French crepe treatment of powdered sugar and lemon
lets the lush-but-light nature of the World's Best
Waffles shine through. Honey with squeezes of lime
(which you'll find pancakes topped with in Thailand)
is another sweet-and-tart way to go.
know that superlatives have lost whatever meaning they ever
had (thanks, internet!). But we can also all agree that
waffles are one of the reasons it’s good to be alive. And
I’m prepared to stand behind the assertion that the recipe
here produces the world’s best waffles.
batter must be made 12 to 24 hours in advance, which
requires thinking, "Do I want the world’s best
waffles tomorrow?" (Answer: YES.) If it seems a bit
inconvenient at the time, wait until the next morning, when
your genius forethought means all you have to do is plug in
the wafflemaker, take the batter out of the fridge, stir,
batter must be made ahead of time because it contains yeast.
The yeast gives these waffles an almost ethereal lightness
— their internal architecture is a honeycomb of air
bubbles — and an extra-toasty, almost champagney taste.
The batter also contains a full stick of butter, providing
unparalleled richness and crispness. Yes, that’s a lot of
butter, but hey, you probably won’t make them that often,
considering you have to remember that you’re going to want
first got a version of this recipe from Seattle freelance
food writer Jill Lightner. (Her smart tip: Make the batter
in a pitcher, so it can be poured right onto the hot waffle
iron, no ladle required.) Plenty of variations may be found
online, dating back to 1896, from "The Boston
Cooking-School Cook Book" by Fannie Farmer. Hers, with
puritanical restraint, calls for just one tablespoon of
melted butter. Some people like it because it’s less rich.
To each their own, I suppose.
contemporary iterations of the recipe — including Melissa
Clark’s and Marion Cunningham’s — advocate for a
last-minute addition of a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda,
purportedly to make them airier and crispier. I’ve been so
extremely happy with the non-baking-soda version’s level
of airy-crispness, I’ve never bothered with it, even
though it’d be so easy to try. (Maybe those are the world’s
best? Sue me.)
innovations are, admittedly, not earth-shattering. Using
salted instead of unsalted butter makes for a more complex,
beautiful relationship with sweet toppings, to my mind.
Reasoning that it might make the waffles even lighter, I
started sifting the flour (I also just find using a sifter
really satisfying). The addition of bourbon may fall into
the imperceptible/ritualistic category, but if you can add
bourbon to something in life, why not?
Belgian waffle maker, thicker than the old-school round
ones, arguably allows these waffles to achieve their
fullest, fluffiest beauty, though you really can’t go
it comes to toppings, the French crêpe treatment of
powdered sugar and lemon makes a respectfully restrained
match for the World’s Best Waffles, letting their
lush-but-light nature shine through. Along those lines,
honey with squeezes of lime (which you’ll find pancakes
topped with in Thailand) is another sweet-and-tart way to
centerpiece the waffles’ richness, with the stickiness of
the honey contrasting their airy texture.
favorite fruit would be grand, or just jam. There’s always
of course, it’s hard to beat the classic maple syrup (with
a little more butter; again, why not?). If you want to get
fancy, Lightner swears by Woodinville Whiskey Co.’s
barrel-aged maple syrup. Bacon crumbled over the top is
never a bad idea.
If you make these waffles for houseguests, you may have a
difficult time getting them to leave. Give them the recipe
and, in my experience, they’ll thank you every time you
see them, forever.
Batter must be made 12 to 24 hours in advance
about four 9-inch square waffles
cups whole milk
tablespoons butter (I like salted), cut into 8 pieces
teaspoons instant yeast
teaspoon vanilla extract
of bourbon (optional, but do!)
Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until
butter is melted, approximately 5 minutes. Let mixture cool
until warm to the touch.
Meanwhile, sift flour into a large bowl, then whisk in
sugar, salt, and instant yeast to combine. (Use a
half-gallon or larger pitcher instead of a bowl, and later
you can just pour the batter right onto the waffle iron, no
ladle required.) Add the warm milk/butter mixture gradually,
whisking until the batter is smooth.
a small bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla, and bourbon until
combined. Add egg mixture to the batter and whisk until well
incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula,
cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 12
hours, up to 24 hours.
Heat waffle iron. Get the waffle batter out of the
refrigerator; it’ll be puffed up to about twice its
original volume. Stir it to deflate/recombine.
Make waffles and enjoy their greatness! They’re best eaten
while nice and hot, so distribute them as they’re done
rather than standing on ceremony. Suggested toppings: butter
and maple syrup; powdered sugar and lemon juice; honey and
lime juice; Nutella; nothing at all.