Waffles are a much-beloved commodity in the United States, particularly in the south, home to such restaurants as Waffle House and Gladys and Ron's Chicken & Waffles. Waffles require fewer preparatory steps than french toast and are less fussy than pancakes, making them the perfect candidate for quick weeknight dinners. Over the next seven weeks, we will test and review seven waffle recipes, then pronounce a winner.
The first waffle recipe, Crispy Seltzer Waffles, came from "Gourmet Today". Waffles containing seltzer are touted as being lighter and more crunchy than their stodgy counterparts. Other than seltzer water, the recipe contains no strange ingredients. The batter requires 15 minutes preparation time; standing over the hot waffle iron is most of the work. Although a belgian waffle maker might have improved the final product, we used an inexpensive waffle iron.
The recipe did indeed produce a light, crispy waffle. The batter was much more runny than expected, which worried us. However, the seltzer water provided the leavening power needed to fill the waffle iron. It took a little practice to estimate how much batter would fill the waffle iron. With this recipe, a good measure is to pour until the batter almost reaches the edge of the waffle form, then close the lid. The batter should fill the form, but not overflow from the sides. We had to set the waffle iron on the highest setting to achieve any browning, but the waffles were still sometimes blotchy and pale. We averted this problem by using an oil spray rather than the brush recommended in the recipe.
Overall, this recipe delivers the crispy, light waffles it promises. The waffles are best when eaten directly out of the waffle iron, but can be held in a 200°F oven while you finish up the others. We ate ours with our hands while standing in the kitchen, but they were just as tasty topped with bananas, bacon, or maple syrup (or all of the above). Enjoy!
Crispy Seltzer Waffles
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
slightly rounded 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups seltzer or club soda (from a new bottle)
Vegetable oil spray for greasing waffle iron
Preheat waffle iron. Put a rack in the middle of oven and put a large cooling rack on it. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter, eggs, and seltzer and whisk until smooth.
Spray waffle iron lightly with oil spray. Spoon or pour waffle batter onto iron, letting the batter fill the waffle form. Cook according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm; keep waffles in one layer, uncovered, so they stay crisp.