Saturday, March 8, 2008

June 1: Extra-Light, Extra-Crisp Waffles

Waffles are one of my favorite things for breakfast. Crispier than pancakes, lighter than toast, a waffle is a great vehicle for cinnamon-honey butter and a spoonful of sauteed, diced apples. Yum.

A great waffle is a thing of beauty, but it's also pretty rare. America's Test Kitchen has an unorthodox approach to waffles: a basic batter with egg whites whipped and folded in, vegetable oil standing in for butter, swapping cornstarch for some of the flour, and the unorthodox addition of Rice Krispies, which seem to disappear into the batter, magically leaving behind their crispy texture.

I love a mystery ingredient. It does something for the recipe without changing the character of the dish. It's one of the many ways in which food becomes more than the sum of its parts. This is crazy, but honest to God, it works like a charm. I would happily eat these waffles for any meal of the day, including with fried chicken, which is apparently quite a big thing--I'd never heard of it before, but it sounds good to me.

Extra-Light, Extra-Crisp Waffles

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup Rice Crispies

3/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat a waffle iron to medium. Stir the flour, Rice Krispies, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the egg yolks, milk, vanilla, and oil together in a medium bowl.

With an electric mixer or ballon whisk, beat the egg whites in a bowl to soft peaks. Pour the milk mixture overthe dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Whisk in the beaten whites until just combined. Do not overmix; a few streaks of whites should be visible.

Pour 2/3 cup of the batter into the center of the waffle iron and use the back of a dinner spoon to spread thebatter toward the outer edges. Close the lid and cook until deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately. Repeat with additional batter.

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