
  6. Mix wet and dry ingredients, adding in the chopped fig and 1/2 cup of toasted shredded coconut. The batter will be thick, but should not contain too many lumps.
  7. I do not grease my waffle iron first, but if yours requires it, then use a non-stick spray.
  8. Add about 1 cup of batter to your iron, and cook waffle until desired level of golden brown.
  9. Remove to a cooling rack for 1-2 minutes, serve with warm syrup, topped with toasted coconut and/or fresh figs and coconut chips.
  10. Enjoy!

Serves 4 (I doubled this recipe for more people and it worked well!). Recipe modified from The Joy of Cooking Cookbook.

Up next: it’s both apple picking season and PSL time! I know that both apple and pumpkin will feature prominently in my next breakfast items, but as to what those will be…I’m not sure yet. Stay tuned!


The best cheddar thyme cornmeal waffle recipe

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…

 Aspects of this recipe were inspired by Cooks Illustrated Buttermilk waffles (seltzer water!) and King Arthur Flour’s cheddar cornmeal waffles.

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
  1. Combine first five dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the chopped thyme and stir.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Lastly, add the grated cheddar and mix until just combined. The batter will be very thick, this is good!
  5. 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!