My daughter Ashley and her three – Sici, Jewel-bug and LaLa, were coming for breakfast. What would I fix them? I know that one of their very favorite things in all the world (and they would tell you this) is our traditional Christmas morning breakfast. I knew that at least two of them might be guessing (and even hoping) they’d be having it in November too. How could I thrill them with the familiar and yet surprise them with something different, all at once? And then it came to me –
German Apple Waffles !
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For the lightest waffles, I beat the egg whites separately and fold them in at the end. It’s not necessary to do this if you’re horribly pressed for time – but then again why would you choose waffles if you’re in a hurry? The difference though with beaten egg whites is one you’ll appreciate once you’ve tried it. Also, for tenderness, buttermilk instead of plain milk .
German Apple Waffles
For the waffles:
(makes 5 or 6 waffles)
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup canola oil or melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
For the apples:
- 4 apples (at least 1 tart, such as Granny Smith, plus others for variety)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- juice from ¼ to ½ lemon (depending on sweetness of apples & your own tastes)
- splash maple syrup
- whipping cream
- powdered sugar & vanilla extract
Preparing the waffles:
In a medium-size bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff – set aside.
While you have your mixer out, now is a good time to prepare the whipped cream. Beat approximately 1 cup of whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla extract. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Set aside or chill for serving.
In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients for the waffles – the flours, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients – lightly beaten egg yolks, the buttermilk, oil or melted butter and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, all at once, stirring just enough to combine. Batter will be lumpy and we like it that way. (It won’t be evident in the finished waffle.) With a light hand, gently fold in the beaten eggs whites. Your waffle batter is finished.
Preparing the apples:
Peel and core the apples. Slice lengthwise into approximately ¼-inch slices.
Using a large cast iron or other heavy skillet, melt the butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, and the apple slices. (If using a non-stick pan, you won’t get quite the same caramel-y results.)
On medium or medium-low heat cook the apples until they’ve softened but aren’t mushy. This may take about 15 minutes. Some varieties of apples will turn soft faster, but the variety in tart-versus-sweet and barely-soft-versus-very-soft is nice. (Plus, if you’ve several varieties of apples you’ll get slight variations in color too which is so pretty.)
Once your apples have softened and the caramely sauce is coating them, add a splash of lemon juice and a splash of maple syrup. Adjust as needed to suit your tastes. You want enough sauciness to moisten your waffle and you want a good balance of flavor which, to my mind, means not overly sweet.
Bake your waffles
Pour waffle batter into your waffle-maker and, if using, scatter finely chopped pecans over the top. Bake according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
If you stack your waffles – please don’t – they’ll lose all the crispness that they came out of the waffle-maker with. Instead, either break your waffles into smaller serving pieces and give second (& third) helpings, or set a couple out in the warm oven to serve simultaneously. But, waffles are best straight from the pan.
A warm plate, a warm waffle, perhaps a smear of good butter, a topping of warm apples and a touch of sauce drizzled, and then a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh grating of nutmeg. Can you stand it?
One last gooey bite: