Nearly four years ago, when John and I were first dating, we went shopping with a thick stack of gift certificates to Williams-Sonoma from my first engagement. One of the items I purchased was this great heart-shapes waffle iron from VillaWare. It came with a thin booklet with some pretty standard recipes, so I added Dorie Greenspan's Waffles From Morning to Midnight book to our basket.
Over the years, two of the recipes have become our favorites: Double Vanilla Waffles and Gingerbread Ice Cream Hearts. I made both these recipes for the great breakfast extravaganza a few weeks ago. I think the vanilla ones are my favorites, but either way, they always come out great!
Luckily, waffle recipes often include a significant liquid component, so it makes it easy to swap out sugar for agave nectar, which is just what I did. If you wish to veganize these, just use margarine and soy or rice milk, along with egg replacers. It does work, albeit, not as well.
Two caveats: these recipes are not quick. If you're giving a breakfast extravaganza, like I did, start early! Also, remember that agave nectar batters brown faster, so you might want to adjust the heat of your waffle iron after the first batch.
Here are my versions of the two recipes:
Double Vanilla Waffles (makes approximately 15 small heart-shaped waffles)
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons vanilla paste (divided)
5 tablespoons butter (I used salted)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 large eggs
1. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, whisk 1 tablespoon of the vanilla paste into the milk. Heat the mixture until the milk boils, then cut the heat and let it sit for at least an hour.
2. In a small skillet, melt the butter until it's golden brown, swirling often so that it doesn't burn. Set the butter aside to cool.
3. Turn on your waffle iron and preheat your oven to 200 degrees F because you will want to keep the done waffles warm while you're making the others.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
5. Whisk the butter, eggs, agave nectar and remaining vanilla into the milk until well combined.
6. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
7. Pour the whole mixture into a large liquid measuring cup (a four-cup measuring cup works well), and pour from the cup into your waffle iron's hot, oiled grids until the batter just covers the grids. You may need a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon to gently spread the batter over the grids.
8. Close the lid and bake until crisp.
9. Place the cooked waffles in a single layer on a baking sheet in your heated oven until you're ready to serve.
These are great with ice cream, Rice Dream or any other frozen dessert.
Gingerbread Ice-Cream Hearts (makes approximately 20 heart-shaped sandwiches)
4 tablespoons butter (I used salted)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or freshly grated)
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs (separate whites from yolks)
1 quart softened ice cream (or your favorite frozen dessert) to fill the sandwiches
1. Melt the butter and set it aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices to combine.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, agave nectar and egg yolks.
4. In your mixer bowl, whip the egg whites until they hold firm peaks.
5. Blend the milk mixture into the dry ingredients until they are combined.
6. Stir in the melted butter to combine.
7. Gently fold in the egg whites.
8. Oil your pre-heated waffle iron.
9. Pour the whole mixture into a large liquid measuring cup (a four-cup measuring cup works well), and pour from the cup into your waffle iron's hot, oiled grids until the batter just covers the grids. You may need a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon to gently spread the batter over the grids.
10. Close the lid and bake until crisp.
11. Cool the cooked waffles in a single layer on a baking sheet until room temperature.
12. Spread half of them evenly with the ice cream, between 1/4 in and 1/2 in thick, depending on how indulgent you feel.
13. Top them with the remaining waffles.
14. Feel free to decorate the sides however you wish -- candied ginger (although they contain lots of sugar), carob chips, etc.
15. Transfer the sandwiches to a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm. Use small zip-lock bags to store the sandwiches when they are firm.