Aretha Frankenstein's Waffles of Insane Greatness

By • August 11, 2011 • 84 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe (originally from Aretha Frankenstein's restaurant in Chattanooga, TN) is the ideal I-just-woke-up-from-a-waffle-dream waffle, a morning-of alternative to the overnight yeasted kind. The cornstarch in the batter helps tamp down gluten formation, making these waffles silky and moist inside with a crust as thin and crisp as an eggshell.Genius Recipes

Serves 2 to 4

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk (or a combination)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Butter and pure maple syrup, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a waffle iron. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with butter and pure maple syrup or hold in a 200 degree oven, directly on the rack (don't stack them or they'll get soggy). These also reheat very well in the toaster.
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Comments (84) Questions (4)

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7 days ago Jasmine

Greatest waffle recipe ever.

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25 days ago allans

Haven't made waffles for a while, so I thought this was a good recipe to try. They were crispy, but not a rave. I'll try them again using buttermilk, (I was out).

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14 days ago allans

okay...(facepalm here). On second attempt I realized I had forgotten one important ingredient, Baking Soda. Second time was a dream. Just as promised, delicious and crispy good. Definitely a recipe worth keeping. :)

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29 days ago ErinC

Waffles success! These came out perfectly--great recipe, will make again. Very crisp!

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about 1 month ago Jara

These were a total fail for me. They were greasy and weirdly gooey from the cornstarch. We had to throw them out.

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about 1 month ago Meleyna Nomura

These were great. Light and crispy without having to dirty an extra bowl to whip egg whites. Used buttermilk and coconut oil, just because I like the flavor. Salt seemed high even before I read the comments--I used about 1/4 tsp.

Butter has higher water content that oil, which may affect crispness, and regular milk vs buttermilk may be culprit for runny batter.

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about 1 month ago Greatfallsdeb

I have used both types of waffle maker and prefer them made with the normal one. I also find them a tad too salty so have cut that back. I use veg oil instead of butter and usually use buttermilk. Light, crispy and fabulous.

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about 1 month ago Lee

I did use a Belgian Waffle maker, which also has a doneness gauge which I leaned toward more well-done than not. Whenever I make pancakes or waffles, I don't like to have batter that is too thick, but certainly didn't add enough extra milk to make it runny. Just kind of a feel thing. We thought the waffles were both light and tender-crispy -- not crispy like a crispy toast or a chip! Hope this helps. I also thought they were perhaps a tad on the salty side, but didn't mind because went well with sweet syrup. I can't remember if I used salted or unsalted melted butter -- I mostly use unsalted when making things like t his, but can't recall for sure this particular time. The buttermilk might have added to the tangy-salty taste as well. I didn't double the recipe, I felt it made more than 4 waffles -- maybe 6, but I did thin out the batter.

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about 1 month ago Jill Murray

I made these tonight for dinner. Doubled the recipe, used melted butter instead of oil. Amount of salt was fine. The batter wasn't thick, but it also didn't seem too thin. They were good, but weren't crispy like I expected. Are they better suited for a Belgian Waffle iron? I just used a regular one. What's the trick to making them crispy?

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about 1 month ago vlucky

I used unsalted French butter and doubled the recipe since my kids have never met a waffle they didn't eat. No whole milk or buttermilk in the house so used a can of 2% evaporated (can was about to expire so I figured, why not?). Added about half of a 6oz cup of 2% Greek yogurt and then topped off with skim to get 2 cups. Since I was doubling, and read some comments, I used 1/4 cup corn starch and 1/4 cup rice flour (another pantry item that hangs out and gets little use in my house. Verdict by my guys: best waffle ever, better than Bittman's overnight. The double recipe yielded 13 waffles in my Krups square 4 waffle iron.

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about 1 month ago vlucky

Actually, I think it was 10 and not 13. Had a lot of other stuff going on and they went so fast I probably miscounted.

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about 1 month ago Lee

I used buttermilk and butter -- I put in a little extra buttermilk because the batter seemed a little thick. They turned out perfect

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about 1 month ago Lee

These were awesome -- so light and crispy to the last bite!

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3 months ago AB Thinker

Just finished eating the best waffle ever. After tasting the waffle, I will eliminate or reduce the salt. I made it just as the recipe called for it. It was light, it was crispy and it made 4 waffles - just enough for our Cuisinart 4-waffle waffle maker. I measured and followed the recipe exactly.

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6 months ago J Hu

I just made these waffles and they came out perfect! I used 2% milk instead and vegetable oil. I'm going to try butter next time. Anyhow, I didn't get it right until making the second one. I have a Cuisinart waffle maker and I put the setting at 3.

