When it comes to Thanksgiving, it seems there are two camps of people — those who eat leading up to the meal, and those who fast in preparation for the feast ahead.
I used be in the latter category, because, frankly, I wanted to cram as much stuffing and gravy into my pie hole (and pie, of course) as possible. The issue was, I would get really hungry, and then eat way too fast and way too much (even by my standards), which leads to feeling bloated and uncomfortable for the whole rest of the evening. If you’ve ever glanced hastily around a room to see if anyone will notice if you unbutton your pants, you know what I’m talking about.
Now I take a different approach. I like to eat light leading up to the meal, with a moderate enough breakfast to get me through until turkey time. The thing is, Thanksgiving morning isn’t very conducive to cooking oneself breakfast. There’s enough going on in the kitchen already!
That’s where these waffles come into play. The batter is quick and easy to make the night before, so in the morning the only dishes you dirty are the waffle iron and your plate. In the time it takes to make a cup of coffee, the first waffles should be ready to eat.
Light and crispy outside, warm and tender inside… mmm!
These waffles are plenty filling, and on the day of the feast I find just a couple small ones is plenty. The recipe makes enough to feed four on any regular day, or more when everyone’s saving room for later.
If nothing else this Thanksgiving, I urge you to make this Sage Maple Butter. It has this whole sweet and savory thing going on, which adds a unique element to these waffles. Just a small smear is enough to take them from average to over-the-top!
It would also be perfect on sweet potatoes, steamed veggies, in stuffing… or simply spread on toast, if you aren’t up for the whole making waffles thing.
So, what about you — do you like to eat Thanksgiving morning, or hold off until the big meal? Let me know in the comments!
Whipped Sage Maple Butter
Makes 8 TBSP – easily doubled or tripled
4oz. (1 stick, or 8 TBSP) unsalted butter, very soft*
2 TBSP pure maple syrup
1 tsp. fresh sage, finely chopped (about 4-6 leaves)
small pinch of salt
*I suggest using a European style butter for this, as they tend to have better flavor
1. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat thoroughly, until the butter is smooth and fluffy.
2. Taste (having a piece of toast handy helps) and adjust the amount of maple syrup and salt, if necessary.
3. Scrape the butter into a small bowl or ramekin, and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, or overnight, to let the flavors develop before using. Butter can be stored in the fridge for up to several weeks. Alternatively, scrape the butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll tightly into a log. Chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before using. Unwrap from the plastic wrap, and the butter can be easily sliced into pats.
Yeasted Pumpkin Waffles
Makes about 4 servings
4 TBSP unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk, warm (about 115 degrees F)
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
4 TBSP dark brown sugar
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2-3/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
Sage Maple Butter, real maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon, for serving
1. In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 3-4 minutes, swirling the pan frequently, until it has become frothy, golden-brown, and smells nutty. You will notice small brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Be careful not to cook the butter too long, or else it will burn and become bitter. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature. (For a better visual on how to make browned butter, click here)
2. In a large bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast, and granulated sugar. Be sure the milk is warm, but not hot — if it is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast has become bubbly / foamy.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, brown sugar, spices, and salt (do not add the baking soda). Set aside.
4. To the bowl with the yeast mixture, add the cooled brown butter, pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
5. Stir in the flour mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight.
When you’re ready to make the waffles…
1. Preheat your waffle iron. You may also want to turn your oven on to 200f., so you have a warm place to keep the waffles until you are ready to serve them.
2. Remove the waffle batter from the fridge, and mix in the baking soda, and toasted nuts, if using.
3. Brush the waffle iron with melted butter, and pour in 1/4 – 3/4 cup of batter (depending on the size of your iron). I like to use an ice cream scoop to make things easy.
4. Cook according to your waffle iron’s directions, or to desired doneness. Keep cooked waffles on a wire rack in a warm oven until ready to serve. Serve with a small smear of maple butter, real maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy!