Bread of the Month: Topping a sourdough waffle

Ever since I discovered my birthday coincided with National Waffle Day (on Aug. 24, 1869, the first U.S. Patent for the waffle iron was issued), the breakfast treat has been more on my radar.

It has almost always been my first choice on the menu at restaurants that served waffles for breakfast, likely because it just wasn’t something one usually makes at home. So, I made it an annual (and anytime I could, really) eating outing, since I felt a birthday kinship with the “plaid pancake.”

A couple of things have now brought waffles into my home with an astounding regularity. On my birthday last year, to celebrate National Waffle Day, I purchased a cute little Belgian waffle maker from Target for a mere $16.99. Over the last 12 months, it’s gotten quite a workout, in large part due to my sourdough starter (see blog entry of 7/15), Petrie, which must be fed — and used — regularly.

Sourdough waffles have become a recurring breakfast or even an easy supper in my house — a great way to put my starter to use and have a delicious result. The sourdough adds something different to a waffle, a tangy dimension and a nice crispy, yet tender-light texture. I have doubled up batches of these waffles to make enough that I can refrigerate or freeze some to be toasted for future breakfasts or snacks.

I have varied the original recipe some, adding butter or using brown sugar, mixing in spices or even blueberries. It’s versatile and easy, and I began to think of ways I could also change it up in the form of toppings.

A number of years ago, when I worked in Santa Monica, I was a regular patron at a delightful little restaurant on Main Street called The Omelette Parlor (sadly, no longer in business). They served so many great breakfasts, but one of my favorites was a Belgian waffle topped with a warm banana-walnut concoction and a dollop of whipped cream It was heavenly, and worth trying to re-create in my own kitchen.

Bananas are sautéed in butter, then brown sugar and cinnamon (and a little nutmeg, as I also use it in the waffles) are added. A final toss-in of walnuts. The warm, sweet buttery topping, with that crunch of nuts atop my crispy, tangy waffles was like enjoying a homecoming (of sorts) breakfast, a nod toward a nice time in my life, and a celebration of a favorite breakfast bread to be enjoyed again and again.

Blogger’s note: If you have sourdough starter and have not yet tried it for waffles or pancakes, you must! If you do not have starter and would like to get some started, I recommend these two sources:

My starter came from a friend who acquired her starter here:
http://carlsfriends.net

King Arthur Flour is always a great resource: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-starter-recipe


Sourdough Waffles
Adapted from Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter
Makes about 6 8-inch waffles

Mix 1/2 cup sourdough starter, 1 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup flour in a medium mixing bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place for at least 4 hours (or overnight).

Mix in 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 pinch nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 to 1 cup flour (depending on desired thickness…it should be thicker than a pancake batter). Just before cooking, stir in 1 teaspoon baking soda.

Cook on preheated waffle iron till golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately or keep warm in low-temp oven until ready to serve.

Blogger’s Note: Sourdough hotcakes can be made with these batter, as well, just use slightly less flour.

Banana Topping
For Waffles, Pancakes,
French Toast or Oatmeal
Adapted from www.mrbreakfast.com

3 ripe, but firm bananas
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Melt butter over medium heat in a medium nonstick skillet. Add bananas in a single layer and cook for about 2 minutes on one side without stirring. Sprinkle over cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar, stirring once gently to coat bananas. Mix in walnuts. Serve topping warm.

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