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9 months ago CurioCook

Interested that there's a lot of comments about the thinness of the batter… just made these and found after sitting for 10 mins, the batter was fairly thick. Turned out great though! Might put more vanilla or spices next time… but would be a fabulous vehicle for savory treats!

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11 months ago anisebeer

so, like a few people who have commented, my batch is coming out very doughy-not crisp at all. I can hardly get it out of the waffle iron in one piece. This while the waffle itself is lovely golden brown. Could it be a result of the fact that I used the vegetable oil instead of butter?

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11 months ago sbndmom

These are simply the best I've ever had. I made the batter the night before because I wouldn't have time in the morning. Refrigerated it and took it out in the morning before going to church. I wanted the batter to be room temp. They came out perfectly! I could only get 3 waffles with my waffle maker. Next time I'll double it and refrigerate left over batter, if there is any, for the next morning. In the future I'll add bacon or fruit after it's on the waffle maker.

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11 months ago Jo Switten

Is it possible to add a conversion table to the metric system for all recepies? It would be great! :)

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about 1 year ago ellenu

These are spectacular waffles--just as described, nicely crisp outside and tender inside. I found today that I like them best with a combination of canola and butter, and combination of buttermilk and 2% milk. And I'm also finding that they brown best on my flip waffle maker if all the sections are full (that is probably obvious to the more competent makers of waffles out there) and I bake them for about 5-5.5 minutes.

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about 1 year ago seedhyka

hi there, i am a new food52 user, im on the lookout for great recipe. found this recipe, and the photo impressed me. Tried to make it this morning, but after i mix them all, i feel like the batter is too light (watery), did i make it wrong? or should it be thick after we rest it? cheers

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about 1 year ago Ceege

@ Jessica........How do I find Aretha Frankenstein's Pancake Mix. Would really like to give this a try. Thanks for your help.

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about 1 year ago Orange Nectar

Really disappointed with this recipe after reading such glowing reviews. Was looking to try something different from my usual Joy of Cooking (Sixth Edition 1975), which I have made on average at least twice a month since I was a child. I didn't want to bother with a yeast version and was lured by all the positive comments. These were limp (not crisp at all) and lacked any distinct flavor.

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about 1 year ago Mike Vella

Just curious, but what distinct flavor were you expecting from a waffle?
As for limp, sounds like an issue with your griddle/timing.

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about 1 year ago Sam

A wonderful and simple waffle recipe, but I definitely would make a few adjustments next time I make it. I was unsure as to whether to have my waffle iron on medium or high heat, and next time I'm putting it on high. The flavor was great, but they struggled a little bit with getting crisp on the outside.

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about 1 year ago ellenu

Just made these--great recipe. I'd been looking for a waffle recipe that yielded light, crisp waffles and didn't taste like pancakes in another form. I used low-fat buttermilk but otherwise made no changes. This made 3 sets of 4 Belgian waffles in a Hamilton-Beach flip waffle maker.

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about 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

I love making these... this time though I didn't realize I was out of cornstach and used rice flour. In my opinion these were the best yet! A bit chewier and they stayed warmer longer.

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over 1 year ago wills

Kids loved it... Agree with earlier comment that salt should be 1/4 teaspoon, not 1/2. Also I used almond milk with tablespoon of (maple flavored, it's all there was) Greek yogurt instead of milk, and 1/3 cup melted earth balance instead of butter. All good.

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over 1 year ago SherylMc

This recipe produces the BEST waffle I've ever tasted. Thanks for posting.

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almost 2 years ago Alexandra Stafford

I have a question for anybody: Is there a reason why the sugar is whisked with the wet ingredients vs the dry? He reason I ask is because I recently made a huge batch of the dry ingredients, and I included the sugar in the mix. The mix works great, but I'm still curious if there is a reason for when the sugar is added. I love love love this recipe. Make it almost every weekend. Thanks!

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almost 2 years ago FloraTheMachine

Sugar is actually very moist and contains too much water to go with the dry ingredients

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almost 2 years ago Alexandra Stafford

Very interesting. The mix seems to be working fine with the sugar in it, but maybe next time I'll leave the sugar out to compare. Thanks!

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about 2 years ago Hilarybee

Great waffle recipe. Yeasted waffles are still my favorite, but I get lazy on weekends and often forget to start the batter the night before. This fills in the gap. I've tried the recipe with oil and with butter--and I prefer the melted butter.

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over 2 years ago Greatfallsdeb

We LOVED these waffles as written and we make waffles every week. I thought they were perfect and they have become our "go to" recipe (although I can't stop trying new ones).

