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Chef Daddy Makes Blueberry Waffles

Blueberry wafflesI don't know where you stand in the Great Pancake vs. Waffle Breakfast Debate, but I come down firmly on the waffle side. A properly made waffle—crispy on the outside, with just enough chewiness on the inside balanced by airiness—beats pancakes any day, in my opinion. Of course you need specialized equipment like a waffle iron to produce them, but they're not that expensive, and you probably got one as a wedding present way back when. Actually, we have two, which comes in handy when you're trying to make waffles for a crowd. Today's waffle irons are usually non-stick, which beats the ones from back in the day that had to be meticulously cleaned and greased before use to avoid a sticky awful mess.

The other day we found ourselves with a surplus of blueberries, which is a pretty good surplus to have, given that they're delicious and really really good for you. They were a really good deal at Whole Foods, so I bought one without thinking that there were probably more berries in there than we could eat before they went south. Fortunately, blueberry waffles are a great way to use up those tasty little berries. We also ran out of maple syrup, so I improvised and created a homemade blueberry syrup that turned out really really good.

Unfortunately, it's not always blueberry season, which is why we usually have a bag or two of frozen blueberries from Trader Joes in the freezer. These can be substituted for the fresh ones, just be aware that they'll turn your waffles or pancakes blue when they start defrosting. One way to get around this is to roll the frozen blueberries in a little cornstarch or all-purpose flour before adding them to the batter. This helps seal up the little holes in the blueberry skins made by the ice crystals during freezing and prevents some juice leakage. Or maybe you like blue waffles, in which case just throw the little guys in your batter. (Make sure to leave them frozen, though, otherwise you'll have a mess on your hands.)

Blueberry Waffles

Here's what you'll need to make some blueberry waffles:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or melted butter—your choice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Here's how you make them. Get the kids involved, too. There's no cutting or anything difficult or dangerous involved here, just lots of fun measuring and mixing, although the hot waffle iron is strictly grownup territory.

Mix dry ingredients—flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar—together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix buttermilk, eggs, and oil or melted butter thoroughly. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined. You'll probably have some lumps, but this is OK—lumps are your friend here. Gently fold in the blueberries, being especially careful if you're using frozen berries.

Place 1/2 cup of batter in a hot waffle iron (or the amount specified in your waffle iron's instructions). Cook approximately 5 minutes or until they're as brown and crisp as you like them. You'll hear a lot of popping and sizzling in there as some of the blueberries burst from the heat.

Serve with plenty of melted butter and warm maple or homemade blueberry syrup.

Homemade Blueberry Syrup

On our last waffle breakfast we realized as the first batch hit the waffle iron that we were out of maple syrup. No worries—we had plenty of ingredients on hand to make a quick and tasty substitute. This is a great way to use up blueberries that a past their prime but still edible, too.

You'll only need three ingredients:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Put the blueberries, water, and brown sugar into a small saucepan and mix thoroughly over medium heat. It may look like a mess to begin with, but after a short time the brown sugar will melt and the blueberries will burst and you'll end up with a nice syrup with an intense blueberry flavor. Let it cook down a little if it looks too thin (you may not even need to add any water if your blueberries are juicy enough). Put the syrup through a strainer if you don't want any blueberry skins in it, although it's OK to leave them in, too.