12 July 2012

Waffling Hyperbole

Oh, oh, oh. Great sadness in the world: Marion Cunningham has died. And while her New York Times obituary came complete with a recipe, it wasn't the recipe, it was one for coffee cake. Now, honestly, there's nothing wrong with coffee cake - I could do with a slice at about 4:00 most afternoons - but her hands-down absolute-best make-this-Sunday-morning recipe was the waffles. Raised waffles. Crispy, tangy, light, tender, thin, buttery, yeasty waffles, like nothing you've ever had before. They're easy, too, but you have to start them the night before - mix up the batter, let it sit, add some eggs in the morning and go to town. Yes, you need a waffle iron, but don't you have one? Everyone should have a waffle iron, preferably a vintage one, chrome, with a cotton-covered black and white cord.

I first had these at a bed and breakfast in California, the kind of bed and breakfast that hands out copies of the recipes for the home-baked goodies they fed you that morning. There were two winners, an apple French toast, which I make for Christmas breakfast almost every year, and these waffles, which we make about once a month, just because.

Promise me this: you'll try these waffles, and you'll toast Marion Cunningham with your morning coffee. Even though I never met her, I feel confident in saying it's what she would have wanted. Besides, they really are the best waffles ever.

Marion Cunningham's Raised Waffles
[originally from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and now all over the intertubes]

1/2 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Use a rather large mixing bowl — the batter will rise to double its original volume. Put the water in the mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes. Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour to the yeast mixture and beat until smooth and blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the eggs, add the baking soda, and stir until well mixed. The batter will be very thin. Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into a very hot waffle iron. (Use a regular one, not one of those very deep Belgian waffle makers.) Bake the waffles until they are golden and crisp.

Theoretically, the batter will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. We prefer to bake it all off, and freeze any extra waffles, because, it probably goes without saying, we don't buy frozen waffles in our house.


Kizz said...

I think it says a lot about me (not all of it good) that when I read this I was devastated to hear that Marion Ross had died. Whoops.

Joybells said...

I intend to make these for a surprise Saturday morning breakfast. This is why I have announced it on the Internets--to maximize the surprise. Thanks muchly for the recipe!

Janet said...

I'm with Kizz...I thought it was Mrs. Cunningham from Happy Days!

That being said, I'm surprised I don't know of this Marion Cunningham. She has quite a few similarities to Julia Child, no? Tall, came to cooking late, from CA...

I looked at her coffee cake recipe and it looks wonderful. My Mom made the best coffee cake ever, and it had a thin line of a brown sugar/walnut/cinnamon in the middle and sprinkled on top. I'd add that to Mrs. Cunningham's! I liked the hidden sweetness and the sharp almost bitter taste of the walnuts.

Those waffles sound amazing. It wouldn't hurt to start a tradition of waffles this late in life, would it? :-)

S said...

I WILL try the waffles, thankyouverymuch.

readersguide said...

I think I may have these waffles tomorrow morning. I wish I could have the coffeecake this afternoon --

mayberry said...

We DO have a waffle iron. We have THREE, which is ridiculous, but maybe we can justify it for these...

Carol Steel said...

Yummy...thanks for this.

Cathy said...

I love Marion Cunningham and own several well-worn cookbooks of hers, including The Breakfast Book, The Supper Book and Lost Recipes. In her honor, I plan to bake her spectacular blueberry-cranberry loaf, deviating slightly from her recipe by using muffin cups instead of a loaf pan. It's a fabulous recipe.

leanne said...

I need a waffle iron :) I really, really should buy one. I LOVE breakfast food.