I have made these waffles a total of five times in the past two months, including this past week for this column. Every time, they have tasted exactly the same.
I don’t know about you, but in my personal history of homemade wafflemaking, that is quite rare. Something always seems to go slightly wrong: The batter is too thin or too lumpy, the waffle iron burns one side and barely cooks the other, the waffles are too crispy.
Not with these.
This recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s second cookbook Cravings: Hungry for More, calls for both buttermilk, which in the past I have always unwisely substituted for regular milk, and Parmesan cheese. Parm is the key here, the ingredient that will prompt your guests to be like, “What exactly is in these waffles that is making them so delicious?”
The answer is Parmesan, the sharp cheese adding extra fat and a peppery, nutty flavor to the waffles. Even better, the cheese crisps in the waffle iron, allowing the waffles to develop a terrific texture on the outside sooner than they might without the cheese. Because of this, the insides stay nice and soft, and the result is a near perfect juxtaposition of crisp and fluffy.
These waffles also somehow retain that texture when kept in a low oven to stay hot while you finish the batch or when reheated the next day. For that reason, they’re my pick for a go-to breakfast to serve guests you may be hosting this time of year.
In her book, Teigen writes about these waffles as part of a classic breakfast complete with eggs and bacon. That’s a great idea, though the beauty of this dish is that it straddles the line between sweet and savory, and can therefore go with either. For a group breakfast or potluck (perhaps for Thanksgiving?), a big pile of waffles would pair nicely with a bowl of spiced pears or apples and an assortment of toppings like roasted nuts.
Teigen serves her waffles with a clever condiment, a butter-maple syrup combo that also adds spice and salt. Here’s that recipe, plus two other syrup recipes I will definitely serve at my next brunch.
Spicy Maple Syrup
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the maple syrup, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a simmer to meld the flavors, then remove from the heat. Serve warm immediately, or let come to room temperature to develop more flavor. Rewarm over low heat and stir to recombine if you need to before serving.
Rosemary Maple Syrup
4 rosemary sprigs
¼ cup pure maple syrup
Combine ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until hot, about 30 seconds. Stir and let the syrup cool, then discard the rosemary sprigs. Use or transfer the syrup to a jar, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Cinnamon Maple Syrup
1 cup pure maple syrup
3 pieces star anise
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
In a small saucepan, combine maple syrup, star anise, cinnamon stick and black peppercorns. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the spices steep for about 10 minutes. Strain the spices and serve warm or at room temperature.
Crispy Parmesan Waffles
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for brushing the waffle iron
1 large egg
1 ½ cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to warm, or as low as it will go.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter and egg until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk until just incorporated, then whisk in the Parmesan.
Heat a standard waffle iron. Brush with some melted butter and make the waffles, using ½ cup batter per waffle. Cook according to the waffle iron’s directions or until the top and bottom are crisp and deep brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the waffle from the iron and set aside.
Drizzle with syrup and sprinkle with a little more Parmesan and pepper. Leftover waffles and syrup can be refrigerated in airtight containers for up to 3 days.
Source: Adapted from Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen