Food writer and ADN columnist Maya Wilson is launching "The Alaska From Scratch Cookbook," this week. She'll have a book signing at Bear Tooth Grill from 4-6:30 p.m. Monday. Bear Tooth will also be featuring specials inspired by Wilson's recipes and have copies of the cookbook on hand for purchase. 1230 W. 27th Ave. (alaskafromscratch.com)
In lieu of a big layer cake for his 13th birthday this past year, our middle son requested buttermilk waffles from scratch. While at first I was a bit sad, I quickly dispensed with tradition and made the waffles, finding myself relieved by their ease. The funny thing is, I had never developed a classic waffle recipe. I had gingerbread waffles for the holidays, Meyer lemon waffles for citrus season and cornmeal waffles with fresh blueberries for the end of summer. No basic, trusty waffles. I just hadn't yet landed on the my favorite waffle recipe.
My idea of a perfect waffle is a crispy waffle — golden and crunchy on the outside and tender and tangy on the inside. I am not a fan of a soggy waffle. Or a flimsy waffle. Or a spongy waffle. In order to achieve the perfect texture, I've learned a few tricks. The first is to use cornstarch in the batter to get a nice crunch. Second, use a fair amount of butter. Fats help crisp things up nicely. And who doesn't love a buttery waffle? Third, leave the waffles in a little longer than you think you should, getting them a deep golden brown. Finally, if you're not going to eat your waffles as soon as they emerge from the waffle iron (which I highly recommend), keep the waffles warm in a 200-degree oven in a single layer. Waffles get less crisp as they cool, and if you stack them they are sure to get soggy from the steam.
When I first made this version, tweaking as I went, I jotted the recipe down on a neon yellow slip of paper and have been keeping it tucked away on the kitchen counter with my cookbook collection. I've decided it's about time to share the love. And if you happen to be celebrating something like a birthday, whipped cream and sprinkles are a nice touch. Otherwise, warm maple syrup will be all you really need. This recipe can easily be doubled.
Crispy buttermilk waffles
Makes 2-3 large waffles
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat a waffle iron, greasing as needed to prevent sticking.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Pour in the buttermilk, milk, melted butter, egg yolk, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Fold the egg white into the waffle batter.
Scoop the batter into the waffle iron. Cook until dark golden brown and crisp, about 4-5 minutes, depending on the waffle iron. Serve promptly with warm maple syrup. Repeat with remaining batter.
Maya Wilson lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your inquiry may appear in a future column.