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over 2 years ago ChezHenry

One other point noted by another commentator-I find that these don't taste as good once frozen and reheated in the toaster, as I normally do with my Waffles, loading up on a batch Sunday morning for some weekday Waffles. Perhaps the cornstarch (fundamentally the only unique item in this recipe) doesn't allow the product to freeze/reheat well?

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over 2 years ago ChezHenry

I have made these 3 times now since joining Food52, and with one important tweak, my family resoundingly loves these. The salt is too high for the amount of batter created. I have reduced it to 1/4 teaspoon and found it perfect. Reviewing many other waffle recipes I use and love, they all use 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 2 cups of flour, which makes sense that it should be halved inasmuch as this recipe has 1 cup of flour (flour+cornstarch=1 cup). I think the cornstarch here is the key to Waffle Greatness, light crispy perfect.
As for many reviewers here stating they didnt get 4 Waffles out of the recipe, I did. This recipe produces exactly 2 cups of liquid batter, and my 20 yr old Oster Belgian Maker takes 1/2 cup of liquid batter per Waffle. Check your Waffle Iron for instructions-I have one that makes Circus Animal Waffles for my kids and that takes 3/4 cup per shot. So just plan ahead-and know that this recipe produces 2 cups of batter so you can sort out how much to make for your particular Iron.

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over 2 years ago fearlessem

I'm just not sure what the fuss is about these. I just got a waffle maker, and tried this as my first recipe... And I just didn't think they had that much flavor -- almost no depth of flavor. They were certainly better than the waffles you get at a hotel make-your-own breakfast bar, but to my taste not by that much... There is a local waffle shop in my town that makes incredible waffles, and I'm starting to wonder if those ones are yeasted...

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over 2 years ago Babcia

I found this very recipe on food.com, doubled. It is the best waffle I have ever tasted! I made it exactly as written, used an OLD waffle iron. It made 5 waffles, just one too many for the two of us. The extra one was toasted the next morning but wasn't nearly as good. This recipe called for 3 tablespoons of sugar; I had no problem with that; it didn't seem too sweet. I would try melted butter and/or honey but I don't want to mess with success!

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over 2 years ago reahpeah

These are wonderful. I made with oat flour and replaced buttermilk with almond milk+a glob of yogurt. Nice, light and crispy!

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over 2 years ago reahpeah

These are wonderful. I made with oat flour and replaced buttermilk with almond milk+a glob of yogurt. Nice, light and crispy!

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over 2 years ago Angie E.

We've been making waffles, pancakes, or crepes every Saturday for the past 10 years (adding 4 children along the way). I just made these this morning and the kids loved them, asking what I had changed in the normal recipe. The boys go with maple syrup. My daughter uses homemade strawberry or raspberry jam. Thanks for the recipe!

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over 2 years ago kstallbe

The most genius of the genius recipes I have made so far. I want to try using this batter for a pancake next... Thoughts?!

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over 2 years ago kstallbe

I made them as pancakes, but made the batter thicker with more flour. Very, very good. Hard to compare though, because waffles beat pancakes every time.

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almost 2 years ago Lori lane

Please try the Betty Crocker pancake recipe and use bacon grease... Follow as is, no adjustments. It's the red Betty Crocker book from long ago. VERY good! Most pancake recipes seem to be flavorless but this one is pretty yummy. Let them get darker, edges get a little crunchy.

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about 1 year ago Jessica

Forget Betty Crocker...use Aretha Frankenstein's Pancake Mix...better than you could make yourself...it's amazing, and the pancakes turn out over an inch high!

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over 2 years ago maribeth121

I am always on the lookout for a great waffle recipe. I'm so pleased I found this on the internet yesterday. We often have breakfast for dinner, much to my youngest son's chagrin. I decided to make these waffles tonight, and will definitely double the recipe. I will be serving them with either butter and syrup or creamed chicken, which I am making too.

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over 2 years ago Fiskie

I have recently developed an intolerance to dairy products, so milk and butter don't work for me, but I love waffles. Any suggestions to adapt the recipe to my new diet?

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

Delicious! We just got a waffle iron and for our test run used a Bittman recipe, and they were just ok. A little cardboardy. The second time around, we used this recipe and it was night and day difference. Perfect texture. The search is over. Served with pear ginger sauce (see my pear ginger muffins recipe) with toasted pecans. Heaven. This will be the jumping off point for all future waffle experiments. Thanks for sharing.

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about 3 years ago MeghanSK

We have always used the same waffle recipe in my house (joy of cooking), but, having noticed this recipe, I suggested we try something new for my birthday on Wednesday. This had become an immediate favourite, we've had it for breakfast every day since! My only note to other readers/cooks is along the lines of what others have said before - we have consistently gotten only 2.5 waffles out of this recipe. It's perfect for 2, but I'd start doubling or trippling the amounts if making breakfast for more than 2!

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about 3 years ago kstallbe

I make this all the time. It is mind-blowing. I really like using browned butter (ghee) in place of the oil, or as a condiment. It makes the waffle taste like waffle-candy!

Also, I have found a 50/50 mix of buttermilk/regular milk to give me the most consistent results.

THANKS FOR POSTING THIS!

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over 3 years ago Robin O'D

I made these today and they were great! Based on previous comments, I doubled the recipe which produced 7 waffles. I also used buttermilk and used half butter and half canola oil. They were crispy on the outside but had great flavor.

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over 3 years ago nostimamiala

We've been enjoying these for over a year now (saw the recipe first time at the food network's website). They are delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

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over 3 years ago daisybrain

Made these this morning and as good as they were I can't understand how anyone could think that this recipe could possibly feed 4. I had to ration the results to feed 3, and everyone wanted seconds. They were all out of luck. Double or triple it if you like to eat or have hungry 9 year old boys in the house.

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over 3 years ago LoisonMaui

I made these waffles for a Birthday Champagne Brunch for my girlfriend. I also made Nancy Silverton's Whipped Cream. The event was a big success. Everyone said they wondered why we don't make more waffles these days. Great recipe. I made enough for two waffles per attendee. I had 10 guests. Put them in the oven directly on the racks per the instructions so they wouldn't get soggy prior to serving. Served with fresh fruit, apple sausage, and champagne.

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over 3 years ago saparker1

I have never made waffles in my life but I made these this past weekend for my new husband and me. Used a small Cuisinart waffle maker set on 3. They turned out great! I kept the unused batter in the fridge and made one tonight after stirring it up a bit. Had waffle instead of bread with supper. Still turned out great! By the way...I am not a great cook and have just recently started cooking at home instead of take out. Married life will do that for you. Thanks for this great recipe. Now I can impress my Mom...

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over 3 years ago Sylvia9000

Yes, insanely great! Just tried these for dinner on a hot summer night with cold maple syrup, whipped cream and frosted peach compote. A great way to cool off. Looking forward to trying a warmer version this fall.

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over 3 years ago artsycella

Yum! I made these for my husband's birthday today, and they were fantastic. Wonderful texture, yummy flavor, great with fresh blueberry compote. The batter ended up resting for closer to an hour with no ill effects. The only comment I want to make is that in our WaringPro Belgian Waffle Iron, this made 2.5 - 3 waffles--definitely not 4. That was perfect for the two of us, but I'd recommend doubling the recipe if you want to feed 4 hungry waffle-eaters.

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over 3 years ago abatjour

move over mark bittman: this is now the house waffle recipe. just what a waffle should be.
needed a little more time in my waffle iron to develop the perfect crispness.

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over 3 years ago Jacki13

I am allergic to cornstarch. Is there a good substitution?

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over 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Actually yes! Shirley Corriher recommended trying this with rice flour or starch, though I haven't done so yet. If you do, please let us know how it turns out.

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about 3 years ago MeghanSK

We were out of cornstarch, so I substituted potato starch with very good results!

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over 3 years ago Fairmount_market

I'm waiting for the batter to rest right now, and while waiting I was wondering if anyone has tried these with other kinds of flour such as whole wheat or buckwheat, and whether that would disrupt the chemistry going on with the corn starch (buckwheat I know is gluten-free, so that might not work).

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about 3 years ago cmsmommy

I always make them with 2 cups of whole wheat flour and they come out great.

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about 3 years ago cmsmommy

Sorry, 2 cups after doubling the recipe so if you are following this recipe, add 1 cup whole wheat floor.

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over 3 years ago clumsychef

I can't wait to make these waffles this weekend after all these great reviews! My only question is: butter or vegetable oil? What would work better? And if oil, is canola ok?

Thank you for what promises to be a great breakfast!

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over 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

According to Pam Anderson, a cookbook author & recipe developer, the oil is better for crisping (and canola is great), but I've made these plenty of times with melted butter and they're still nice and crisp -- but with the added benefit of tasting of butter. Let us know how they turn out!

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over 3 years ago karpenko

My stepdaughter called this evening and said she'd be coming over in an hour -- at 7 pm -- uh oh! What should I make for dinner? The cupboard was basically bare. My daughter said: waffles! I said: Fabulous! Just the occasion to try the new recipe from food52! We rushed over to the store, bought eggs and buttermilk (told you the cupboard was bare!), doubled the quantities, (left out the sugar so my diabetic husband could eat them, too), took out everything that could possibly be put on waffles including pesto, emmenthal cheese, maple syrup, chocolate sauce, honey, nutella, peanut butter, and whipped cream...They were delicious and are going to be our go-to waffle from now on.
Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

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over 3 years ago My Pantry Shelf

We had these waffles for breakfast and they were delicious! Crispy on the outside and silky on the inside. The smell as they were cooking was incredible! I doubled the recipe and used buttermilk, but only half the amount of cornstarch (because I ran out). The result was delicious, but I'll try it with the full amount of cornstarch next time just to taste the difference. We will definitely make these waffles again!

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over 3 years ago RisaCooks

I have the batter sitting right now. Wondering something...is this the right amount of flour? It seems like a really thin batter. Most waffle and pancake batters have much more flour and are thicker and coat the back of a spoon. This is very thin. It worried me. Should it be this thin? Also, how much batter should you put in the waffle iron? 1/4 cup? I am afraid to put too much or it will overflow.

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over 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Risa, it's meant to be a thinner, lighter batter -- but should puff up thanks to the baking soda and powder, and steam to puff it up in the iron. Let us know how it turns out!

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over 3 years ago The Doctr

I used buttermilk and I wonder if since the batter was thinner, I didn't pour enough in an area (so It might not have gotten hot enough). Thanks for the tips!

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over 3 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

My criminal mind is already at work at how to use this as a platform for a more savory as opposed to sweet dish, maybe crawfish tails or a freaked out lobster salad.

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over 3 years ago dbradley

I'm looking forward to giving this one a try - but you've also piqued my curiosity about an overnight version. Is there a recipe you'd recommend for that?

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over 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Dbradley, Marion Cunningham's is a good one -- see it in action here on Amateur Gourmet: http://bit.ly/hHVsIx

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over 3 years ago HMMessinger

I freaking LOVE Aretha Frankenstein's. As a native Chattanoogan, I have to say there is NO better place to eat breakfast! I'm proud to admit that we stopped making pancakes from scratch at my house and only use Aretha's pancake mix.

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over 3 years ago jgerba

I tested out the recipe for breakfast this morning. They were insane! Springy, crispy, light, and delicious. Next time I'll add some tart blueberries and fresh apricots to add a little zing.

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Kristen, did you use whole milk buttermilk? I have such a hard time getting it! What's universally available and called "buttermilk" (as opposed to "Bulgarian buttermilk," which may be different in other ways, though I'm not sure about that) is actually a 1% fat "cultured milk product." I hope to make these tomorrow morning! And we are soooo looking forward to it. ;o)

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over 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

AJ -- so sorry I didn't see this until now! I usually use 1% buttermilk too, because that's all I can find around here. Whole milk buttermilk would be pretty amazing though.

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Kristen, did you test this on a waffle iron that wasn't a Belgian waffle iron? We're partial to the old-fashioned kind here, so I have a traditional one whose grid is not as deeply inset. Waffles are in the list of five all-time favorites of Mr. T, so I'm excited to see this, and cannot wait to try it out!! Many thanks. ;o)

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over 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

AJ, you are speaking my language. (Check out the waffle maker review I did for the WSJ -- no Belgians allowed: http://on.wsj.com/o4ORFW). So yes, I can vouch that this batter works well in all the non-Belgian machines that I tested. Amanda's machine happens to have deeper Belgian-style pockets, so that's what we used for the photo. p.s. Now I'm curious to know Mr. T's other 4 all-time favorites.

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over 3 years ago Dona

I made these waffles today and thought they were great!

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over 3 years ago The Doctr

I was excited about getting this recipe on email yesterday. However, the waffles were meh. They didn't rise very much so were really dense. Not much flavor. Luckily I planned ahead and had made a blueberry compote and blueberry whipped cream to go on top, and that made the dish!

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over 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Well that's a bummer, but I'm glad you were able to salvage them. I had a similar experience once with a rather wimpy Belgian waffle maker -- it never got hot enough to crisp them so they just came out like tasty steamed dumplings. If your baking powder is old, that could also be an issue. Did you use milk or buttermilk? I'm considering editing this recipe to recommend souring the milk with vinegar to better mimic buttermilk and help activate the baking soda. Thanks for trying them and letting us know! (Sorry for the confusing first post of this response -- I was signed in as one of our photographers to give her photo credit.)

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about 3 years ago cmsmommy

I always use vinegar to make buttermilk and then use it to make waffles. May be that's why this recipe has become a weekly regular in my house:)